The blog Melvilliana noted that Captain Edward C. Williams‘ “South Sea Whaling Voyage” presentation tour had at least one newspaper praising Herman Melville’s whaling scene, something apparently narrated by Capt. Williams. Pages 10-11 and 21-22 of Williams’ book quote passages from Melville’s Moby-Dick. The touring presentation visited Troy at least twice, once in 1863 (for five weeks!) and once in 1866.
Leaflet supporting Capt. Williams’s show ca. 1860: http://www.girlonawhaleship.org/jernapp/artifactPage.do?shortName=letter_williams_exhibition&page=
—Saturday evening, Prof. Williams will wind up the week of amusements by unrolling his noted panorama of a whaling voyage, which will be exhibited here for the last time previous to going to Europe. It will remain on exhibition for three evenings.
“Amusements.” Troy Daily Whig. March 20, 1866: 3 col 2.
🐳 In fact the show continued in New York’s Capital District area, being in Albany in mid-April, 1866. 🐳
🐳 A panoramic painting that featured in the “Whaling Voyage” presentations may have been composed of the illustrations for Williams’ book, those illustrations possibly also used on the advertising poster: 🐳
Omitted Credit.—In our notice of the fine show-bill for Capt. Williams’ grand Whaling Tour, on Saturday, we omitted an important statement of fact, creditable to a Rochester artist. The Wood Engravings upon which the mammoth illustrations were printed, were cut by Mr. George Frauenberger, of this city; and his skill in combining the plates had much to do with the successful working of the great job. This statement is important, because from it the fact is derived that the whole work is of Rochester production, and that show-bills of this class may be produced here, and recourse to eastern cities is entirely unnecessary.
Rochester Evening Express. January 2, 1866: 3 col 3.
🐳 For whatever reason, the panorama seems not to have left Albany after April 1866, instead being sold. An 1868 item noting Captain William’s death mentions him being “unsuccessful in his business enterprises.” The extent of his touring for so many years, how widely advertised his presentations were and how well-received they were seems to conflict with such a view of his business – unless perhaps he had problems with an unscrupulous business manager, or with spending his money? 🐳
☞ CAPT. WILLIAM Whaling Voyage is to be sold at Sheriff’s sale in Albany.
Troy Daily Whig. June 5, 1866: 3 col 4.
☞ CAPT. WILLIAMS’ noble panorama of the whaling voyage life and adventures was sold in Albany yesterday at Sheriff’s sale for $260. The model work cost this brave and genial old tar nearly $2000.
“Home Matters.” Troy Daily Whig. June 7, 1866: 3 col 2.
The remains of Capt. E. C. Williams, who died suddenly in Bath of apoplexy Sunday P. M., arrived here last evening and were taken in charge by his family. Capt. Williams was well known in this city as a christian gentleman and good citizen. He was an old sailor, and was latterly engaged in the exhibition of a panorama of a whaling voyage. He was for many years engaged in the manufacture of awnings, sails, &c., the same business now in the hands of Mr. Fields.
The funeral will be observed this afternoon from the residence of James Vick, East Avenue.
Rochester Express. June 3, 1868: 3 col 3.
—Capt. E. C. Williams, proprietor of the well known panorama representing a whaling voyage, died at his residence in Steuben county, on Monday last, of paralysis. He had been a resident of Rochester for nearly twenty years. He was a man of large heart, but was rather unsuccessful in his business enterprises.
Troy Daily Whig. June 4, 1868: 4 col 1.
Short video about a moving whaling panorama from 1848; at 34:28 Typee Bay is depicted, as the narrator states “where Herman Melville jumped ship after six months of whaling”: