Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle (eds), The Writings of Herman Melville: The Northwestern-Newberry Edition, Vol. 6: Moby-Dick: or The Whale

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pg 1021The Jones Copy of Moby-Dick and the Harper Whale Title Page

On november 15, 1974, an exhibition opened in the Rare Book Room of the University of Illinois Library at Urbana displaying books and manuscripts from the collection of Samuel Arthur Jones.1 On view, in addition to materials relating to Jones's medical career and some of his own publications, were several early medical books, first editions by Addison, Goldsmith, Hawthorne, Melville, Emerson, and Holmes, some manuscripts by the latter two, and a number of significant letters to or from Jones. This material had not been seen publicly before and indeed was on loan to the library from the estate of Frida Haller Jones, daughter-in-law of Samuel Arthur Jones. Part of the collection was at that time temporarily housed in the library, but a substantial part remained in the Jones house in Urbana, where it had been for over half a century. The exhibition contained two Melville items, the first American editions pg 1022of White-Jacket and Moby-Dick, each rebound in half-calf bindings (the latter bound in two volumes). There was nothing in the exhibition captions or the accompanying printed catalogue to suggest that these copies were out of the ordinary,2 and in fact one might have assumed that, being rebound, they were of less than average interest. Upon examination, however, the Moby-Dick proves to be a significant copy for two reasons.

The most important special feature of this copy is a printed piece of paper stuck to the recto of the third of three binder's leaves at the front of the first volume. (See fig. 1.) In the upper part of this piece of paper (beginning 31 mm from the top) appears the title "THE WHALE.", rather unattractively laid out with type measuring 2 mm in the first line and large heavy letters measuring 19 mm in the second, 10 mm below (and with part of the spacing material before and after the final "E" having worked up and printed). At the foot of the page, 83 mm below this title, is a publisher's imprint: "NEW YORK: / HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS. / LONDON: RICHARD BENTLEY. / [rule, 51/3 mm] / 1851." The piece of paper thus printed appears to have been a scrap, for the blind impressions of seven other lines of type are visible on it: above the title there is one line, and below the title there are three lines, a wavy rule, and three more lines, but all these lines of type are merely rows of letters that do not form any words. Someone has apparently trimmed this piece of paper, rather unevenly, to make it fit the leaf it is now mounted on; at present it measures 168–70 x 106–7 mm and allows a border of 1–3 mm of the binder's leaf to show at the edges. It also seems to have been folded in half (across the longer dimension) sometime before it was pasted in this volume.

pg 1023

Fig. 1. "Trial" title page pasted into Samuel Arthur Jones's copy of Moby-Dick. By permission of the University of Illinois Library, Urbana-Champaign.

Fig. 1. "Trial" title page pasted into Samuel Arthur Jones's copy of Moby-Dick. By permission of the University of Illinois Library, Urbana-Champaign.

pg 1024The chief point of interest in the document is the fact that it combines in printed form the English title of the book, The Whale, with the American publisher's imprint. The combination is not in itself startling, for it is well established that The Whale was the original title of the book and that the change to Moby-Dick came after the American proof sheets had been sent to the English publisher and after the Harpers had accepted the book for American publication. Melville had the book set in type in New York by Robert Craighead in the summer of 1851, before arrangements for American publication had been made, and proofs were dispatched to Bentley in London on September 10. Two days later a contract with the Harpers was signed, referring to the book as "The Whale"; and in the October, 1851, number of Harper's New Monthly Magazine an excerpt from the book ("The Town-Ho's Story") was credited to " 'The Whale.' The title of a new work by Mr. Melville, in the press of Harper and Brothers, and now publishing in London by Mr. Bentley." Although this excerpt was probably planned for inclusion even before the signing of the contract for the book, since the latest news contained in the October number appears to be September 14, just two days after the date of the contract, one would expect references to Harper books in this magazine to be up-to-date; thus the title was apparently not changed before about mid-September. Exactly when the change was made is unknown, because the letter that Melville's brother Allan sent to Bentley informing him of the change is known only from an undated draft. Allan reports, "It is thought here that the new title will be a better selling title" (perhaps it was suggested by the Harpers); and he hopes that his letter will reach Bentley "before it is too late" to adopt the change ("I will add that the earliest opportunity has been taken to acquaint you with this change the proof was only recd by me yesterday").3 Even if Allan had sent this letter in mid-September, it would not have reached Bentley until early October, when some of Bentley's advertisements for "The Whale" were already appearing; and if it arrived much later, production would have been far enough advanced to make an alteration in three title pages and three opening text pages impractical, for Bentley's edition was published on October 18. At any rate, the change was not made in the English edition, pg 1025and only the American edition (published probably on November 14) finally carried the revised title.4

Anyone acquainted with these facts, therefore, would not be surprised by a document combining the original title and the American imprint. What is important about the piece in the Jones Moby-Dick, aside from its corroboration of previously known information, is its indication that "The Whale" was retained as the title long enough for the Harpers to use it in what appears to be a "trial' title page. It does not otherwise help to date the change in title; and it can itself be dated, by reference to what was already known, only as falling somewhere between September 12 (or a few days thereafter) and October 15 (when a title page with the "Moby-Dick" title was deposited for copyright)5—though the change in title must certainly have taken place nearer the former date, for Allan could not otherwise have expected his letter announcing the change to reach London in time for it to be made. Whether this printed piece of paper is in fact a "trial" title page cannot at present be definitely stated. If it was intended as an experiment with the layout of the title page, the absence of Melville's name is peculiar.6 Or if it was intended to serve simply as a covering sheet for the proofs, the omission of Melville's name is equally strange, when a full imprint, not necessary for that purpose, was included. The document is a puzzling one and its function not clear, but it certainly resembles a title page and can perhaps best be thought of (unless better information becomes available) as a "trial" title page—maybe one of several proofs that were pulled to check on spacing, some of the others presumably containing Melville's name. Its imprint is identical in wording and punctuation to the one in the published volume, but the spacing and the type sizes differ, and it in-pg 1026cludes a rule, above the date, not present in the published form. (See fig. 2.) The typography of this imprint, judged in the light of other mid-century Harper imprints, does nothing to arouse one's suspicions that this "trial" title page is not genuine. However peculiar it appears to be, there would seem to be no reason not to accept it, at least provisionally, as a surviving piece of the Harpers' pre-publication material for Moby-Dick.

Some support for its authenticity comes from a study of the history of the copy: indeed, the provenance of this copy is the second reason for its significance. The two-volume binding of Jones's Moby-Dick—an undistinguished nineteenth-century half-leather binding, with nonpareil marbled paper on the sides and dark red labels lettered in gold on the backstrips—is identical with the bindings on several other Melville volumes in his collection. The Typee volume (a copy of the Harper 1849 impression) contains, on the recto of the first of three binder's leaves at the front, the signature of Melville's brother Allan, a small clipping from a dealer's catalogue, and the notation in Jones's hand, "H. Melvilles own copies. / Sam'l A. Jones". (See fig. 3.) The excerpt from the catalogue lists the American editions of seven Melville titles, all described as in "half calf": Mardi in two volumes at $4, Moby-Dick in two volumes at $3.50, and Omoo (with the 1850 title page), Pierre, Redburn, Typee (the 1849 impression), and White-Jacket at $2 each. Following the entry for Pierre occurs an arresting statement: "All of the books of Melville that I offer came from the library of the author." There would seem to be no doubt that Jones's copies of Typee, the 1850 Omoo, White-Jacket, and Moby-Dick are the ones described in this clipping and little doubt that Jones was the one who, after purchasing them, pasted the catalogue entries into the Typee volume. It was Jones's custom, observable in other volumes, to paste catalogue entries into the copies they referred to, after he had been successful in purchasing those copies. Furthermore, his copies of these Melville titles are in half-calf, as specified in the catalogue, and those that are not first impressions—the 1849 Typee and the 1850 Omoo—correspond to the dates cited in the catalogue. And his note under the clipping refers to "H. Melvilles own copies", the plural indicating that he was thinking of other volumes in addition to the Typee in which he was writing. The conclusion seems inescapable that these half-calf volumes now at Illinois were

pg 1027

Fig. 2. Title page of the American edition of Moby-Dick as published. By permission of The Newberry Library.

Fig. 2. Title page of the American edition of Moby-Dick as published. By permission of The Newberry Library.

pg 1028

Fig. 3. Inscriptions and clipping in Samuel Arthur Jones's copy of Typee. By permission of the University of Illinois Library, Urbana-Champaign.

Fig. 3. Inscriptions and clipping in Samuel Arthur Jones's copy of Typee. By permission of the University of Illinois Library, Urbana-Champaign.

pg 1029purchased as a group by Jones from a dealer billing them as Melville's own copies.

The name of the dealer and the date of the catalogue do not appear on the face of the clipping. But its reverse, visible by holding the leaf to the light, fortunately proves to be part of the front of the catalogue and exhibits the large letters "LARK" and the address "34 Park Row"—enabling one to turn to the New York directories and identify the dealer as Anna S. Clark, who operated a bookshop at 34 Park Row in the 1880's and early 1890's, before moving to 174 Fulton Street in 1895.7 The American Antiquarian Society has an excellent run of forty-three A. S. Clark catalogues, including the one with the seven Melville titles, which turns out to be No. 43, dated 1896. (The reason the clipping shows the pre-1895 address is that beneath the Fulton Street address on the front of the catalogue is the statement "For Fourteen Years at 34 Park Row.") Anna Clark, it seems, had a special interest in Melville, for his books turn up in her catalogues much more frequently than one would expect at this time (when his public reputation was at one of its low points), and she occasionally goes out of her way to comment on them. She was acquainted with his writings before she catalogued the lot purportedly from his library, because in No. 32 (ca. 1891) she appends to her entry for Pierre the statement, "I think this author wrote no better book" (p. 18). Later (in No. 54, dated 1902) she labels Pierre "The story of his own life", and (in No. 55) she adds to an entry for Typee, "Thoreau said 'Melville could more readily turn his hand to all forms of writing than any other person he ever saw' "—a sentiment that reappears (sometimes attributed to Hawthorne) in different forms in other catalogues pg 1030(e.g., Nos. 58, 62). Comments of this sort are not common in her catalogues; she may have been characteristic of her time in entering Melville under "Adventure," whereas Hawthorne rated listings under "First Editions,"8 but she clearly took a particular interest in Melville.

Her catalogue No. 43 appeared only a few years after Jones's interest in Melville had been aroused by Henry S. Salt, an enthusiastic English champion of Melville's work, with whom Jones had carried on an extensive correspondence about Thoreau.9 Four years after the catalogue, on January 7, 1900, Jones recalled his Melville collecting in a fascinating letter to Professor Archibald MacMechan of Dalhousie University:10

Curiously, enough, I learned of Melville from Mr. Salt, Thoreau's best biographer. Just then Arthur Stedman was editing Typee, Omoo, White Jacket, and Moby Dick. These I got and read seriatim, and I too pg 1031felt as if a new planet had swam into my ken. Of course, when I got the chance to buy the very copies of these books that Melville himself had owned, I went in for them bald-headed, as Lowell has it. Melville is very dear to me—some forty odd dollars worth!

Stedman's editions of Melville's books were published by the United States Book Company in 1892; thus Jones's initial acquaintance with Melville's work came within the four years preceding the Clark catalogue. It is easy to believe that Jones's purchases of Melville had cost more than forty dollars by 1900: the seven items in the Clark catalogue come to $17.50 (his letter leaves no doubt that he ordered all of them, though only four are now present among his books), and the four volumes of Stedman's edition would account for another $6 (if he bought the cloth copies at $1.50) or $12 (if he bought the half-calf copies at $3); in addition, he may have purchased the 1893 Murray impressions of Typee and Omoo because of the memoir by Salt that they contained, and he would have had the opportunity to buy from Anna Clark's catalogues of the 1890's—not to mention other sources—most Melville first printings at prices ranging from $1.50 to $3.

If Jones did not read Melville's work until after Melville's death, he had actually encountered Melville in person, without knowing it, during his earlier years of bookhunting in New York. In the same 1900 letter to MacMechan, he describes his discovery that Melville was one of the men he had seen in a bookshop years before:

Imagine my astonishment when, on looking at Melville's portrait in the 1892 edition of Typee, I recognized a man whom I had met and whom I could easily have known by asking the bookseller in whose shop I met Melville to introduce me. Alas, I knew nothing of Melville as an author then nor as a man, so my bookselling friend is not to blame.

Whereas MacMechan in his 1899 article on Moby-Dick (see note 10) had described Melville from the portrait as showing "great but undisciplined strength," Jones's recollections lead him to a different conclusion.11 "I am sure," he says, "you misinterpret his character and disposition":

pg 1032In the flesh he did not show either strength or determination; on the contrary, he was the quietest, meekest, modestest, retiringingest [sic] man you can imagine. He moved from shelf to shelf so quietly—I never saw him speak to anyone—and his air was that of shrinking timidity: by no stretch of the imagination would one have thought him an author of any repute.

The time of this meeting can be roughly established by what Jones goes on to say:

At this time Melville had a berth in the Custom House, and it was after hours that both he and Richard Grant White would drop in at Luyster Brothers' bookshop before going to their up-town homes. There did not appear to be any intimacy between Melville and White; at least I never saw then [i.e., them] conversing.

