The Eaton Portrait

Eaton portrait of Herman Melville
By permission of Houghton Library
Harvard University: 61Z-4

(Click to view a larger image)


whale-trp200Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies appears three times a year in March, June, and October. We welcome articles, notes, reviews, and creative writing on the life, works, and influence of novelist and poet Herman Melville (1819-1891). Click here for more information.

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

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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.

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”)


Current Facebook Posts

Greg Lennes Today in Melvillean history: On August the 19th 1819, Melville is baptized at home by J. M. Mathews, a minister of the South Reformed Dutch Church in New York City.
Greg Lennes Melvillean Solar Eclipse: From Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land (1876) - 3.5.60-65 "This change, this dusking change that slips (Like the penumbra o'er the sun), Over the faith transmitted down; Foreshadows it complete eclipse?" Footnote: "The "penumbra" is the Earth's shadow that falls upon the moon during a lunar eclipse, but Melville here is applying the term to a solar eclipse." (From "Herman Melville: Stargazer" By Brett Zimmerman) The first photo of a total solar eclipse, shown here, was a daguerreotype by the Prussian photographer Johann Julius Friedrich Berkowski. (July 28, 1851 - same year that Moby-Dick was published) :) 2017-08-19T15:30:17+0000
Greg Lennes Review: The Eleventh International Melville Society Conference (June 27 - June 30, 2017) by Hannah Murray.
Review: The Eleventh International Melville Society ConferenceKings College London Organised around the focus of ‘Melville’s crossings’, the event covered the breadth and depth of Melville studies and paid close attention to Melville’s dialogues with philosophy and aesthetic theo…
Colin Dewey All members of the Melville Society receive three print issues of our award-winning journal, Leviathan, per year. With membership rates beginning at only $25 this is an incredible bargain.
Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies | JHU Press EditorSamuel Otter, University of California, Berkeley Steven Olsen-Smith, Leviathan PODCAST: Steven Olsen-Smith, Leviathan Leviathan features a bounty of scholarly articles, notes, reviews, and creative writing of a critical, theoretical, cultural, or historical nature on the impressive body of wor...
Eileen Valentino Flaxman MOBY DICK - Ch. 16 – THE SHIP is about everything being ready for sail: the crew is on board, the larder is stocked. But no Captain Ahab. For days, the men are in limbo, waiting for their captain to arrive . . . A ship in the harbor a ship not at sea is no ship at all, strange and solitary. A ship with no captain, not anywhere seen is not yet alive but mere joints and beams. But when sails unfurl and Ahab walks the deck and the salt spray stings the back of my neck Then the Pequod will reign and come into its own With the ocean its kingdom and the waves its throne.
Greg Lennes From Providence Journal: The Berkshire County Historical Society's annual hike up Monument Mountain on August 6th:
Annual Berkshires hike marks a literary moment A visit to western Massachusetts includes a stop at Monument Mountain and Arrowhead, the home of the great author Herman Melville.
Greg Lennes Melvillean Trivia: October Mountain Shelter along the Massachusetts Appalachian Trail is said to have been named by Melville, who wrote “One fine morning I sallied forth upon the errand I had much ado finding the best road to the shanty. No one seemed to know where it was exactly. It lay in a very lonely part of the country, a densely wooded mountain on one side (which I call October Mountain on account of its bannered aspect in that month), and a thicketed swamp on the other.” (From his short story - COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! OR THE CROWING OF THE NOBLE COCK BENEVENTANO" - 1853). Here is the present shelter in the October Mountain State Forest:
October Mountain Shelter October Mountain Shelter
Colin Dewey Note to members: The Melville Society will now be communicating with members via email rather than snail mail. The Executive Committee has chosen "Survey Monkey" as our platform for official polling and elections, so we will no longer send paper ballots. Please accept Survey Monkey messages from the Melville Society and make sure when you renew your Society membership that your email and postal mailing addresses are up to date. If you have opted-out of Survey Monkey emails in the past you will not receive ballot or election materials. To opt-in visit Note that this not affect our journal, Leviathan, which you will continue to receive just as you have been. Thank you!
SurveyMonkey: Free online survey software & questionnaire tool Opt in or out of receiving emails from SurveyMonkey.
Colin Dewey Visit to learn about the society and membership.
Home A society dedicated to the study and appreciation of the nineteenth-century American author Herman Melville
Colin Dewey Established in 1947, the Melville Society is one of the largest international single-author societies, dedicated to the study of the life and works of Herman Melville, and their cultural impact since the nineteenth century. The organization enjoys the fellowship of scholars, artists, teachers, writers, readers, and enthusiasts throughout the world. All members receive our award-winning journal Leviathan, which is published three times a year by Johns Hopkins University Press, and offers scholarly articles, book and art reviews, Society news, and Melville-related current events. With subscriptions starting at just $25 per year, our membership remains an incredible bargain. To join, or learn more, go to:

From Our Photo Collections

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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.

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.