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.


Historical Listing of Melville Society Officers and Committee Members


Tyrus Hillway founded The Melville Society in 1945, and it has since grown to one of the largest international single-author societies.  The Society’s earliest papers reside in the Melville Society Archive housed within the New Bedford Whaling Museum Library. The initial membership lists read like an author bibliography of seminal Melville studies.  The following history of Melville Society officers has been compiled with the assistance of Chris Sten and other Society officers.


President (elected, one-year term, serves on Executive Committee)

Arimichi Makino, 2017

John Bryant, 2016

Hester Blum, 2015

Geoffrey Sanborn, 2014

Steven Olsen-Smith, 2013

Dennis Berthold, 2012

Wyn Kelley, 2011

T. Walter Herbert, 2010

Robert Milder, 2009

Carolyn Karcher, 2008

Andrew Delbanco, 2007

Gail Coffler, 2006

Edgar Dryden, 2005

Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, 2004

Christopher Sten, 2003

Robert K. Wallace, 2002

Douglas Robillard, 2001

Thomas Farel Heffernan, 2000

Harrison Hayford, 1999

Sanford E. Marovitz, 1998

Elizabeth Schultz, 1997

Lea Bertani Vozar Newman, 1996

Stanton Garner, 1995

Marvin Fisher, 1994

H. Bruce Franklin, 1993

Harrison Hayford, 1992

Hershel Parker, 1991

Donald Yannella, 1990

Walter Bezanson, 1989

Joyce Sparer Adler, 1988

Jay Leyda, 1987

William B. Dillingham, 1986

John Seelye, 1985

Milton R. Stern, 1984

Warner Berthoff, 1983

G. Thomas Tanselle, 1982

Edward Rosenberry, 1981

Henry A. Murray, 1980

Walter D. Kring, 1979

Robert G. Newman, 1978

Lewis Mumford, 1977

Jay Leyda, 1976

Hennig Cohen, 1975

Robert Penn Warren, 1974

[none], 1973

Nathalia Wright, 1972

Leon Howard, 1971

Harrison Hayford, 1970

Howard P. Vincent, 1969

[no record], 1968

Walter Bezanson, 1967

Henry A. Murray, 1966

Merlin Bowen, 1965

Merlin Bowen (in absentia), 1964

William B. Stein, 1963

Merrill Davis (deceased), 1962

Richard H. Fogle (served 2 years), 1961

Tyrus Hillway, 1960

Lawrence Barrett, 1959

Wilson L. Heflin, 1958

Howard C. Horsford, 1957

Nathalia Wright, 1956

Harrison Hayford, 1955

Walter Bezanson, 1954

Merton M. Sealts, Jr., 1953

Willard Thorp, 1952

Howard P. Vincent, 1951

Elizabeth Foster, 1950

F. Barron Freeman, 1949

William Braswell, 1948

Luther S. Mansfield, 1947

Charles R. Anderson, 1946

[none], 1945 

The first woman president was Elizabeth Foster, who was elected five years after the Society was founded; eleven women have held that office, including 2015's Hester Blum. Most presidents served only one term, but Harrison Hayford served four.

Secretary (elected, three-year term, serves as Chair of the Executive Committee)

Colin Dewey, 2017-present

Tony McGowan, 2014-2016

Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, 2007-2013

Jill Barnum, 2003-2006

Christopher Sten, 1997-2002

Sanford E. Marovitz, 1994-1996

Stanton Garner, 1990-1993

Donald Yannella, (secretary-treasurer), 1975-1989

Donald Yannella (acting secretary-treasurer for Hennig Cohen), 1973-1974

Hennig Cohen (secretary-treasurer), 1969-1972

Howard P. Vincent (secretary-treasurer), 1964-1968

Richard Stavig (secretary-treasurer), 1960-1963

Tyrus Hillway (acting secretary-treasurer for Howard Horsford), 1958-1959

Tyrus Hillway (secretary-treasurer), 1946-1957

Tyrus Hillway (founding secretary-treasurer), 1945

Associate Secretary for Programs and Conferences (elected, three-year term, serves on Executive Committee)

Meredith Farmer, 2017-present

Colin Dewey, 2014-2016

Joseph Fruscione, 2009-2013

Treasurer (elected, three-year term, serves on Executive Committee)

