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 Herman Melville

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Herman Melville

  • Birth 1 Aug 1819 New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
  • Death 28 Sep 1891 New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
  • Burial Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
  • Plot Catalpa Plot, Section 23
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  • Memorial ID 705

Author. Born one of eight children to Maria Gansevoort and Allan Melvill, an importer of French dry goods, in New York City. He and his brothers attended the New York Male School which was considered a step above a common education. In 1830, the family moved to Albany, New York, where his father went into the fur business, a venture that ended in disaster. Mental collapse and illness lead to his father's early death, leaving the family in poverty. At twelve, he was forced to leave Albany Academy, and take a job as a bank clerk. In 1839, Melville shipped out as a cabin boy on the whaler 'Achushnet.' He lived briefly among the Typee tribe in the Marquesas Islands. In his mid-20's, he returned home, and wrote of his journeys. His early novels of South Seas adventures were quite popular; and by age thirty, he had published five books in five years. His sixth book was a departure from his earlier style, and 'Moby Dick' ran counter to the mood of the times. It sold only about 3,000 copies during his lifetime. In 1847, Melville married Elisabeth Shaw, daughter of the chief justice of Massachusetts. After unsuccessful lecture tours from 1857 to 1860, he lived in Washington, D.C. for the first two years of the Civil War. He moved back to New York in 1863, where he was appointed customs inspector on the New York docks, work that secured him a regular income, necessary with his plummeting popularity as a writer. When he succumbed to heart failure at age 72, a few respectful obituaries were printed, but his fame had passed. His unfinished work, 'Billy Budd,' remained unpublished until 1924. His career had spanned fewer than 20 full length books. In the late 1940s, the formation of a Melville society resurrected his work, and assured that for the next two decades Melville and his writing attracted more research and scholarship than any other American author.

Bio by: Iola

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 705
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Herman Melville (1 Aug 1819–28 Sep 1891), Find A Grave Memorial no. 705, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .