The Eaton Portrait

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

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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

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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”)



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Melville Society Facebook Posts

Greg Lennes The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster, MA presents JMW Turner’s Whaling Pictures & "Moby-Dick" with Storyteller, Tom Lee on Saturday, March 24th.
Mindy Wallis The New Bedford Whaling Museum, in partnership with Mystic Seaport, has developed the world's most comprehensive whaling history database and it is now available for all to use at Researchers, genealogists, students, teachers, and history buffs alike will find it to be the most robust and useful repository of whaling history documentation and scholarship.
Whaling History – Connecting All Things Whaling William Bradford, The Port of New Bedford from Crow Island, 1854, oil painting. New Bedford Whaling Museum, 1975.18 Whale oil provided fuel for lighting and lubrication for the gears of the industrial revolution, until it was replaced by petroleum products in the mid-nineteenth century. The whali....
Greg Lennes Scenes from Pittsburgh Opera's "Moby-Dick"
Pittsburgh Opera: Moby-Dick - “Death to Moby Dick!” Captain Ahab (Roger Honeywell) incites the Pequod's crew into swearing that they will hunt and kill the white whale Moby-Dick, which previously took off his ...
Greg Lennes Melvillean TV: Moby-Dick's Captain Ahab appears as a character on ABC's TV series "Once Upon a Time" on the March 16th "Knightfall" episode. Here is a video excerpt - farfetched:) Did the screenplay writers ever read "Moby-Dick?" - probably not!
Greg Lennes "I may here remark by the way — what I subsequently learned — that all the islands of Polynesia enjoy the reputation, in common with the Hibernian isle, of being free from the presence of any vipers; though whether Saint Patrick ever visited them, is a question I shall not attempt to decide." (From "Typee" - Chapter 7)
Greg Lennes "Common Threads is a free annual publication and outreach program produced by Mass Poetry, with a goal to broaden the audience for poetry and support poets and poetry in Massachusetts by helping thousands of people across the Commonwealth come together in small, local groups to read and discuss poetry." For 2018 one of the featured poems in its publication is “Billy in the Darbies” by Melville. According to the editor Alan Feldman the poem "is probably the best poem Melville ever wrote."
Greg Lennes Today in Melvillean History: On March 17, 1846 Melville's "Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life" was published by Wiley & Putnam in America. In London John Murray had published it in late February under the title "Narrative of a Four Month's Residence among the Natives of a Valley of the Marquesas Islands." "Copies were issued in printed wrappers (two volumes) and in blue, brown, green and slate blue cloth, gilt (one volume) as part of Wiley and Putnam's “Library of American Books” series.... The edition was 2,000 copies, of which 1,498 were bound in cloth and 496 in wrappers (the other six copies were defective sets of sheets)." (From "A Checklist of Herman Melville First and Major Editions" by Kevin McDonnell)
Typee : a peep at Polynesian life. During a four months' residence in a valley of the Marquesas The BookReader requires JavaScript to be enabled. Please check that your browser supports JavaScript and that it is enabled in the browser settings. You can also try one of the other formats of the book.
Eileen Valentino Flaxman You can open Moby-Dick just about anywhere and along with spectacular narrative and stunningly beautiful prose, you're likely to find something philosophical that can apply to your 21st century life. I was inspired by a few … Chapter 45 - The Affidavit We fear what we do not understand. Ignorance is not bliss but an instigator, with stories, fables, even downright lies filling in the blanks and believed true. Men are moved by such things. From ear to ear, from man to man, from ship to ship . . . Careers made Lives changed, Leaving carnage in its wake. Chapter 98 - Stowing Down and Clearing Up Tis in whaling as in Life, there is no rest, for one thing follows another. No matter how arduous, still harder tasks will come and often a man just catches his breath when along comes another. So what is the point, exactly? Like Pythagoras - and sometimes feeling like Sisyphus - we discover, we learn, we teach and we work. Over and over and over again. From my collection
Greg Lennes Mt. Greylock
Herman Melville's Arrowhead We've run this quote before, but not in mid-March! Photograph of Mt. Greylock taken this morning, from Arrowhead.
"I have a sort of sea-feeling here in the country… My room seems a ship’s cabin; and at nights when I wake up and hear the winds shrieking, I almost fancy there is too much sail on the house, and I had better go on the roof and rig the chimney.”
Herman Melville writing to Evert Duychinck from Arrowhead, December, 1850.
Colin Dewey This Saturday in San Francisco!
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park Breaching this Saturday in the Maritime Museum’s Blue Room: “Does the Whale’s Magnitude Diminish? Maritime Labor and the Environment in Melville’s Moby-Dick." Join Associate Professor Amy Parsons’ free gam at 1pm, and learn how the classic American novel frames the environmental and human cost of the industry’s tremendous riches during “the golden age of whaling.”


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.