Steven Olsen-Smith, 2014-present

Tony McGowan, 2009-2013

John Matteson, 2006-2008

Dennis Berthold (acting treasurer), 2004-2005

Bryan Short, 2002-2003

Dennis Berthold, 1995-2001

John Wenke, 1990-1994

Editor (elected, three-year term, serves on Executive Committee)

Samuel  Otter, 2014-present

John Bryant, 1990-2013

Donald Yannella, 1976-1989

Hennig Cohen, 1969-1975

Associate Editor (appointed by Editor)

Brian Yothers, 2014-present

Samuel Otter, 2010-2013

Wyn Kelley, 2000-2010 (also served as Assistant Editor 1996-2000)

Book Review Editor (appointed by Editor)

Dawn Coleman, 2014-present

Extracts Editor (appointed by Editor)

Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, 2014-present

Historian (elected, three-year term, serves on Executive Committee; discontinued in 2008)

Christopher Sten, 2003-2007

Douglas Robillard, 2002

Frederick J. Kennedy, 1996-2001

Ruth T. Degenhardt, 1990-1995

Richard Colles Johnson, 1975-1989

Henry Wasser, 1970-1974

Director of Development (elected, three-year term, serves on Executive Committee; discontinued in 2014)

John Matteson, 2012-2013

Dennis Berthold, 2005-2011

Melville Society Cultural Project Representative (elected, two-year term, serves on Executive Committee)

Chris Sten and Robert K. Wallace (shared position), 2008-present

MLA Program Chair (elected, one-year term)

Branka Arsic / Christopher Freeburg, January 2017

Colin Dayan / Eliza Richards collaborative with Emily Dickenson
            International Society, January 2016

Coleman Hutchison, January 2015

Hsuan Hsu, January 2015

Tim Marr, January 2014

Hester Blum, January 2013

Milette Shamir, 2011

Ivy Wilson, 2010

Peter Norberg, 2009

Chris Castiglia, 2008

Charlene Avallone, 2007

M. Thomas Inge, 2006

Geoffrey D. Sanborn, 2005

Susan Garbarini Fanning, 2004

Robert Levine, 2003

Linda Costanzo Cahir, 2002

Timothy Marr, 2001

John Wenke, 2000

Laurie Robertson-Lorant, 1999

Stanton Garner, 1998

Robert Martin, 1997

Gail Coffler, 1996

Susan Weiner, 1995

Wyn Kelley, 1994

Robert K. Wallace, 1993

Robert DeMott, 1992

Milton R. Stern, 1991

Gail Coffler, 1990

Carolyn Karcher, 1989

James Duban, 1988

Dennis Berthold, 1987

Chris Sten, 1986 (Thomas F. Heffernan also chaired a conference on Nantucket in 1986)

Joyce Sparer Adler, 1985

Bainard Cowan, 1984

Thomas F. Heffernan, 1983

Robert Milder, 1982

Bette Weidman, 1981

Watson G. Branch, 1980

Hershel Parker, 1979

H. Bruce Franklin, 1978

Curtis Dahl, 1977

Deborah C. Andrews, 1976

Johannes Bergmann, 1975

Sanford Marovitz, 1974

Donald Yannella, 1973

Donald Yannella, 1972

Hershel Parker, 1971

Frederic Tuten, 1970

John Seelye, 1969

ALA Program Chair (elected, one-year term)

Paul Hurh and Dominic Mastroianni, 2016

Andrew Kopec and Elizabeth Duquette, 2015

Anne Baker, 2014

Matthew Giordano, 2014

Zach Hutchins, 2013

Cody Marrs, 2013

Ralph Savarese, 2012

Christopher Phillips, 2011

Brian Yothers, 2010

Maurice Lee, 2009

Steven Olsen-Smith, 2008

Elizabeth Renker, 2007

Faith Barrett, 2006

Carol Colatrella, 2005

Jonathan A. Cook, 2004

Rachela Permenter, 2003

Juana Djalal, 2002

Robert Milder, 2001

Samuel Otter, 2000

Edgar Dryden, 1999

Sterling Stuckey, 1998

Sally Hoople, 1997

John Samson, 1996

David Leverenz, 1995

Sheila Post-Lauria, 1994

Kathleen E. Kier & Larry J. Reynolds, 1993

Charlene Avallone & Richard Kopley, 1992

Mary K. Bercaw, 1991

Sanford E. Marovitz (appointed), 1990

C19 Program Chair

Jennifer Greiman, 2013

Murray Endowment Committee (elected, three-year term)

