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

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.

Series II:

Jay Leyda left a box of papers with a friend during his peripatetic life. The contents of this collection comprise a wide assortment of materials and subjects of interest to Jay Leyda. One folder, labeled “Melville Log,” contained material concerning Leyda’s research and planning of that work, but also contained a variety of unrelated material. The rest of the papers range over a variety of subjects and were apparently packed randomly into this box.

In creating this finding aid, I have kept the papers in the “Melville Log” folder separate simply because Leyda labeled them in that manner. Scholars seeking information on Leyda’s research into Melville’s life and work should therefore seek it in both the “Melville Log” folder and the other Melville categories.

Much of the material contained herein is difficult or impossible to date with any certainty. Many of the individual sheets of paper have notes on several very different subjects related only by Leyda’s interest in them. I have categorized each piece according to its predominant subject, but those seeking minutia are encouraged to explore the entire collection carefully.

Detailed Container List

BOX 5: Herman Melville (13 Folders)


5: Folder 1

Melville Log Material

Sub-folder 5.1.1 Gilman responses to Leyda queries concerning Melville Log (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.1.2 Ships’ logs, notes (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.1.3 Vessel sailings: Hawaii during Melville’s stay (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.1.4 Newspaper notes (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.1.5 Typee mention in Life Illustrated editorial (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.1.6 New York Historical Society Checklist (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.1.7 Melville family activity (3 items)

Sub-folder 5.1.8 Wise Journal entries     (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.1. 9 UNITED STATES, frigate, copies of journal entries (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.1.10 Corrections of The Melville Log (11 items)

Sub-folder 5.1.11 Questions on The Melville Log (32 items)

5: Folder 2

Possible Melville Sources

Sub-folder 5.2.1 Illustrations, plates, notes (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.2.2 Montgomery, James: Poem, “The Pelican Island,” 1827 (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.2.3 Leviathan reference, 1849 (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.2.4 Encyclopedias, dictionaries, travelogues (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.2.5 Books Melville Read (26 items)

5: Folder 3

Melville’s Lectures

Sub-folder 5.3.1 Tremont Temple lecture 3/5/1857: typed copy of text in Catherine Gansevoort scrapbook (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.3.2 Review of 11/25/1857 lecture in Lawrence Courier, other notes (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.3.3 Leyda reconstruction of Melville’s South Sea Lecture (1 item)

5: Folder 4

Reviews of Melville’s works

Sub-folder 5.4.1 Review copies (4 items)

Sub-folder 5.4.2 Lists of Reviews (7  items)


5: Folder 5

Melville Family History and Correspondence

Sub-folder 5.5.1 Miscellaneous notes (7 items)

Sub-folder 5.5.2 Melville Family History (23 items)

Sub-folder 5.5.3 Elizabeth Melville correspondence (2 items)

Sub-folder 5.5.4 Thomas Melville correspondence (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.5.5 Lemuel Shaw correspondence (4 items)

Sub-folder 5.5.6 Excerpts from Melville family letters (1 item)

5: Folder 6

Copies of Melville Texts

Sub-folder 5.6.1 Copies of manuscript versions of Melville poems (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.6.2 Copy of poem “Admiral of the White” given to “Tom” by Melville (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.6.3 Notes on drafts of Melville poems (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.6.4 Copy of poem “Restless, restless”; notes on Mardi draft (1 item)

5: Folder 7

Melville Family: General

Sub-folder 5.7.1 Various notes, Thomas Melville article quotation, printed sources for Melville (6 items clipped together by Leyda)

Sub-folder 5.7.2 Melville Family tree; review of Pierre (2 items)

Sub-folder 5.7.3 Copy of Kate Metcalf list of Melville family dates, letter from New York Historical Society on Melville’s books, including Obed Macy (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.7.4 Notes on letters from Lizzie, Herman Melville (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.7.5 Notes on Arthur Stedman (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.7.6 Transcript of wills in Suffolk County Probate Records (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.7.7 Data from Heflin’s Button article (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.7.8 Thomas Melville note, other notes (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.7.9 Mrs. Metcalf’s note on diary (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.7.10 Excerpt from January 1847 article in Scientific American on the Somers (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.7.11 Peter Gansevoort descendants (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.7.12 Draft of letter re: Peebles Family, alphabetical list of names (2 items)