Richard Grant White (1821–85), a prominent New York critic and Shakespearean editor,12 became Chief Clerk of the Marine Revenue Bureau of the New York Custom House in 1861; five years later, on December 5, 1866, Melville assumed the position of Inspector at the Custom House. The terminus a quo can be moved somewhat later, however, by Jones's reference to "up-town homes," for before 1870 White's residence was on Long Island.13 And although White remained in the Custom House until 1878 and Melville until 1885, the terminus ante quem would probably be 1875, when Jones moved to Michigan; Jones could of course have traveled to New York and made occasional visits to New York bookshops after that time, but the description in his letter suggests habitual activity (Melville and White "would drop in," and Jones "never" saw them conversing). It was probably during the early 1870's, then, that Jones encountered Melville.14

At this time the bookshop of Albert L. and Samuel B. Luyster was pg 1033located at 138 Fulton Street, just down the street from where Anna Clark's shop was to be twenty years later. Melville is known to have frequented the New York bookshops, but the other recollections of such occasions refer to later years. A columnist in the Literary World for November 28, 1885, mentions seeing Melville in a bookstore "the other day";15 and the firm of Francis P. & Lathrop C. Harper, founded a few years earlier, was a place where Melville "used to drop in, look over the books, and occasionally buy an unimportant title for which he paid cash without leaving his name." Like Jones, Lathrop Harper observed16 that Melville "was a very quiet man and seldom if ever entered into conversation. If he talked at all it was never about his own writing, or about authors or literature at all." During the last year of his life, Melville frequently visited the shop of John Anderson, Jr.; Oscar Wegelin, who worked in the shop at the time, recalls the afternoon in the autumn of 1890 when Melville and Anderson had a conversation about "the sea and sailors," which marked the beginning of "a brief but pleasant friendship between the pair" (Anderson even visited the Melvilles at home). Melville's attraction to browsing in bookstores is confirmed by Wegelin, who recalls, "There was a report current in the booktrade at the time that he spent more of his slender income on books than his family liked."17 Anderson's shop when Melville went to it was at 99 Nassau Street, near the place where the Luyster Brothers had moved in 1880 (98 Nassau). A. S. Clark's shop at 34 Park Row was about two blocks from there and would scarcely have been out of the way on a walk between Melville's house at 104 East Twenty-sixth Street and the Nassau Street shops. In his bookstore-browsing in this neighborhood, Melville may well have visited the Clark shop, perhaps becoming acquainted with its proprietor, as he did with Anderson. Conceivably Anna Clark's interest in Melville, reflected in her cata-pg 1034logues, grew out of personal acquaintance. Melville would certainly have been known—if not always by name—to many of the dealers in the New York bookshop area, but Anna Clark is the only one so far discovered who paid particular attention to his books in printed catalogues.

It was fortunate that Anna Clark's catalogue No. 43 fell into the hands of Jones: for if there were few dealers in 1896 who would have cared about copies of Melville's books "from the library of the author," there were an equally small number of collectors interested in acquiring Melville's books, and Jones was one of them. Samuel Arthur Jones (1834–1912), a prominent homeopathic physician and author of numerous medical papers and The Grounds of a Homeopath's Faith (New York, 1880), carried on a private medical practice in Englewood, New Jersey, from 1863 to 1875 and during the last five years of that period was also professor of histology and pathology at the New York Homeopathic Medical College. In 1875 he moved to Ann Arbor to become dean and professor at the Homeopathic Medical College of the University of Michigan. Although he did not keep his deanship after 1878 or his professorship after 1880, he remained in Ann Arbor to the end of his life pursuing his private practice. His other principal interest, book collecting, was also a long-standing one, for he was acquiring first editions even before he received his first medical degree in 1860: he is known to have purchased some eighteenth-century English literature on a visit to London in 1857. His collecting encompassed three fields: medical books of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries (this collection had reached thirteen hundred volumes by 1879); eighteenth-century English literature; and books and manuscripts by a group of nineteenth-century authors, particularly Carlyle, Thoreau and the American Transcendentalists, and other American writers of the period, including Hawthorne and Melville. He concentrated on the nineteenth-century segment of his library in his later years and was best known for the Carlyle and Thoreau collections. He edited Collectanea Thomas Carlyle, 1821–1855 in 1903, and a catalogue of his outstanding Carlyle holdings, which went to the University of Michigan in 1912, was published by the university in 1919;18 Thoreau he promoted even pg 1035more intensively in a series of publications, including the first substantial bibliography of Thoreau, issued by the Rowfant Club of Cleveland in 1894. A more detailed history of his purchases could be constructed from the information he preserved in his copies; as Isaac N. Demmon has remarked, "The fly leaves of his books contain many valuable bibliographical notes on the history of these 'finds' "—and the Moby-Dick is a perfect illustration.19 After Jones's death in 1912, the books that were not purchased by the University of Michigan20 were eventually moved (along with papers and letters) to Urbana by Jones's son, Paul Van Brunt Jones, who was a professor of history at the University of Illinois from 1914 to 1950. Most of this material remained in his house there until, after his death (1969) and that of his wife (1974), Professor George Hendrick of the English department came upon the books and papers and was instrumental in arranging their purchase by the University of Illinois Library in 1975.21 Four of the Melville books from Anna Clark's forty-third catalogue thus stood on the shelves of the Jones collection, first in Ann Arbor and then in Urbana, from 1896 until their transfer, nearly eighty years later, to the Rare Book Room at Illinois.

