The Melville Society is dedicated to the study and appreciation of the nineteenth-century American author Herman Melville, writer of Typee, Moby-Dick, and Billy Budd, such short stories as “Bartleby” and “Benito Cereno,” and several volumes of poetry, including Battle-Pieces and the epic Clarel
We publish the award-winning journal Leviathan which all members receive three times a year and which offers scholarly articles, book and art reviews, Society news, and Melville-related events. Membership is open to all. For information about Leviathan and joining The Melville Society click here.

The Eaton Portrait

Herman Melville JOEaton 95ppi 250wBy permission of Houghton Library, Harvard University: 61Z-4

click for larger image

Melville Electronic Library

mel-thumb-crpd-3The Melville Electronic Library is an online resource for Melville texts. Housed on a Hofstra University server, MEL is being developed and maintained by a group of Melville scholars and digital specialists.

Johns Hopkins University Press

jhup-logoTo join the Melvillle Society and subscribe to Leviathan, visit Leviathan's Johns Hopkins University Press journal site by clicking here.

Melville Society Cultural Project

Melville Society and New Bedford Whaling Museum Cultural Project The New Bedford Whaling Museum in collaboration with The Melville Society is the established home of the Melville Society Cultural Project and Melville Society Archive. The Melville Society Archive is housed at the New Bedford Whaling Museum's Research Library, where significant works from this collection are also on display. The Melville Society Cultural Project also sponsors a book donation program and presents exciting annual events including the Moby-Dick Marathon and a Birthday Lecture.

Herman Melville's Arrowhead

BHS FB HM portraitHerman Melville's Arrowhead Facebook Group page of the Berkshire Historical Society. Celebrating historical Berkshire County and Herman Melville's Arrowhead, the farm and home where Melville lived while writing Moby-Dick.

Detailed Container List

BOX 1: Melville (60 Folders)

1: Folder 1

Agee, Mrs. James (Mia Fritsch), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1955: (1 item)

Included is a thank you card referring to Leyda’s note of sympathy regarding James Agee’s death.


1: Folder 2

Allen, Gay Wilson, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1955: (2 items)

Concerns research regarding Walt Whitman.

undated                     Dec-1955 estimated            (draft from Leyda)


1: Folder 3

Aschaffenburg, Walter, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954-1955: (3 items)

Walter Aschaffenburg (1927-2005) was a famous composer. Born in Germany, he immigrated to America with his parents at a young age . One of his greatest achievements was his 1964 opera, “Bartleby,” for which Jay Leyda wrote the libretto.


06-Feb-1955             (also an enclosure: plans for Artistic Creation of “Bartleby”)


1: Folder 4

Barbarow, George, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1952-1954: (3 items)

Refers to The Melville Log; some mention of Soviet Film and Emily Dickinson.




1: Folder 5

Batchelder, Charles F., Jr., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951: (1 item)

Primarily relates to The Melville Log.

09-Jul-1951   (* with notes from Leyda on back)

1: Folder 6

Bennett Book Studios (Whitman Bennett), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1947: (2 items)

Refers to a proposal regarding the publication of selected Melville poems.

undated         Jun-1947 estimated (draft from Leyda)


1: Folder 7

The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield, MA (Robert Newman), correspondence with Jay Leyda

1954: (3 items): Regards the proposal of “A Bulletin from the Melville Room.”

undated         Sep-1954 estimated (1st draft from Leyda: partial letter from Gordon Williams on back of p.2.;

         note from Leon Howard 22-Dec-1952 on back of p.3)

undated         Sep-1954 estimated (2nd draft from Leyda)


1: Folder 8

Bezanson, Walter, correspondence with The Melville Society 2006: (1 item)

Friend and Melville scholar who studied under Stanley T. Williams at Yale.  Donation of Jay Leyda Papers to Melville Society Archive.


1: Folder 9

Birss, John, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1945: (2 items)

Relates to The Melville Log.



1: Folder 10

Blitzstein, Marc, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954: (3 items)

Primarily relates to the libretto for “Bartleby.”

25-Oct-1954              (a few notes from Leyda)



1: Folder 11

CBS Radio (George Crothers), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1953: (2 items)

Relates to Leyda’s suggestions regarding CBS Radio’s Invitation to Learning, a series on biographies.

undated                     Jan-1953 estimated (draft by Leyda)

30-Jan-1953             (also contains a draft of a reply from Leyda)

1: Folder 12

Criscitiello, John J., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1955: (2 items)

Regards Horsford’s edition of Melville’s Journal of a Visit to Europe and the Levant.

22-Jan-1955                         (from Leyda)


1: Folder 13

Davis, Merrell Rees, correspondence with Jay Leyda date unknown: (1 item)

Merrell R. Davis(? – 1961)was one of the many prominent Melville scholars of the mid 1900s who studied at Yale University under Stanley T. Williams. Davis is most well known for his Melville's Mardi: A Chartless Voyage (Yale University Press 1952). He was a Professor of American Literature at The University of Washington from 1947 until his death in 1961. Leyda requested inter-library loan of Merrell’s Yale dissertation and received a reply indicating he would have to foster information on how it would be used prior to consent. Leyda’s subsequent, sarcastic rebuttal is only a draft. It is not known if Leyda ever sent the rebuttal to Davis.

undated – most likely prior to the 1951 publication of The Melville Log (draft from Leyda)

1: Folder 14

Fields, Mr. & Mrs. Joseph, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1950-1954: (8 items)

Leyda wrote to the Fields, members of The National Society of Autograph Collectors, searching for the letters of August Van Schaick, manuscripts from Carroll A. Wilson’s collection, any Melville-Hawthorne letters, and manuscripts relating to Emily Dickinson.

undated                     estimated early Sep-1950   (draft from Leyda on brown paper)


undated                     18-Sep-1950                         (draft from Leyda on yellow paper)


undated                     estimated just after 20-Sep (draft from Leyda on small brown paper)

undated                     estimated late Sep 1950

18-Aug-1954                                                             (from Leyda; draft also attached)

undated                     estimated Aug. 1954 reply (on bottom of Leyda’s prior letter)

1: Folder 15

Gilman, William H., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1953-1954: (4 items)

William Gilman was one of the many prominent Melville scholars of the mid 1900s who studied at Yale University under Stanley T. Williams. Gilman’s doctoral dissertation (1947) explored Melville's early life and Redburn, and was later published by the New York University Press (1951) . Gilman was an English Professor at the University of Rochester, probably at the time of this correspondence . He refers to his work on The Letters of Herman Melville (Yale University Press, 1960), co-edited with Merrell Davis, and his involvement with an edition of the Emerson Journals.





1: Folder 16

Harcourt Brace & Co. (Robert Giroux, Gerry Gross), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1950: (5 items)

Correspondence with Giroux primarily relates to the publication of The Melville Log and includes a contract.* Correspondence with Gross refers to an adaptation of Moby-Dick which Leyda “enjoyed very much.” Letters also make mention of the “upcoming John Huston film, Moby-Dick” (1956), an excerpt that Leyda sent from the George Eliot correspondence, and a movie anthology outline.

undated                     estimated Jan-1950 (draft from Leyda, to Giroux)

16-Jan-1950             (from Giroux)

14-Jun-1950 *                       CONTRACT (from Giroux)

undated                     (to Gross, from Leyda)

08-Apr-1955              (from Gross)

1: Folder 17

Hayford, Harrison M. , correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951-1955: (9 items)

Harrison M. Hayford (1916-2001), “Harry,” was one of the several prominent Melville scholars who studied at Yale University under Professor, Stanley T. Williams. He was also a Hawthorne, Emerson, and Poe scholar . He helped found The Melville Society in 1945 and was the General Editor of “The Writings of Herman Melville” published by Northwestern University Press (Evanston, IL) and The Newberry Library (Chicago, IL). Hayford was a Professor of English at Northwestern University. Correspondence is both friendly and professional, covering conversations related to a variety of works. Noted is feedback on The Portable Melville and The Melville Log and references to a visit with Samuel Sukel (of Pittsfield, MA) and his Melville collection. Hayford specifically mentions Sukel’s Melville-Hawthorne letters and Sukel’s theory that “DeWolfe’s book of his seafaring life (1861)” was actually written by Melville. Hayford also specifically notes Sukel’s literary insights into “the Hat” chapter of Moby-Dick and the possibility that a gravestone with a cock on it actually did exist in Pittsfield, MA. and provides anecdotal evidence.




29-Feb-1952*                        (is signed with a typed “hh” and is likely Harrison Hayford)






1: Folder 18

Heflin, Wilson Lumpkin., correspondence with Jay Leyda 19?-1955: (5 items)

Wilson L. Heflin (1913-1985) was a Stephen Crane and Melville scholar, and an English Professor at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, at the time of this correspondence. Heflin was also a founding member of The Melville Society. The letters are both friendly and professional in nature. Of interest may be a note referring to a possible literary prototype for Bartleby found in David Daiches’s, Robert Burns. Many letters refer to Leyda’s feedback and input on Heflin’s Herman Melville’s Whaling Years, originally his 1952 Vanderbuilt University dissertation but which he was trying to publish in book form . The dissertation did not make it into book form until after Heflin’s death (edited by Mary K. Bercaw Edwards and Thomas F. Heffernan, 2004).






1: Folder 19

Howard, Leon, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951-1952: (2 items)

Leon Howard (1903-1982), Melville scholar and English Professor at The University of California. Letters are mainly personal in nature.


22-Dec-1952             (photocopy; original in Box 1: Folder 7: the Berkshire Athenaeum)

1: Folder 20

James, Cyril Lionel Robert (C.L.R) correspondence with Jay Leyda 1952-1953 estimated: (3 items)

C.L.R. James (1901–1989),a native Trinidadian, was a political philosopher, historian, and essayist. During the time of this correspondence, James was living in the United States after several years abroad in Europe. He was studying American civilization and the interplay between the creative individual and expression and government, a subset of his common theme, often described as the struggle between “socialism and barbarism.” Letters relate to James’s book, Mariners, Renegades and Castaways (1953), a political interpretation of Moby-Dick, and a 1952 CBS radio show “Invitation to Learning” regarding The Holinshed Chronicles , which James was scheduled to discuss with Louis Hacker. See also Box 1: Folder 28, Morewood, Helen.

15-Oct-1952              (Third party: Saul Blackman to Jay Leyda)

undated                     estimated 1953?

undated                     estimated 1953?  (draft from Leyda)

1: Folder 21

Kaplan, Sidney and Cora, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1952-1955: (11 items)

Sidney Kaplan was an English Professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a scholar of Melville, Poe, and Black American history and culture. Letters are both professional and personal in nature . Includes questions from Kaplan regarding his research on Melville’s Benito Cereno and feedback related to Leyda’s work on Emily Dickinson.






03-Jun-unknown year                    estimated 1955(reference to son, born in 1952, as a toddler)

02-Jan-1956                         (note from Cora, daughter)





1: Folder 22

Kazin, Alfred, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1952: (6 items)

Alfred Kazin (1915-1998) was a famous autobiographer and well known for three volumes of memoirs, A Walk in the City. Leyda lived in Kazin’s Brooklyn apartment while Kazin was away in Europe at the time of this correspondence . Letters are both friendly and professional.




18-Jun-unknown year                    estimated 1952



1: Folder 23

Kirschner, Leon, correspondence with Jay Leyda, dates unknown: (3 items)

Leon Kirschner (1919–2009) was an American composer, pianist, conductor, and Harvard lecturer. Letters refer to Leyda’s proposal for the opera, “Bartleby.”

16-Oct-unknown year                     estimated 1953 or 1954

Undated                                 (draft from Leyda)

Undated                                 (draft from Leyda)

1: Folder 24

Kirstein, Lincoln Edward, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951: (3 items)

Lincoln Edward Kirstein (1907-1996) was a Harvard graduate and founder of the literary magazine, Hound and Horn in 1927 . More notably, he was a co-founder of The Museum of Modern Art (1929) and The New York City Ballet (1948). Interested in almost all aspects of American art, literature, and culture, Kirstein authored over 500 works during his lifetime.

Correspondence alludes to Kirstein’s research on “Mr. Rimmer,” who may have been the inspiration for the character, Professor Bhaer in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Letters are both friendly and professional in nature.

02-Mar-unknown year        estimated 1951 (Catcher in The Rye was first published)


undated                                 estimated after July 2, 1951

1: Folder 25

Lankes, J.J., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954: (2 items)

Refers to Leyda’s search for information about Melville’s shipmate written about in Typee. Leyda refers to this shipmate as “ R.T. Greene? Or another?” Lankes’s reply cannot confirm the name of the shipmate, only that he was “a man who lived in Western N.Y. not far from his home,” and that the letter revealing such information “appears to have been destroyed.” Lankes provides an address for his brother who could possibly remember the man’s name.

undated                                 estimated 1954 (draft from Leyda)

20-Sep-1954                         (addressed to a third party)

1: Folder 26

Lawrence, Dan H., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951: (2 items)

Dan Lawrence was a Professor of English at New York University at the time of this correspondence . Lawrence writes Leyda thanking him for information concerning the end papers of The Melville Log. Also refers to Lawrence’s Department Chair, a Mr. Oscar Cargill, who was probably a member of the “Melville-connected Cargill Clan.”



1: Folder 27

Life Magazine (Robin Hinsdale), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954: (3 items)

Refers to the origins of the Acushnet watercolors featured in The Melville Log.


undated                                 estimated between July 21-30, 1954 (draft from Leyda)


1: Folder 28

Melville Family Members (Isabel LeRoy Brown, niece of Thomas Melville; Halsey DeWolf, distant relative; and Eleanor Melville Metcalf, granddaughter of Melville), correspondence with Jay Leyda, 1947, 1952: (5 items)

undated                     estimated Aug. 1947 (draft from Leyda to Brown)

31-Aug-1947             (Brown to Miss Leyda)

02-Sep-1947             (DeWolf)

13-Nov-1947             (DeWolf)

27-Mar-1952             (Metcalf)

1: Folder 29

Morewood, Helen, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951-1952: (3 items)

Helen Morewood’s parents were friends of Allan and Herman Melville . In addition to information about Melville’s family, there is a reference to a lecture by C.L.R. James and his upcoming book.




1: Folder 30

Murray, Henry A., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1947, 1952: (3 items)

Henry A. Murray (1893-1988) was a famous American psychologist who spent much of his life writing about Melville. In these letters, he provides feedback to Leyda on the manuscript for The Melville Log and offers praise.

undated                     estimated 1947



1: Folder 31

New York State Library, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1950-1954: (3 items)

Relates to Leyda’s search for issues of the Albany Microscope and the Evening Journal.




1: Folder 32

Pearson, Norman Holmes, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954-1955: (6 items)

Norman Holmes Pearson was an English Professor at Yale University and a Hawthorne scholar. Correspondence is both personal and professional in nature . Pearson comments about his progress on his work on Hawthorne and a possible reference to James Agee’s funeral. Pearson also makes many offers to employ Leyda and help him with his research.







1: Folder 33

Pierce, Cornelia Marium, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951: (2 items, 3 correspondences)

Relates to Leyda’s search for more information on the Melville family.


10-Feb-1951             (from Leyda)

13-Feb-1951             (written on Leyda’s letter of Feb. 10th)

1: Folder 34

Providence Public Library (Stuart C. Sherman), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954: (2 items)

Stuart Sherman was the Associate Librarian of the Providence Public Library at the time of this correspondence. Letters refer to notes Leyda sent Sherman on three whaling logs he discovered in the FDR Library in Hyde Park and a note about Benjamin Rush.



1: Folder 35

Random House, Inc. (Donald Klopfer, Bennet Cerf, & Albert Erskine), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1948-1952: (3 items)

Includes a contract for Leyda’s introduction to The Complete Stories of Herman Melville (Random House, 1949) . Leyda’s letter to Cerf requests removal of his name as the editor of The Selected Writings of Herman Melville (different from The Complete Stories) and explains his stance. Erskine’s letter of Sep. 16th refers to Leyda’s Bronte Project.

09-Feb-1948             * CONTRACT

30-Jun-1951             (from Leyda to Alfred Bennet Cerf)


1:Folder 36

Reeves, John, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954: (5 items)

John Reeves was possibly a Professor of American Literature near Saratoga Springs, NY. Letters refer to Yaddo, an artist’s community frequented by Leyda and his literary and artistic circle of friends. Mentions a trip to Gansevoort, NY.Also refers to Leyda’s idea for a Melville-Gansvoort exhibition at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs . Some brief mention of Leyda’s involvement with Dickinson and Millicent Todd Bingham.





undated                                 estimated Dec-1954

1: Folder 37

Reynal & Hitchcock (Frank Taylor, Albert Erskine, Eugene Reynal, Chester Kerr) correspondence with Jay Leyda 1946-1948: (21 items)

Correspondence primarily discusses proposals, specimens, arrangements, and timelines for the publication of The Melville Log. In 1948, Curtice Hitchcock died and Eugene Reynal sold the publishing company to Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc . The Melville Log was published by Harcout, Brace & Company, Inc. in 1951. For clarification, names of correspondents from Reynal & Hitchcock are provided. Included is a newspaper clipping attached to one of the letters.

15-Nov-1945             (from Leyda to Mr. Pistole, stapled to Jan. 8th letter from Frank Taylor)

08-Jan-1946             (from Taylor)

14-Jan-1946             (from Leyda to Taylor)

02-May-1946             (from Erskine)

07-May-1946             (from Leyda to Erskine)

21-Jun-1946             (from Erskine)

26-Jun-1946                         (from Leyda to Erskine)

18-Jul-1946               *Mentions Contract attached but is not enclosed here (from Erskine)

12-Sep-1946             (from Reynal: general letter “To Whom it May Concern” for

Leyda’s use while conducting research)

12-Sep-1946             (Office memo from Rita, a secretary, to Erskine)

12-Sep-1946             (from Reynal to Miss Belle Green, Morgan Library)

17-Sep-1946             (from Belle Green, Morgan Library, to Reynal)

20-Jan-1947             (from Kerr to Yale University Library)

12-May-1947             (from Kerr)

03-Jun-1947             * Newspaper Clipping (from Leyda to Kerr)

04-Jun-1947             (from Kerr)

17-Jun-1947             (from Kerr)

23-Jun-1947             (from Kerr)

27-Jun-1947             (from Kerr to Edward Weeks, The Atlantic Monthly)

05-Jan-1948             (from Thomas Wilson, Harvard University Press, to Reynal)

11-Jun-1948             (from Leyda to Reynal)

1: Folder 38

Roper, Laura Wood, correspondence with Jay Leyda,1952-1953: (2 items)

Laura Wood Roper (1911-2003) was a freelance writer and editor and author of several biographies. She alludes to her work on Frederick Law Olmsted, famed landscape architect and designer of New York’s Central Park. Roper eventually wrote FLO: A Biography of Frederick Law Olmsted (John Hopkins University Press, 1973). Letters also mention the “Curtis-Dix correspondence at Harvard,” which Leyda offered to “go through” for Roper, and Melville’s “Putnam period” probably in reference to Melville’s relationship with George Palmer Putnam and Putnam’s Monthly in which many of his short stories were serialized.  See also Box 4: Folder 5: Hooker, Helene for a brief mention of the Ropers.



