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

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.

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


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.