Melville family in Lansingburgh 1838-1847
Herman Melville in Lansingburgh 1838-1840, 1844-1847 (aged 18-21, 25-28)
1837-1838 – Bryant, John. “Gansevoort Revises Augusta: An Introduction.” Melville Electronic Library. https://mel.hofstra.edu/augusta-comp-intro.html
Lansingburgh Entertainment in the 1830s-1840s (some of which the Melvilles might have attended)
10 NOVEMBER 1838
I am with the profoundest regard
Your obdt Servt
P[.S.] My complements to Eli James Murd[oc]k tell him I shall be down in a few days
Melville, Herman. The Letters of Herman Melville. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1960. 16.
Parker, Hershel. “The Unemployable Herman Melville; ‘Nothing else to do’ but Sign on a Whaleship.” Historic Nantucket 62(2). Winter 2012. 4-10. https://nha.org/research/publications/historic-nantucket/the-melville-issue/
November 12, 1838 – Herman Melville began studies at the Lansingburgh Academy
1838-1839 – several love poems signed “H” appear in Democratic Press, and Lansingburgh Advertiser newspaper
Broderick, Warren F. “Melville’s First Five Poems?” Melville Society Extracts (92). March 1993. 13-16. http://people.hofstra.edu/John_L_Bryant/Melville_Extracts/Volume%2092/extracts092_mar93_pg13.html
Norsworthy, Scott. “‘Pity’s Tear,’ not by Melville.” Melvilliana: the world and writings of Herman Melville. January 6, 2012. http://melvilliana.blogspot.com/2012/01/pitys-tear-not-by-melville.html
The poem “To Miss M— A—” was previously printed as “I Shall Remember.” Ladies Companion. December 1835. 55. https://books.google.com/books?id=Iq0RAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA1-PA55&lpg=RA1-PA55
Names. Residence. […]
Hiram Hawkins ………… [Lansingburgh] […]
Herman Melville, ………… [Lansingburgh]
Catalogue of the Trustees, Teachers and Students of Lansingburgh Academy, 1839. Troy, NY: Norman Tuttle, 1839. 5-6.
May 4, 1839 – “Fragments from a Writing Desk, No. 1.” Democratic Press, and Lansingburgh Advertiser
May 8, 1839 – Advocate and Watervliet Advertiser [West Troy, NY] reprints “Fragments from a Writing Desk, No. 1.”
May 18, 1839 – “Fragments from a Writing Desk, No. 2.” Democratic Press, and Lansingburgh Advertiser
June 5, 1839 – Herman Melville left New York Harbor for Liverpool, England on the St. Lawrence
September 1839 – Herman Melville returns to New York from Liverpool on the St. Lawrence
Fall-Winter 1839 – taught at Greenbush and Schodack Academy
November 16, 1839 – “The Death Craft.” Democratic Press
Broderick, Warren F. “‘Their Snowy Whiteness Dazzled My Eyes’: ‘The Death Craft’—Melville’s First Maritime Story.” Hudson River Valley Review 3(1). March 1986. 91-106. http://www.hudsonrivervalley.org/review/pdfs/hvrr_3pt1_broderick.pdf
“Herman Melville and two Rensselaer County schools.” https://www.renstrust.org/images/portfolios/EarlySchools%20-%20Rural%20and%20Urban.pdf [1838-1840 in Lansingburgh]
To get to the school, Melville probably would have walked east on North Street (114th Street), north on Gurley Avenue, then east on Farrell Avenue. Gurley Avenue is present but unnamed on the 1843 map below; the western segment of Farrell Road (west of Oakwood Avenue) appears on it as “Brunswick Road,” a stretch of road that is now a more winding one renamed Stoneledge Drive. Gypsy Lane intersects Farrell Road a bit east of the border of the 1843 map.
June 1840 – Herman Melville visited his uncle in Galena, Illinois
December 1840 – Onion, Rebecca. “Whaling Ship Crew List Shows Melville Embarking on a Journey That Inspired Moby-Dick.” Slate. October 27, 2014. http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault/2014/10/27/history_of_herman_melville_crew_list_for_the_whaler_acushnet.html
August 9, 1842 – signed onto the whaler Lucy Ann
September 29, 1842 – held in custody in Tahiti
October 1842 – escaped from custody
November 1842 – signed onto the whaler Charles and Henry
While in Hawaii, Melville is known to have worked as a pin-setter at a bowling alley. Hawaii had a number of them:
We have been at some pains in obtaining the following list of the stores, public buildings, trades, professions, etc. of the town. There are doubtless some errors, but it will serve to give an idea of the present condition of the town. We have not included many native mechanics, who are more or less employed among foreigners and their own countrymen. […]
Bowling alleys, 7
“Improvements and Changes In and About Honolulu.” The Polynesian. October 17, 1840: 2 col 4.
August 1843 – Melville signed onto the United States Navy ship United States
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.—The seamen’s chaplain has received letters, overland, for the following persons, viz: […] If Mr. Herman Melville, formerly officer on board Am. W. S. Acushnet, is in this part of the world, and will call upon the seamen’s chaplain, he may find several letters directed to his address.
The Friend, of Temperance and Seamen [Honolulu]. September 4, 1844: 84 col 2.
1844-1845 – Herman Melville writes his first novel Typee in Lansingburgh.
Conroy, Thomas. “Rare Herman Melville manuscript worth $500,000 found in barn.” UPI. November 20, 1983. https://www.upi.com/Archives/1983/11/20/Rare-Herman-Melville-manuscript-worth-500000-found-in-barn/3013438152400/
Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. “First Draught of “Typee”” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1845. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/6cf01560-6b83-0133-a129-00505686d14e
July 1845 – Gansevoort Melville set sail to England with Typee manuscript
December 1845 – publication rights to Typee sold
TYPEE, A Residence in the Marquesas, By Herman Melville. (a new supply) […]
for sale by
Lansingburgh Gazette. March 26, 1846: 2 col 3.
Lansingburgh Gazette. April 2, 1846: 2 col 5.
March-May 1846 – excerpts from Typee appear in several newspapers
The Steamer Hibernia brings the painful intelligence of the death of GANSEVORT MELVILLE, of this village, Secretary of Legation to the court of St. James. His remains are no on their way to this country on board a packetship that left Liverpool on the 20th of May last. We shall publish a more extended obituary notice next week.
Lansingburgh Democrat. June 6, 1846: 2 col 1.
The intelligence of the death of Mr. MELVILLE, proves alas, to be too well founded! He expired at his lodgings in London, on the 12th of May. His complaint was an enlargement of the heart brought on by excessive application and confinement necessarily devolved upon him in consequence of the continued illness of Mr. McLANE. He was attended during his sickness by several of the most eminent physicians in London: and all that skill and assiduous attention and the kindness of devoted friends,—not the least devoted of whom to the extent of his physical strength was Mr. McLANE—was done to avert a fatal termination. But in vain. He died in the full possession of his faculties and with resignation to the inevitable stroke, coming as it did under circumstances peculiarly trying to all the faculties and sympathies of our nature.
Mr. MELVILLE was well known and deservedly esteemed here. He was a nephew of highly respected townsmen, Judge GANSEVOORT. To his family to sisters and brothers to whom he was tenderly attached and especially to his widowed mother, not less than to his friends he was endeared by high and noble qualities. At the period of his departure on the mission which has proved the fulfilment of his mission in the world, he was a resident of the city of N York, engaged in the practice of the law, associated with a younger and talented brother. […]
DEATH OF GASEVOORT [sic] MELVILLE, ESQ.—We regret to record the death of Gansevoort Melville, the Secretary of the American Legation in London. Mr. Mellville [sic] was thought a great deal of by his family and his friends in this city, where he was well known and much esteemed. He was a young man of great promise and remarkable genius. He possessed high oratorical powers. During the campaign that resulted in the election of Mr. Polk, he travelled hundreds of miles over the country, delivering speeches to the people. He was a young man of elevated sentiment, fine education, and will be deeply regretted by all who knew him. He has left two brothers who are now in this city, one of whom, Herman Melville, is the author of an extraordinary book called “Typee,” giving an account of his adventures in the South Seas, and almost equal in interest to the celebrated Robinson Crusoe.
Lansingburgh Democrat. June 13, 1846: 2 cols 2-3.
Miss Melville, Sister of the late Ganesvoort [sic] Melville, returned home in the steamer Great Western.
Rochester Daily Democrat. June 19, 1846: 2 col 5.
FUNERAL OF THE LATE GANSEVOORT MELVILLE.—The funeral of GANSEVOORT MELVILLE, deceased, late Secretary of Legation in London, we are requested to state, will take place to-morrow afternoon, (Sunday,) at 5 o’clock, from the residence of PETER GANSEVOORT, No. 115 Washington-street, Albany.
Lansingburgh Democrat. June 27, 1846: 2 col 2.
July 1846 – Melville’s having jumped ship at Nuku Hiva corroborated in a Buffalo newspaper by his friend “Toby”
August 1846 – a new edition of Typee with a “sequel” regarding Toby announced
August 31, 1846 – Herman Melville engaged to Elizabeth Knapp Shaw
October 1846-April 1847; Melville was referenced at least twice in the Yankee Doodle humor magazine by name, and the Typee people (if not necessarily the novel) referenced as well. A number of anonymous pieces in it from 1847 have been attributed to him.
“The funny functions of society must be discharged, and it is manifestly more in accordance with the laws of social harmony that certain persons should be set aside to discharge them. We hail with delight the formation of the Yankee Doodle Phalanx, though we regret the assumption of a name so narrow in its indications. Yankee Doodle seems to have very little to do with anything beyond this little spot of earth called America, whereas it should be published as much for the benefit of our brothers the Hottentots, and the inhabitants of Typee, as for our own; the Ism does them as much good as it does anybody. Why is it not printed in the Phonographic character? it would more subserve the interests of universal harmony.
We absolve the responsible Editor of the Bluster and Blunder from the charge of having to do with this paper; he has not sufficient capacity for putting two ideas together to have written a paragraph of it.”