1: Folder 39

Rolfe, Edwin and Mary, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951-1952: (4 letters, 5 items)

Born Solomon Fishman to Russian Jewish Immigrants, Edwin Rolfe (1909 – 1954) was a poet, journalist, and veteran of the Spanish Civil War . Rolfe was an intermittent member of The Communist party, and was blacklisted in 1947 by The House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC). He spent the latter part of his years writing fervently against McCarthyism . He is most well known for his book of poems, First Love (1951). His wife was Mary Wolfe Rolfe. Letters are personal and professional in nature. Many refer to Rolfe’s First Love and other publications. There is also mention of “the Chaplin poem,” about which Leyda must have written to the Rolfes, asking if a friend could use it. There is a reference to The Portable Melville and a question as to whether Melville had ever read Diderot or Bougainville.


12-Nov-1951             (envelope only)

07-Feb-no year         estimated 1952 or after       (from Mary)



1: Folder 40

Rupert Hart-Davis Limited (David Garnett), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1947: (3 items)

Refers to a search for a “Mrs. [Una] Stephen Borrow.” Offers to publish any of Leyda’s book(s) on Melville, and discusses “Mocha-Dick” and its author, Jeremiah N. Reynolds. Includes brief mentions of The Musorgsky Reader and its English counterpart, Mussorgsky – A Self-Portrait in Documents, and To the Actor, a translation of Michael Chekhov’s acting manual.


30-Jun-1947             (from Leyda)


3: Folder 41

Savannah Public Library (Elizabeth Hodge), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1950-1951: (2 items)

Letters refer to Leyda’s search for information on Rachel Turner and Charles Pond.  Elizabeth Hodge, the Reference Librarian at that time, shares information she discovered about a Mrs. Williamina Barrington Turner.



1: Folder 42

Sealts, Merton M., Jr, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951-1952: (5 items)

Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1915 - 2000) was one of the many prominent Melville scholars of the mid 1900s who studied at Yale University under Stanley T. Williams . Also a Ralph Waldo Emerson scholar, Sealts was an Associate Professor at Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin, at the time of this correspondence.Letters refer to Sealts’s work on Melville's Reading: A Check-List of Books Owned and Borrowed (University of Wisconsin Press, 1966) and include very specific questions to Leyda about Melville . Includes much discussion about Melville and references to The Melville Log.






1: Folder 43

Small, Miriam R., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954: (2 items)

Refers to Small’s inquiry regarding Oliver Wendell Holmes.



1: Folder 44

Smith, Henry Nash, and William M. Gibson, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954: (2 items)

Henry Nash Smith (1906 – 1986) was a Mark Twain scholar and Professor of English at The University of California at the time of this correspondence. Smith and William Gibson of New York University were collaborating on an edition of the correspondence between Mark Twain and William Dean Howells. Letters refer to their work on this project.

12-Jul-1954               (from Smith)

20-Jul-1954               (from Gibson)

1: Folder 45

Society of the Colonial Wars (Larry P. Lauren), correspondence with Jay Leyda, dates unknown: (3 items)

Responses to questions Leyda had on the original colonies and refers to a manuscript.




1: Folder 46

Stauffacher, Jack Werner (The Greenwood Press), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951: (3 items).

Jack Werner Stauffacher was the proprietor and printer of The Greenwood Press at the time of this correspondence . Letters relate to proposals for collaboration on new works.

undated                     estimated Jan or Feb 1951 (draft from Leyda)



1: Folder 47

Stavig, Richard, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1953: (4 items)

Richard Stavig was a Ph.D. student at Princeton completing a dissertation on Billy Budd at the time of this correspondence. Stavig inquires about references made to Billy Budd and the Somers case in The Portable Melville. Stavig also shares his find of Melville’s copy of Thompson’s A Voice from the Nile in The Princeton Library.


undated                     estimated Jan-1953 (draft from Leyda; 2 pages - also on bottom is a

partial draft to an unidentified “Mr. P”)



1: Folder 48

Sukel, Samuel, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954: (3 items)

Samuel Sukel, from Pittsfield, MA, refers to “The James DeWolf papers at the Baker Library” “as a total loss” to a “Melville digger.” Also references Leyda’s correspondence with Newman from The Berkshire Athenaeum about a proposed Melville room and a possible donation of Henry A. Murray’s Melville collection to said room. Also noted is Sukel’s feedback on A Reminiscence of Berkshire as a possible Melville manuscript and a suggestion to review an anonymous manuscript in the New York Public Library that he believes could have been written by Melville. Also comments on Melville works written by Vincent and Thompson. Incidentally, 44 engravings that belonged to the Melville family and formerly owned by Sukel were donated to the Melville Society Archive by William Reese.




1: Folder 49

Williams, Gordon R., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1955: (2 items)

Gordon Williams was a co-chairman of the 13th Western Books Exhibition 1953 of the Rounce & Coffin Club of the UCLA Library at the time of this correspondence and possibly an employee of Brentano’s (the bookstore) of California . Also refers to Leyda’s niece, Megan . Williams was possibly Leyda’s brother-in-law? Letters refer to Leyda’s work with Bertensson on Rachmaninoff and the opera “Bartleby”, as well as brief references to Emily Dickinson and Sergei Eisenstein. Includes a philosophical discussion of the “function” of an artist, in response to a comment made by Leyda on the nature of his work on the opera “Bartleby”.


partial, undated                    (missing postcard)

1: Folder 50

Viking Press, The, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1950-1952: (2 items)

Contains the agreements and payments for the publication of The Portable Melville (1952).

02-May-1950             * CONTRACT


1: Folder 51

Vincent, Howard Paton, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1953: (1 item)

Howard P. Vincent (1904 – 1985) was an English Professor at The Illinois Institute of Technology at the time of this correspondence. He was a Herman Melville and Honore Daumier (1808-1879) scholar, known for his edition of Moby-Dick, Or The Whale, co edited with Luther Mansfield (Hendricks House, 1952). He also produced Daumier and his World (Northwestern University Press, 1968), the first biography of the French artist, Daumier, written in the English language. Letter refers to possible collaboration between Leyda and Mentor Williams and Vincent’s own research on Daumier . Also mentions sitting in on a seminar with Harrison Hayford and a discussion about Pierre.


1: Folder 52

Williams, Mentor L., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951: (1 item)

Mentor L. Williams was primarily a scholar of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (1793–1864), an American geologist and ethnologist who studied early Native American culture. Williams was a Professor at Illinois Institute of Technology at the time of this correspondence. Mentions Dr. Addison Gulick’s papers pertaining to Melville and his own work on the “Melville–missionary problem.”


1: Folder 53

Wilson, Carroll Atwood, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1947: (1 item)

Carroll A. Wilson was a collector of nineteenth-century English and American Literature. He was a member of the Williams College, MA, class of 1907. Correspondence relates to arrangements to meet with Leyda. Wilson writes “I will bring my Melville catalogue home from the office.”


Chronological Correspondence

1: Folder 54

Incoming, undated, correspondence with Jay Leyda: (10 items)

Senders: unknown,“F,” “EE,” J.N. Moody, Jake, John M. Connole (New York Times Book Review), “D,” Stuart Seidel Jr., [Lawina?] P. [Taurer?],  [Rolf?]

1: Folder 55

Incoming 1946-1947, correspondence with Jay Leyda: (3 items)

Senders: Mrs. Ernst Heyl, Gladys Burch, Margot Johnson (A. and S. Lyons, Inc.).

1: Folder 56

Incoming 1948-1949, correspondence with Jay Leyda: (2 items)

Senders: Mrs. Charles Ives, Lester G. Wells (Seymour Library, Auburn, NY).