Wyn Kelley, 2017-2019

Dennis Berthold, 2016-2018

Carolyn Karcher, 2015-2017

Dennis Berthold, 2016-2018

Carolyn Karcher, 2015-2017

Robert D. Madison, 2014-2016

Brian Yothers, 2012-2013

James Duban, 2010-[2015]

Sandy Marovitz, 2009-2011

Hank Galmish, 2008-[2014]

[name needed], 2007-

Marty Bickman, 2006-2008

Helen Trimpi, 2005-2007

Watson Branch, 2004-2006

Sanford E. Marovitz, 2003-2005

Lea Bertani Vozar Newman, 2002-2004

Sally Hoople, 2001-2003

Linda Costanzo Cahir, 2000-2002

Martin Torodash, 1999-2001

Stanton Garner, 1997-1999

Donald Yannella, 1996-1998

Lucy Freibert, 1995-1997, 1998

Curtis Dahl, 1994-1996

Sanford E. Marovitz, 1993-1995

Donald Yannella, 1992-1994

G. Thomas Tanselle, 1991-1993

Harold B. Lehrman, 1990-1992

Thomas Norton, 1990-1991

Walter Bezanson, 1990

[information missing 1988-1989]

Robert G. Newman (chair), William B. Dillingham, Sally Hoople, Thomas Norton, 1987

Robert G. Newman (chair), William B. Dillingham, Sally Hoople, Merton M. Sealts, Jr., Thomas Norton, 1986 (initial committee)

Nominating Committee (appointed by outgoing President, three-year term)

Maurice Lee, 2015-

Lenora Warren, 2015-2017

Jennifer Greiman, 2014-2016

Elizabeth Renker, 2013-2015

Dawn Coleman, 2012-2014

Bryan Sinche, 2011-2013

Colin Dewey, 2010-2012

Elizabeth Duquette, 2009-2011

Steven Olsen-Smith, 2008-2010

Wendy Stallard Flory, 2007-2009

Samuel Otter, 2006-2008

Henry Hughes, 2005-2007

Rachela Parmenter, 2004-2006

Dennis Berthold, 2003-2005

Timothy Marr, 2002-2004

Kathleen E. Kier, 2001-2004

Gail Coffler, 2000-2002

Wyn Kelley, 1999-2001

Lynn Horth, 1998-2000

Carolyn Karcher, 1997-1999

Haskell Springer, 1996-1998

John Wenke, 1995-1997

Laurie Robertson-Lorant, 1994-1996

Edward Grejda, 1993-1994 (resigned for overseas commitment)

Joyce Kennedy, 1992-1995 (served twice as chair)

Dennis Berthold, 1991-1993

Sally Hoople, 1990-1992

Susan Beegel Tiffney, 1990-1991

M. Thomas Inge, 1990

[information missing 1987-1989]

Mary K. Bercaw, 1986 [plus two others

[information missing 1984-1985]

Robert Milder (chair), Warwick Wadlington, Bette Weidman, 1983

Sally Hoople (chair), John Bryant, Douglas Robillard, 1982

Tom Quirk (chair), Richard Brodhead, Carolyn Karcher, 1981

Stanton Garner (chair), Kathleen Kier, Charles Neumier, 1980

Brian Higgins (chair), James Barbour, Sue Lonoff, 1979

[information missing 1978]

Sanford Marovitz (chair), Alan Hayman, Sally Hoople, 1977

Nathalia Wright (chair), Edwin Gittleman, Samuel Middlebrook, 1976

Wilson Helfin (chair), Marjorie Dew, Edward Stone, 1975

Heyward Ehrlich, 1974

Cohen Prize Committee (appointed by Secretary, three-year term)

2014: Peter Norberg, Cody Marrs, and Dominic Mastroianni

2013: Hester Blum, Peter Norberg, Cody Marrs

2012: Chris Sten, Hester Blum, Peter Norberg

2011: Chris Sten, Hester Blum, Peter Norberg

2010: Geoff Sanborn, Jeff Clymer, and Chris Sten

2009: Geoff Sanborn, Jeff Clymer, Dennis Berthold

2008: Ralph Savarese, Robin Grey, Geoff Sanborn

2007:  John Samson, Ralph Savarese (only two served in 2007)

2006:  Maurice Lee, John Samson, Ralph Savarese

2005:  Maurice Lee, Charlene Avallone, John Samson

2004:  Maurice Lee, Charlene Avallone


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.