Sub-folder 5.7.13 Dates of correspondence and articles (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.7.14 Note on James Billson, Mrs. Metcalf (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.7.15 Miscellaneous names, locations (2 items)

Sub-folder 5.7.16 Questions, comments (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.7.17 Notes and quotations, including Mrs. R. L. Stevenson on Typee and Omoo (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.7.18 Miscellaneous notes (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.7.19 Contacts in Pittsfield, Boston, and Cambridge, MA (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.7.20 Notes on correspondence, chronology (2 items)

Sub-folder 5.7.21 Notes, reminders, contacts (2 items)

5: Folder 8

Melville Biography

Sub-folder 5.8.1 Notes from American Clipper Ships on METEOR with marginalia (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.8.2 Anecdote from “Smith’s Sketch,” Melville at Balance Rock, music box (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.8.3 List of books (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.8.4 Notes on identity of “Long Ghost” (2 items)

Sub-folder 5.8.5 Lyrics for songs in Moby-Dick (3 items)

Sub-folder 5.8.6 Transcript of clipping listing Melville among passengers aboard ship SOUTHAMPTON (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.8.7 Miscellaneous notes     (2 items)

Sub-folder 5.8.8 List of people Melville met in Mediterranean (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.8.9 Notes on Henry Hayes Lockwood (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.8.10 Melville anecdotes (3 items)

Sub-folder 5.8.11 People known to Herman Melville

5: Folder 9

Melville’s Books and Papers

(5 items)

5: Folder 10

Melville’s Literary Work

Sub-folder 5.10.1 Note on Israel Potter source (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.10.2 Miscellaneous notes on scraps of paper (6 items)

Sub-folder 5.10.3 Notes on Hawthorne, Cramer, others (2 items)

Sub-folder 5.10.4 Notes on Hawthorne letter (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.10.5 Note on letter to Wiley and Putnam (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.10.6 List of Mardi reviews (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.10.7 Transcripts, notes on reviews of Mardi and Typee (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.10.8 Modern Language Notes (periodical) January 1944 with pieces on Melville (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.10.9 Notes on search for books owned by Melville (5 items)

Sub-folder 5.10.10 Notes on possible Typee source (2 items)

Sub-folder 5.10.11 Notes on and copies of Melville’s poems (7 items)

Sub-folder 5.10.12 Notes on Melville’s correspondence

5: Folder 11

Leyda’s Research

Sub-folder 5.11.1 Notes on possible sources (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.11.2 New York Library Handbook (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.11.3 Note on Clarel review (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.11.4 Correspondence with James T. Babb at Yale University Library (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.11.5 University of California Library notice with notes (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.11.6 Various notes (4 items)

Sub-folder 5.11.7 Notes on Ezra Ames (2 items)

Sub-folder 5.11.8 New York Public Library slips for Owen Chase Narrative and Redburn (2 items)

Sub-folder 5.11.9 Notes on John Paul Jones, John Marr (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.11.10 Notes on Hawthorne, Long Ghost (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.11.11 Notes on “mast-head meditations” (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.11.12 Notes on Clarel (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.11.13 Transcriptions of Melvilles’s Bible marginalia (2 items)

Sub-folder 5.11.14 Notes on text of Billy Budd (1 item)

5: Folder 12

Books: Reviews, Sales                                    

Sub-folder 5.12.1 Book reviews (2 items)

Sub-folder 5.12. 2 New York Times book review (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.12.3 Article on Moby-Dick, Jonathan Bourne Whaling Museum (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.12.4 Advertisement of first editions of nineteenth-century authors (1 item)

Sub-folder 5.12.5 Reviews of The Melville Log (2 items)

5: Folder 13

Melville Log Material not found in “Melville Log” folder

Sub-folder 5.13.3 People known to Melville


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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.