“Opinions of the Press.” Yankee Doodle 1(?). November [?], 1846. 52. [Online scan of this magazine issue is missing the title page with the issue number and date, but it is early in Volume 1 from 1846, probably November, possibly issue number 5 or 6.]
[…] to bid some missionary God-speed to the Indies, or Boraampoolet [Borrampalem, India?] or Typee […]
“Arrival of Mrs. Yankee Doodle at Tammany Hall!” Yankee Doodle 1(?). November [?], 1846. 59. [Online scan of this magazine issue is missing the title page with the issue number and date, but it seems to be in Volume 1 from 1846, probably November, possibly issue number 5 or 6.]
[…] The buildings in which they meet are, I am told, each furnished with a compact little book-case like Harper’s School Library, containing Cœlebs [Coelebs In Search of a Wife and Coelebs Married by Hannah More] and others of Thomas Moore’s writings, pious selections from Mrs. [Lydia Huntley] Sigourney’s works, the sacred poems of Mr. [Nathaniel Parker] Willis, and the latest missionary reports from our brethren who are laboring in the Marquesas and Society Islands. […]
“Letters from Mrs. Yankee Doodle to Her Kinsfolk. No. II.” Yankee Doodle 1(?). December [?], 1846. 72. [Online scan of this magazine issue is missing the title page with the issue number and date, but it is early in Volume 1 from 1846, probably December, possibly issue number 7 or 8.]
March 6, 1847 – Review of Etchings of a Whaling Cruise, by J. Ross Browne. Literary World., http://melvilliana.blogspot.com/2014/09/melvilles-review-of-etchings-of-whaling.html
March 16, 1847 – Herman Melville scheduled to lecture
Schenectady Cabinet: or, Freedom’s Sentinel. January 26, 1847: 3 col 5.
March 30, 1847 – Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas first published (in UK)
IMPORTANT IF TRUE—Mr. HERMAN MELVILLE’S forthcoming work, Omoo.
“Omoo.” Yankee Doodle 2(1). April 10, 1847. 2.
10 April 1847 (a day of book buying in preparation for the composition of his third book Mardi, published in 1849)
Books purchased on April 10, 1847, according to Melvilles Marginalia, included:
• Burton, Robert. Melancholy; as it Proceeds from the Disposition and Habit, the Passion of Love, and the Influence of Religion. Drawn Chiefly from the Celebrated Work Intitled, Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy; and in which the Kinds, Causes, Consequences and Cures of this English Malady “are traced from within Its inmost centre to its outmost skin.” London: T., 1801.
• Jacobs, Thomas Jefferson. Scenes, Incidents, and Adventures in the Pacific Ocean; or The Islands of the Australasian Seas, during the Cruise of the Clipper Margaret Oakley, under Capt. Benj. Morrell NY: Harper, 1844.
• Turnbull, John. A Voyage Round the World, in the Years 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803, and 1804: in which the Author visited Madeira, the Brazils, Cape of Good Hope, the English Settlements of Botany Bay and Norfolk Island; and the Principal Islands in the Pacific Ocean. With a Continuation of Their History to the Present Period. 2nd Ed. London: Maxwell, 1813.
• Webster, Noah. An American Dictionary of the English Language. NY: Harper, 1846 or later edition.
May 1, 1847 – Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas first published (in US)
“OMOO: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas.”—P. BLISS has laid upon our table a very interesting work bearing the above title, in two parts, of about two hundred page each, written by HERMAN MELVILLE, author of “Typee.” This work gives a graphic narrative of the adventures of the author in the South Sea Islands, and it can but interest every class of readers. Those who perused the pages of “Typee,” will, of course, call at the Lansingburgh Bookstore, and procure “Omoo,” without delay; and those who have not enjoyed this highly interesting repast, cannot truly say they have participated in the richest luxuries of the age. Harper & Brothers, Publishers. Price 50cts each part.
Lansingburgh Gazette. May 7, 1847: 2 col 1.
NEW BOOKS.—OMOO: A narrative of adventures in the South Seas, by H. Melville, author of “Typee.” […]
for sale at the Lansingburgh Bookstore by PELATIAH BLISS.
Lansingburgh Gazette. May 7, 1847: 2 col 5.
Lansingburgh Gazette. May 14, 1847: 2 col 5.
YANKEE DOODLE has the pleasure of announcing the receipt of the following papers from the distinguished persons whose names they bear. He regrets that he cannot promise to lay them before his readers, as they were merely submitted to him for his judgment upon their merits. The writers express their perfect consciousness that they could not choose so good a medium for the diffusion of their sentiments as YANKEE DOODLE’S own columns, and are deterred from so doing, only because they fear that it might be supposed that they intended some jest or satire, when the fact is that they are perfectly serious.
Omboog, or three months residence in the Moon. HERMAN MELVILLE
Yankee Doodle 2(31). May 8, 1847. 44.
“Thoughts on Mediocrity.” Such was the commencement of a critique we intend to write on Omoo!
Yankee Doodle 2(46). June 12, 1847. 99.
April 1847-March 1848 – excerpts from Omoo appear in several newspapers, including:
“A Dinner Party at Imeeo.” The Guardian [London, UK] April 10, 1847: 3 col 6.
“A Dinner Party in Imeeo.” National Era [Washington, DC]. July 8, 1847: 1 col 5.
“A Dinner Party at Imeeo.” Arkansas Banner [Little Rock, AR]. August 23, 1847: 1 cols 4-5.
“A Dinner Party in Imeeo.” Racine Advocate [WI]. March 1, 1848: 1 cols 2-4.
11 JUNE 1847
Lansingburgh / June 11th ’47
My Dear Fellow—I have but time to write you a single line—hear that young Storer leaves to day for New York.—Cousin Maria read me [a] good part of your last letter home.® I was much amused with your account of the delightfully according terms upon which you lived with your invalid friend. I have heard many of your letters read—& your descriptions & the names of various localities you mention are quite familiar to me. Preya Grande &c &c. Rio harbor you must certainly confess the most glorious sheet of water in the universe. As a sailor “I can not sufficiently admire it.”
—What think you of tropical climes My Dear Augustus? But you are a little too far South (on the very border indeed of the South Temperate Zone) to feel the full general warmth of the Torrid Zone—I envy you your retreat in the country, tho I must acknowledge that if you had an acquaintance—a countryman—to
accompany you in your excursions you would find [it] still more pleasant. You will no doubt, hail with extreme joy the arrival of a friend from Lansingburgh in the person of the gruff Captain’s son.—Pray write me without fail & beleive me
With earnest prayers for your recovery Very Faithfully
Melville, Herman. The Letters of Herman Melville. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1960. 62-63. [Augustus Platt Van Schaick died later that year. He has a monument in the Van Schaick Family Cemetery on Van Schaick Island, across the Hudson River from Lansingburgh.]
July-September 1847 – short anonymous humor pieces for Yankee Doodle magazine attributed to Herman Melville, not signed by him
ACCORDING TO BLAIR, THE RHETORICIAN.
Text—”One wishy-washy, everlasting flood!”
Firstly, “Introduction or Exordium.” My hearers! allow me to introduce you to Dow Jr. of the Sunday Mercury; Dow Jr.! my hearers! Happy to make you acquainted!
Secondly, “the Division of the Subject.” The subject is divided into two parts. First—”wishy”; Second—”washy.” The “everlasting flood” will not be considered, as it is a consequence of the “wishy-washy!”
Thirdly, “Narration or Explication.”
There was a man—his name was Dow—
Who wrote a sermon rather clever!
‘Twas liked! but vot’s the consekwences now?
He’s going to write the like for ever!
Fourthly, “The Reasoning or Arguments.” A Sandwich Island lad who had been converted by the Missionaries of the A. B. O. C. O. F. M.—(the remainder of the alphabet is omitted, what is given means American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions,)—well! one day when this lad wrote a letter to his patrons, he ended each properly explained, opinional sentence, with the phrase “That idea’s done!” A Sandwich Islander knows but little, but he does know when an idea is used up. But a Manhattan Islander doesn’t know it—at least Dow Jr. doesn’t—therefore it is clear that a native of Owhyhee, (or Hawaii, as it is now-a-days spelt—fonography probably,) is a more clever man than the Manhattanese.
Fifthly, The Pathetic part.
Dow’s congregation always calmly sleeps,
The tedious sermons of their preacher under,
But after all, ’tis not a theme for wonder,
For, if a man such chronic pother keeps,
It is not strange that folks get used to thunder!
Sixthly, The Conclusion. Hence we conclude, with Hudribras, that when
“The pulpit-drum ecclesiastic
Is beat with fist, instead of a stick”—
this, although the public may be a sheep, there will be a time, when even sheepskin is worn out, and can’t bear “rapping on the head” any longer.
Yankee Doodle 2(40). July 10, 1847. 131.
“Authentic Anecdotes of ‘Old Zack.’: Anecdote, No. I and Anecdote, No. II.” Yankee Doodle 2(42). July 24, 1846. 152.
THE NEW PLANET.
I have observed, for several nights past, a strange light in the south western quarter of the sky, inclining to the south. I find it laid down in none of the astronomical charts in my possession nor am I able to fix it in any constellation or group. I recollect observing a similar appearance and pointing it out to Professor MITCHELL of the Cincinnati Observatory on his visit to this city last winter. he could make nothing of it. Perhaps you, who have the range of the sideral, as well as the terrestrial sphere, will be able to help me. Yours respectfully,
Prof. of Astronomy and Celestial Trigonometery,
Columbia College, N. Y.
TO YANKEE DOODLE, Esq.
We have received communications of a similar tenor to the foregoing from several other quarters: among them, one from a distinguished scientific gentleman at Staten Island, who dwells upon the fluctuating and uncertain character of this light, “which,” to use his own expressive language, “seems to be all up one moment and all down the next.” A letter has, also, just come to hand from a farmer, living at Hackensack, New Jersey, who describes a similar light, as flooding the neighborhood where he lives, shining, he says, from the direction of New York city, and bewildering, with its sudden and dazzling glare, the cattle in the fields. He speaks of having lost a fine heifer, engulphed in a morass, by attempting to follow its will-o’-the-wisp shiftings; also of the narrow escape of a neighbor’s son, at Sekokus, who lost his foothold on a bridge, gaping at it. These communications all close with a request that YANKEE DOODLE will enlighten them as to the character of this new planet. In answer, YANKEE DOODLE suggests, it must be THE BARNUM which shines, at about S. S. E. from the City Hall, just over the American Museum. It is unquestionably a most potential planet, and has presided over the birth of a great many wonderful and curious creatures. It was under this star, we think, that Mrs. JOYCE HEATH attained her 104th birth-day and came to be the nurse of General WASHINGTON. This was the natal star also, we believe, of the FeeJee Mermaid. It ruled for a time the destinies of General TOM THUMB, and now culminates powerfully, according to popular belief, in the direction of the Chinese Junk. Its place was first fixed by a Mr. BARNUM, an enterprising citizen of this city, and it appropriately bears his name.
We have observed that every Monday evening, during the session of the City Council, it wheels about, as by some magical influence, and blazes in at the southern window of the Hall, with great power.
We have learned from a subordinate in the Mayor’s office, just arrived, that this course of proceeding on the part of THE BARNUM saves the city about five shillings weekly in candles, and that the City Aldermen regard Mr. BARNUM as a great public benefactor.
Yankee Doodle 2(42). July 24, 1847. 153.
One of its Assistant Editors “Reflects Credit” on the Courier and Enquirer.
YANKEE DOODLE makes no profession of superior morality, but he will at all times endeavor to respect the decencies of life and preserve the proprieties of language. A writer, whose initials (G. W. P.) [George Washington Peck] make him known as one of the assistant editors of the Courier & Enquirer [Morning Courier and New-York Enquirer] newspaper, takes Mr. HERMAN MELVILLE to task, in the last number of the American Review in high parsonical style, for the freedom of his “Omoo.” Mr. P. is not entitled to the throwing of the first stone, and if he had made up his mind to lynch “Omoo,” he should have selected cleaner shot than the following to pelt it with. Are we reading a miscellaneous magazine, for the study and the drawing room, or have we come upon a stray leaf in physiology, bound in among the pages of the “American Review, a Whig Journal,” by mistake?
“It is nothing new to hear conceited men boast of their perfect irresistibleness with the sex. ‘Oh, it is the easiest thing in the world,’ we remember, one of these gentry used to say, a la Mantalini; ‘a woman is naturally cunning, now only you keep cool and you’ll soon see through her; a man must look out for himself, a woman for herself,‘ &c. This very person, as we happened to know, through a confidential medical friend, could no more, at that very time, when his conversation was in this lofty strain, have wronged a woman, than Charteris could have committed the crime for which he was hung. Since then, and confirmed by various other experience, we have always doubted when we hear a man, especially on a short acquaintance, and most especially in a book that goes to the public, pluming himself on his virility—letting it be no secret that he is a ‘very devil among the women.’ Once, at a refectory in —, we were supping with a friend, when, the tables being full, there came a little, long-necked, falling-shouldered, pumpkin-faced young man, and took the end of ours. We exchanged a few words, and presently he dashed, without previous preparation, into a full confession of what he styled his ‘peculiar weakness,’ in which, if we were to believe him, he let out enough to show that he might have out-bidden the Satyrs, in Spenser, for the favors of Helena. Our friend, who has command of visage, drew him on till he could not help smiling at his own lies. We made inquiry, and learned afterwards that he was a sheriff’s clerk, or some such sort of thing, and that his name was Joseph.”
Yankee Doodle 2(42). July 24, 1847. 160.
“Authentic Anecdotes of ‘Old Zack.’: Anecdote, No. III.” Yankee Doodle 2(43). July 31, 1847. 167.
“View of the Barnum Property.” Yankee Doodle 2(43). July 31, 1847. 168.
August 4, 1847 – Melville and Shaw married; family moves to New York City
“Authentic Anecdotes of ‘Old Zack.’: ‘Gen. Taylor’s Personal Appearance,’ or Old Zach Physiologically and Otherwise Considered.” Yankee Doodle 2(44). August 7, 1847. 172.
“Authentic Anecdotes of ‘Old Zack.’: Anecdote IV.” Yankee Doodle 2(45). August 14, 1847. 188.
“Authentic Anecdotes of ‘Old Zack.’: Anecdote V and Anecdote VI.” Yankee Doodle 2(46). August 21, 1847. 199.
“Authentic Anecdotes of ‘Old Zack.’: Anecdote VII and Anecdote VIII.” Yankee Doodle 2(47). August 28, 1847. 202.
“Authentic Anecdotes of ‘Old Zack.’: Anecdote IX.” Yankee Doodle 2(49). September 11, 1847. 229.
The northern papers announce the marriage of Mr. Herman Melville, author of “Typee” and “Omoo,” to a daughter of Chief Justice Shaw, of Massachusetts. What will Fahoway say to this?
Arkansas Banner [Little Rock, AR]. September 13, 1847: 2 col 2.
We are happy to announce on behalf of the Postmaster General, that a reward of One thousand Dollars will be paid to any person who will procure him a private interview with the Sea-serpent, of Nahant notoriety. Mr. JOHNSON is convinced that an economical arrangement can be made with the Serpent, for the transmission of the European Mails from Boston to Halifax. He is the more anxious to effect this, from the universal satisfaction expressed at the advantageous conclusion of his negociation for the carriage of the mails between New York and Boston. The personage known to fame and to the Commercial Advertiser, as “the man who carries the long hose at fires” is supposed to be acquainted with the whereabouts of the Serpent, and his friends will confer a favor on the Department by calling his attention to this notice.
N. B.—A smart jockey of about twenty stone weight, wanted to superintend this line. One who can loan his employer between three and four thousand dollars without interest, to pay the balance of a Mr. VANDERBILT’S account, may hear of a permanent situation with a liberal salary. It is suggested, as no passenger will be carried by this line, and consequently no danger can result from explosions, that those who have had practice as engineers of steamboats and rail trains, will find it useless to apply for this situation.
Yankee Doodle 2(49). September 11, 1847. 223. [Generally called “On the Sea Serpent” in books on Melville]
Lansingburgh Democrat. August 9, 1849: 2 col 3. [“late” here in the sense of no longer resident]
Of the Library of School District Number One, Lansingburgh, N. Y. […]
Mardi; A Voyage Thither. […]
Lansingburgh Gazette. October 19 1849: 2, 3.
Herman Melville’s sister Helen Melville Griggs (1817-1888) is known to have visited Lansingburgh in late 1850, and possibly other family members may have at other times.
HONOLULU, OAHU, Sandwich Is. Dec. 10, 1849. […]
As for any description of these Islands, it would be useless to attempt it, as they have been so often described by more fluent pens, instance, Typee and Omoo. All that Melville ever told about the missionaries in this part of the world, you may take for gospel.
Speaking of Melville, I was conversing with a gentleman the other day about “Type and Omoo” [sic] when he stated that he was well acquainted with their author, and knew him at a time when he was setting up pins in a ball alley. I think no mention is made of such a circumstance in either of those works. […]
I am your affectionate son,
H. R. HAWKINS.
To Capt. E. Hawkins, Jr
Lansingburgh Gazette. October 19, 1850: 2 cols 5-6.
Omoo. Melville. Waverly […]
Redburn. Melville. Select Novels. […]
Typee. Melville. […]
White Jacket. Melville.
Melville Herman, Moby-Dick or the Whale, [Vol.] 1 [Size] 12 [listed twice] […]
Piere, or the Ambiguities, by H. Melville, [Vol.] 1 [Size] 12
Catalogue of the Library of the Troy Young Men’s Association, 1850, Together with a Supplementary Catalogue,and a further List of Books added to the Library, down to February 20, 1852. Troy, NY: Troy Daily Whig Print, 1853. 47, 48, 83, 85, 90.
MELVILLE, H. Confidence-man: his masquerade. New York, 1857. 12*. 29.4
— Israel Potter. New York, 1855. 12* 26.5
— Omoo. 3d ed. New York, 1847. 12* 2 cop. 26.2.
Pierre; or the ambiguities. New York, 1852. 12* 29.4
Redburn: his first voyage. New York, 1849. 12* 29.4
The piazza tales. New York, 1856. 12* 29.4
— Typee. New York, 1849. 12* 26.2
— White-Jacket; or the world in a man of war. New York, 1850. 12* 29.4
Catalogue of the Library of the Troy Young Men’s Association. Troy, NY: Troy Young Men’s Association, 1859. 132.
Summer Speculation in New York—Mines in New England—Sectional Interviews.
Special Correspondence of the Enquirer.
SARATOGA, June 30, 1879.
I suppose people are most of all engaged in money-making this summer. […]
I asked General Chester A. Arthur, late Collector of the Port of New York, whom the Republicans would have to support for Governor. He said there were plenty of good men and a fair field this year. Speaking of some who had lately behaved very well, Mr. Arthur said:
“The shark is only an angel well governed.” Not being quite understood, he added:
“Did you ever hear of Herman Melville, one of our novelists? He wrote ‘Typee.’ When I went into the Custom-house first, as an associate officer, I saw a list of men doomed to be decapitated. Among them was the name ‘Herman Melville.’ It struck me as singular, and I inquired whether he was any relation of the author. They told me he was the same man. I had read ‘Typee’ and ‘Omoo’ and ‘Moby Dick’ with a good deal of interest, and I said: “It is certainly a shame to turn out a man like that from a mere clerkship.” I had him saved. Then when I became Collector of the Port I kept him in my eye and protection again, though I never spoke to him. It was Melville, in his novel of ‘Moby Dick,’ who depicted a sermon by a negro who told of an escape from a shark, and after describing the shark in horrible language as a monster of iniquity and vice, he ended by saying: ‘But, my breddren, we mustn’t tink we is much better dan de shark. De angels is only sharks well governed.’”
Herman Melville is said to be still in the Custom-house, aged 60 years. He was born in New York city and brought up near Troy, when he concluded to go to sea. He deserted in the Marquesas Islands, and was directed by the savages and went from group to group of the islands until in 1843 he shipped about one of our frigates and came home. He published ‘Typee’ in 1846. The next year he married a daughter of Chief Justice Shaw, and then went into tale-writing as a business in Massachusetts. As late as 1860 he went around the world again. After such a life of adventure and literary prominence, it is strange to see Melville doomed by politicians to lose his clerkship, and only saved by the youthful remembrance of General Arthur. […]
GATH [George Alfred Townsend].
Cincinnati Enquirer. July 4, 1879: 5 cols 1-2.
“A Forgotten Author.” Indianapolis News. July 5, 1879: 2 col 3.
“A Forgotten Author.” Chicago Daily News. July 16, 1879: 4 col 3.
“A Novelist in the Custom House.” Evening Bulletin [San Francisco, CA]. July 17, 1879: 3 col 8.
“A Forgotten Author.” Greensburg Standard [IN]. August 22, 1879: 2 col 6.
“A Forgotten Author.” National Democrat [Jeffersonville, IN]. August 22, 1879: 7 col 4.
[“Gath” would mention Arthur, Melville, and the Custom House in at least two future columns; other newspapers would then reprint or reference several of those items. See Chester A. Arthur regarding Melville and the New York Custom House]
MELVILLE, H. Typee; a Peep at Polynesia Life. 12mo. New York, 1846.
Catalogue of the Library of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N. Y. Troy: 1880. 58.
between 1860-1867 – Herman Melville given an inscribed whale’s tooth, regifts it to a New York artist later of Albany
In his 1973 essay Leyda cited me as one of those who had reduced his “sins of omissions”: “Completely unforeseen things turned up: it was Hershel Parker who saw the 1860/1867 whale’s tooth on the shelves of the New York Historical Society–and now we should be looking for Captain Worth and E. S. Doolittle.” As an inducement to research, Leyda had printed in the 1969 Supplement a full-page photograph of the tooth as inscribed to Melville by Captain Worth and by Melville to Doolittle. On 4 July 2006, after Google and other Internet tools were available, Scott Norsworthy (a non-academic, despite his PhD in literature) informed me that the recipient was the Albany artist Edwin Stafford Doolittle (1843-1879), who in 1867 had a studio in New York City. He was one of who knows how many artists Melville knew personally. Then in February 2010 while I was looking for something else in the free fultonhistory.com database I found a 1 June 1887 article by S. S. Stafford, Doolittle’s heir (a nephew?), written for the Albany Journal, headed: “A SPERM WHALE’S CAPTURE / THE LIVES OF THREE MEN AND SIX HOURS’ WORK REQUIRED.” Stafford began: “Lying on my desk and used as a paper weight is the tooth of a “Cachelot” or sperm whale,” a “mass of solid ivory, nine inches long by three wide and weighing 33 ounces.” Then he told a thrilling story which Captain Worth, a son-in-law of Owen Chase, must have told Melville in person. It’s hard to know whether to be more pleased at having Doolittle and Worth identified or more chagrined at our taking so long to identify them. And when did Worth meet Melville? During the months he was home from December 1861 to October 1862, during which Melville was for some months at one or another rented lodging in Manhattan? Such question will not be answered by contributors to academic journals like American Literature, those critics still satisfied, even now, that all they need to know about Melville is in the vaunted pre-1994 “full-scale biographies.” Such critics are not driven by love of Melville.
Parker, Hershel. “Rough Draft of the Introduction to The New Melville Log.” Fragments from a Writing Desk. February 3, 2011. http://fragmentsfromawritingdesk.blogspot.com/2011/02/rough-draft-of-introduction-to-new.html
OBJECT NUMBER: 1949.19
MEDIUM: Ivory, ink
DIMENSIONS: Overall: 2 3/4 x 9 1/4 x 1 3/4 in. ( 7 x 23.5 x 4.4 cm )
MARKS: inscribed: “Ship Swift New Bedford/ Capt. Worth/ 30 months out on the Line June 17, 1860/ This day took an 80 barrel Sperm whale from whose jaw this tooth was taken/ Presented to Herman Melville/ author of Typee & Omoo & by him to E.S. Doolittle Jan 1867-
DESCRIPTION: Scrimshawed sperm whale tooth. One side is inscribed in ink “S.S. Stafford”. The other side is inscribed in ink: “Ship Swift New Bedford/Capt Worth/30 months out “On the Line” June 17 1860/This day took an 80 barrel “Sperm Whale” from whose jaw this tooth was taken/Presented by Capt Worth to Herman Melville/author of Typee & Omoo & by him to E.S. Doolittle Jan 1867″.
GALLERY LABEL: In addition to the noted author Herman Melville, the individuals cited in the inscriptions on this tooth include Albany artist Edwin Stafford Doolittle (1843-1879) and his uncle Samuel Spencer Stafford (1825-1895). In 1887, S.S. Stafford published an article about the whale’s tooth in the “Albany Journal,” stating that it was then in his possession (June 1, 1887). The donor, Louise Stafford Gilder (1890-1982), was Samuel Stafford’s granddaughter.
CREDIT LINE: Gift of Miss Louise Gilder
A True Story of the Pacific—A Captain Who Hunted and Finally Captured a Whale Roving the Seas Bristling with Harpoons, Trophies of Former Fights—A Strange Tale of the Sea.
