Discovering Melville in Gansevoort, New York

By Daniel T. Weaver

Note: This is the last of a series of articles celebrating the 200th birthday of New York State writer, Herman Melville.

When I started my used and antiquarian business, the Book Hound, in 1993, one of the first upstate New York booksellers I heard about was John DeMarco in Saratoga Springs. I got to know DeMarco a little as he purchased a number of beautifully bound sets of books I had for his clientele, many of which were part of the carriage trade. DeMarco established Lyrical Ballads on Phila Street in 1971 and quickly established himself as one of the top booksellers north of New York City. What clinched his reputation as a top bookseller was his involvement in 1983 in the discovery and sale of 30 pages of the first draft of Herman Melville’s Typee in Melville’s handwriting, a few pages of The Confidence Man and more than 400 letters to and from Melville. Continue reading “Discovering Melville in Gansevoort, New York”

Herman Melville & the White Whale That Swam to Albany (History, Literature)

By Daniel T. Weaver

Herman Melville, one of New York State’s greatest authors whose 200th birthday we are celebrating this year, had multiple sources to draw from for his greatest work, Moby Dick. One was the sinking of the Essex, a whaling ship, by a whale. Another source was an aggressive white whale known as Mocha Dick. A third inspiration for his novel may have been the story of a white whale that swam up the Hudson to Fort Orange, now the city of Albany, New York. Continue reading “Herman Melville & the White Whale That Swam to Albany (History, Literature)”

Herman Melville in Schenectady (History)

by Neil Yetwin

The name of Herman Melville continues to retain the power to evoke images of New England whalers plying the South Seas, of desperate mutinies aboard British naval vessels, and of the epic pursuit of an elusive white whale. Yet Melville’s life prior to his attaining an honored place in American letters was anything but adventurous, marked as it was more by personal loss and financial instability than by any literary success. It was during those uncertain early years that the future author of Moby Dick and his lesser-known elder brother Gansevoort both had brief associations with the city of Schenectady. Continue reading “Herman Melville in Schenectady (History)”

Rip van Winkle from Mohawk Valley some Say (History)

Washington Irving’s famous story, “Rip Van Winkle,” about a fictional man who returns to his village after mysteriously disappearing for twenty years, takes place in the Catskill Mountains along the Hudson Valley. Some people theorize, however, that in real life the story might have been influenced by a man from the Mohawk Valley—Petrus (Peter) Groot of Cranesville, about 25 miles west of Albany. Continue reading “Rip van Winkle from Mohawk Valley some Say (History)”

Powered by

Up ↑