1: Folder 57

Incoming 1950-1951, correspondence with Jay Leyda: (7 items)

Senders: Abraham Bornstein (Boston Book and Art Shop, Inc.), E. Byrne Hackett, Ruth L. Connell, unknown, Sarah R. Bartlett (Concord Free Library) draft from Leyda to Mr. Pratt on back, F.B. Adams, Jr. (The New Colophon), Mrs. Carol Van Buren Wight.

1: Folder 58

Incoming 1953, correspondence with Jay Leyda: (2 items)

Senders: Irene M. Poirier (Lenox Library Association), Edith B. Jackson.

1: Folder 59

Incoming 1954-1955, correspondence with Jay Leyda: (8 items)

Senders: A.B.C. Whipple (LIFE Magazine), John [D] (Wittenberg College), Alexander Klein,Ruth Davenport, Roger W. Barrett, unknown, * Mrs. Ethel Walsh (The Town Hall Club, Inc.), Leo Marx.

* On back of the letter from Walsh, dated 09-Dec-1954, Leyda copied down portions of two different reviews of the 1954 opera Bartleby, by William Flanagan, as appeared in the New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune, both published in the May 11, 1954, editions.

1: Folder 60

Outgoing, undated, drafts by Jay Leyda: (7 items, 9 letters)

undated                     (to “Miss Bailey,” possibly Margaret Bailey)

undated                     (to “Mr. Butterfield,” possibly Lyman Butterfield – see Box 3: Folder 16) undated                      (to “Mr. Pratt”)

undated                     (to “Mr. Roseberry”)

undated                     (to “Dr. Stroven,” likely Carl Stroven, Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa Library) undated                 (to “Mr. T”)

undated photocopy (to “Prof. Tinker,” possibly Chauncey Brewster Tinker ; “Willard,” likely Willard L. Thorp; and “Mr. Williams,” possibly Stanley T. Williams).

See also:

Box 2: Folder 4: Citizen’s Film Ltd, brief mention of Melville.

Box 3: Folder 12: Library of Congress, brief mention of Melville.

Box 3: Folder 28: Williams, Stanley T., brief mention of Melville

Box 3: Folder 22: Ward, Theodora Van Wagenen., brief mentions of Melville in selected letters: 17-Jul-195; 26-Aug-1954

Box 4: Folder 5: Hooker, Helene,brief mention of Melville.

Box 4: Folder 8: Smith, Robert J., on back of letters are original pieces of outgoing drafts from Leyda to Professor Tinker, Professor Willard L. Thorp (1899-1992), and possibly Professor Stanley T. Williams.


   Subscriptions and Membership

join now solid blue

   Click the Whale Below to Donate

 whale shadow 85

The Melville Society on Facebook

FB logo PNG clear blue

 Visit for Details about Upcoming Events and Melville-Related News


Fellowships and Scholarships

Melville Society Archive
Walter E. Bezanson Fellowship
The Melville Society, under the auspices of the Melville Society Cultural Project in New Bedford, offers an annual fellowship to help a scholar undertake research on Herman Melville at the Society’s Archive in the Research Library of the Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts.


Click here for more information and application details.


New York Public Library
Short-term Research Fellowships


Graduate students or other affiliated academics whose work would benefit from visiting the Manuscripts and Archives Division to view collections such as the Gansevoort-Lansing collection, and Duyckinck family papers are encouraged to apply.


Click here for more information and application details.

From Our Photo Collections

35302790014 8ee2e35760 O
click to start slideshow

Woodlawn Cemetary

WoodlawnWoodlawn Cemetary - final resting place of Herman, his wife, Elizabeth, and other family members. Click here to view photos of the gravesites.

125th Anniversary Celebration

125th Woodlawn

A celebration of Melville's life at Woodlawn Cemetary on the 125th anniversary of his passing.

Lansingburgh Historical Society

Melville House

Melville lived for nine years in this Lansingburgh house. It was here that he wrote Typee and Omoo

Berkshire Historical Society

ArrowheadMelville's Arrowhead home and farm in Pittsfield, MA where he wrote Moby-Dick and lived for most of the 1850s.