Lying on my desk and used as a paper weight is the tooth of a “Cachelot” or sperm whale. This mass of solid ivory, nine inches long by three wide and weighing 83 ounches, was one of 42 teeth that “aided in the mighty sea Leviathan to live.” On its surface is written the following: “Shift Swift of New Bedford, Capt. Worth. Out 30 months. June 17, 1860, ‘On the Line,’ Pacific Ocean. This day captured an 80-barrel sperm whale from whose jaw this tooth was taken. Presented by Capt. Worth to Herman Melville, author of ‘Typee and Omoo,’ and by him given to Ed. Stafford Doolittle of Albany, N. Y.” This tooth has a history which was told me by a participant in the capture of the monster who was killed after a protracted and bloody fight of six hours during which the lives of three men were sacrificed and two whale boats destroyed. […]
S. S. STAFFORD.
Albany Journal. June 1, 1887: 5 col 1.
Herman Melville, the original of all romancers of the south seas,—none of whom Loti, Stevenson, Becke, each in his several fashion, have equaled him,—is to have a biography at last. He was emphatically a man; and his writings are of a merit so extraordinary that it seems amazing that little stories, without a bit of life or character in them, can be sold by hundred thousand, while “Typee,” “Omoo,” and the great “Moby Dick” are passed by when some editor and publisher undertakes to present them once more to the public. Any one who has material in the shape of letters or reminiscences is asked to lend the letters or write out the reminiscences, for Miss Elizabeth Melville, the Florence, Fourth avenue and Eighteenth street, New York city.
“Note and Comment.” Springfield Republican [MA]. November 19, 1906: 6 cols 4-5.
Elizabeth Melville, the daughter of Herman Melville, is preparing a biography of her father, and asks for the use of letters and reminiscences. As the friend of Hawthorne, and the best of the South sea romancers, Melville deserves such a memorial as his daughter contemplates.”
“Week-End Book Notes.” Boston Herald. December 22, 1906: 8.
The family of the American novelist Herman Melville are collecting materials for a biography of their distinguished relative, and invite assistance from all who possess letters or other documents bearing on the subject. It is quite time, that Melville’s life was written, since his fame is steadily growing among readers who would probably be glad to learn the details of his life. It is fifteen years since Melville died, fifty-five since he published his remarkable story of “The Whale,” better known under its later title of “Moby Dick.”
Yet we still have to acquire such knowledge of his personality as is possible from meager articles in encyclopedias, and a general idea that much of his autobiography is worked into his books. “Typee” and “Omoo” were, indeed, more or less professedly a narrative of the author’s adventures among the romantic islands of Vivien,—which Stevenson was the first to make really popular with English readers. They are still not so well-known as they might be, though few who have fallen under their spell will refuse to join in Stevenson’s enthusiastic criticism that their author was a howling “cheese.” In “White Jacket” and “Moby Dick” Melville did for the sea what in the earlier books he had done for the South Sea Islands.
Mr. Louis Becke has well described the innate fascination of his work:—“He was of the sea; he loved it. Its hardships, its miseries, its starvation, its brutalities, and the grossness and the wickedness that everywhere surrounded him in his wanderings through the two Pacifics held but little place in the mind of a man who, ragged and unkempt, as was too often his condition, had a soul as deep and wide and pure as the ocean itself, a soul that for ever lifted him up above all mean and squalid things.”
So he stands in our literature among that little band of writers, from Marryat and Michael Scott to Mr. Joseph Conrad, who have written of the sea with the inspiration that is born of love and knowledge.—“Manchester Guardian.”
Daily News [Perth, Australia]. January 12, 1907: 12. [From The Guardian. December 1, 1906: 7.]
The family of the late Herman Melville, author of “Typee,” “The Whale,” &c., are collecting materials for a memoir, and would be grateful if any persons having letters by him would send them to Miss Elizabeth Melville, “The Florence,” Fourth avenue and Eighteenth street, New York. Such letters will be promptly copied and returned.
“Gossip About Books, Authors and Publishers.” New York Herald. December 8, 1906: 15 col 5.
In an article about the forthcoming biography of Herman Melville by his daughter, Elizabeth Melville, he is spoken of as the “best of the South Sea romancers.” What about Stevenson, Pierre Loti and our own Charles Warren Stoddard?
“Gossip of Books and People Who Make Them.” San Francisco Call Bulletin. January 27, 1907: 14 col 7.
Haraszti, Zoltán. “Melville Defends Typee.” More Books: The Bulletin of the Boston Public Library 22(6). June 1947. 203-208. https://archive.org/stream/morebooks1947bost#page/202/mode/2up/search/melville
“Melville Trail.” Berkshire Historical Society. http://berkshirehistory.org/herman-melville-arrowhead/melville-trail/
“Herman Melville’s New Bedford” [walking tour]. National Park Service. https://www.nps.gov/nebe/planyourvisit/upload/melville_nb.pdf
“Massachusetts Whale Trail” [“nearly 40 museums, attractions, whale watching excursions, historic sites, and tours dedicated to our special connection with these beloved creatures of the deep”]. Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. https://www.massvacation.com/whale-trail/