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

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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 2: Film & Russian Studies Correspondence (19 Folders)

(General Film Industry, Russian & Soviet Film History, Eisenstein, Musorgsky, Rachmaninoff, and others)

2: Folder 1

The American Scholar (Hiram Haydn), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1946: (1 item)

Hiram Haydn was editor of The American Scholar from 1944-1973 and asks Leyda to submit his translation of an article by Eisenstein in this letter.


2: Folder 2

Bertensson, Sergei Lvovich, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1954-1955: (3 items)

Sergei Bertensson (1885-1962), native of Russia, was a Chekov and Rachmaninoff historian. A graduate of The Imperial University in St. Petersburg, he served as the General Manager of the Moscow Art Theater where he met and subsequently befriended Rachmoninoff. Bertensson played an integral role in the troupe’s first appearance in the United States in 1923, featuring the young emergent Russian Composer, and facilitated his eventual move to the United States in the 1940s.  Bertensson translated Russian texts for potential American films, and served as a dialogue coach for several actors on selected films. He met Jay Leyda during the filming of Mission to Moscow (Warner Brothers, 1943) for which Leyda was the technical advisor.. Co-authored The Musorgsky Reader and eventually, the authoritative biography of Rachmaninoff, Sergei Rachmaninoff: a Lifetime in Music (Indiana University Press, 1956) to which his letters refer.


12-Nov-1954             (telegram, possibly from Bertensson)


2: Folder 3

British Film Academy (Roger Manville), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1949-1950: (5 items)

Relates to Leyda’s History of the Russian Cinema.


undated                     estimated 23-Jun-1949       (draft from Leyda)


undated                     estimated 22-Oct-1950        (draft from Leyda)


2: Folder 4

Citizens Film Ltd (Herbert Marshall), & Preslit Literary Agency (Helen Black),  correspondence with Jay Leyda 1947: (3 items)

Relates to the Charlie Chaplin book and Griffiths articles, the publication of Leyda’s “Melville book”, History of Russian Cinema, Film principles, and Chaplin.

06-Feb-1947             (from Marshall)

21-Oct-1947              (from Black)

04-Nov-1947             (from Marshall)

2: Folder 5

Elton, Arthur, correspondence with Jay Leyda undated: (2 items – only portions)

Arthur Elton ((1906-1973), was a prestigious British documentary film director and producer.

2: Folder 6

George Allen & Unwin Ltd. (Ronald Eames),  correspondence with Jay Leyda 1949: (3 items)

Relates to Leyda’s History of the Russian Cinema.

undated                     estimated 23-Jun-1949       (draft from Leyda)



2: Folder 7

Harcourt, Brace and Company (Robert Giroux), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1945: (1 item). Refers to Musorgsky and Eisenstein, and a suggestion for Leyda to write a book about the history of Soviet film.


2: Folder 8

Ivens, Joris, and Marion Michelle, correspondence with Jay Leyda and Si-Lan Chen 1946: (5 items)

Joris Ivens (1898-1989) was a Dutch documentary filmmaker. Marion Michelle (1913-2007) was a photographer and camera woman, and was the principle cinematographer for Ivens’ film, Indonesia Calling

undated                     (from Ivens and Michelle)

13-May                       estimated 1946 (from Ivens and Michelle)

20-May-1946             (from Ivens)

24-Oct-1946              (from Ivens)

24-Oct                                    estimated 1946 (from Michelle)

2: Folder 9

Koch, Howard and Anne, correspondence with Jay Leyda 1951 – unknown : (8 items)

Howard Koch (1901-1995) was a renowned Hollywood American screenwriter. His wife, also a writer, was Anne Green. Originally a playwright, Howard began scripting radio series in the late 1930s for John Houseman and Orson Welles. Asked by Welles to update H.G. Wells’ novel, War of the Worlds, in the form of news bulletins and personal narratives, Koch produced Invasion from Mars, upon which the famous radio broadcasts of War of the Worlds were based. Eventually making the transition to film, he is most famous for his work on Casablanca (1943) for which he won an Academy Award with his collaborators in 1944.  After being blacklisted, Howard and Anne moved to Europe with their children.  When Howard died in 1995 at the age of 93, his children, Karyl Trainor and Peter Koch, were still living.  They may have had a third child who died. Correspondence from both Howard and Anne is largely personal, with particular reference to the illness of their daughter, but includes many references and discussions about Koch’s work.  Some brief references to Leyda’s work on Emily Dickinson and Herman Melville are also mentioned. Includes some references to Koch being blacklisted in the 1950s by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Finally, correspondence includes holiday cards and drawings made by their son, Peter.

08-Feb-unkown year


18-Jun-unknown year

28-Oct-unknown year

undated                                 (in pencil from Anne)

undated                                 Christmas card

undated                                 Christmas card

undated                                 (drawings from Pete with Merry Christmas note)

2: Folder 10

Lerner, Irving, correspondence with Jay Leyda undated: (1 item)

Irving Lerner (1909-1976) was a cinematographer, documentary film director and producer. In this letter, he refers to a “new project” which was later to become The Savage Eye (1959) produced by some of his contemporaries and partners, Joseph Strict, Ben Maddow, & Sidney Meyers. Letter is estimated to coincide chronologically with Leyda’s work on Dickinson.

undated                     estimated mid 1950s

2: Folder 11

Mahaska County Community Theatre, William Penn College (Tom Toman), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1946: (1 item)

Relates to Toman’s interest in Leyda’s experience working with Sergei Eisenstein.


2: Folder 12

Powers, R.M., correspondence with Jay Leyda 1955: (1 item)

Relates to Powers’ illustration of Rachnanioff for High Fidelity Magazine.


2: Folder 13

Rotha, Paul correspondence with Jay Leyda 1949: (3 items)

Born Paul Thompson, Rotha (1907-1984) was a British documentary film-maker, historian and critic. Correspondence relates to Soviet Film History.


undated         estimated Mar 0r Apr-1949 (draft from Leyda)


2: Folder 14

Roucek, Joseph, correspondence with Jay Leyda undated: (1 item)

Joseph Roucek, Editor in Chief of The Encyclopedia Slavonica, asks Leyda to write an article on Russian  / Slavonic Motion Pictures.

2: Folder 15

Russian Research Center (Project on the Soviet Social System), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1953: (1 item with enclosure)

Relates to a showing of Miners of the Don, a Russian film, at Harvard University. Enclosure is the cast of characters and general information about the film.

21-May-1953                         (notes from Leyda on back)

2: Folder 16

Seton, Marie, correspondence with Jay Leyda and Si-Lan Chen 1951-1952: (10 items)

Marie Seton (b. ? – 1985) was a biographer, and wrote the first biography of Sergei Eistenstein, titled Sergei M. Eisenstein (Brodley Head, London, 1952) to which she refers in this correspondence.



05-Mar                                    estimated 1951




16-Mar                                    estimated 1952

21-Mar                                    estimated 1952



2: Folder 17

Souvaine Selective Pictures, inc. (Herman Weinberg), correspondence with Jay Leyda 1952-1953: (2 items)

Relates to a request for contributions from Leyda to CINEMA, a film magazine in Milan for which Herman Weinberg (1908- ) was the US Correspondent.



2: Folder 18

Incoming, unknown correspondent, correspondence with Jay Leyda: (1 item)

Sender: “Mack”, Antioch College, Ohio

Relates to Mack’s request for information regarding his talk on “Literature and Movies” for a group of students at Antioch College.


2: Folder 19

Outgoing draft from Leyda undated (1 item)

undated                     (to “Mr. Stepanov”)


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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

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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.