If there is no mystery about Jones's purchase of these Melville books or their whereabouts since that time, what remains to be dis-pg 1036covered is how the books found their way to the Clark shop and whether they were indeed "from the library of the author." Following Melville's death on September 28, 1891, his widow kept his books (estimated by the appraisers to be "about 1,000 volumes" worth $600)22 for a short while, but a move to a smaller place the following April necessitated her disposing of some of the books. Apparently she turned first, not unexpectedly, to John Anderson, who bought a few volumes but did not wish to take the entire lot.23 He then, according to Wegelin, called in other dealers, first Thomas E. Keane of 25 Ann Street (who offered $100), then A. F. Farnell of 42 Court Street, Brooklyn—whose offer of $120 was accepted.24 Just how large the lot was or of what it consisted is not known, but one customer of Farnell's (who bought some of Melville's books) has remembered being told that the great number of "theological" works in it deterred some dealers from making offers and that even Farnell discarded many such volumes after his purchase.25 Nevertheless, he later regarded the purchase, Wegelin says, "as one of the best buys of his career because the books sold with what, in the booktrade, passes for rapidity"; and Keane is said to have regretted not getting the collection. Still other dealers were involved at one point or another: Bangs & Co. examined the library, according to Farnell's son; and Francis P. Harper purchased some volumes from Mrs. Melville, volumes remembered by his brother Lathrop C. Harper as "an ordinary miscellaneous lot of books such as any reader might collect pg 1037around him, on all sorts of subjects."26 It is clear, as Harper recalled, that Melville's books were disposed of through several dealers—and although Anna S. Clark has never been mentioned as one of them, it is conceivable that she could have been, particularly if her shop was one that Melville visited and mentioned to his wife. However, if the seven Melville titles in catalogue 43 had been bought from Mrs. Melville in 1892, it does not seem reasonable to suppose that Anna Clark would have waited until 1896 to list them in her catalogue: if these books derived "from the library of the author," Anna Clark probably bought them from another dealer, or else from Mrs. Melville at the time of some later dispersal of books, perhaps in 1895 or early 1896.

It is certainly possible, in other words, for books from Melville's library to have turned up in Anna Clark's catalogue in 1896. (That catalogue intriguingly contains at least two other books that Melville once owned or used, including Amasa Delano's Narrative).27 The next question is whether these particular copies of seven books by Melville are likely to have been among the books that Elizabeth Melville sold between 1892 and 1896. She certainly did not sell all the books (for part of Melville's library remained intact at her death in 1906, passing to the family and thence to Harvard); and it would seem natural that Melville's own writings, especially a matched set, would be among the items she would have kept. Whether in fact any of Melville's earlier books were a part of the collection at the time of his death is itself an issue. Oliver G. Hillard, shortly after Melville's death, remembered Melville saying (perhaps in the mid-1880's) that he did not own copies of any of his books; 28 but Wegelin recalls pg 1038delivering to his house in 1890–91 books purchased at Anderson's shop and says that "some of them were copies of his own sea tales, of which, oddly enough, he seemed to have had virtually no copies until Mr. Anderson supplied him" (p. 22).29 It would seem, then, that Melville probably did have copies of his early books at the time of his death. The fact that his widow sold some of the remaining supply of John Marr and Timoleon30 cannot be taken to suggest that she would also have sold copies of the earlier books, but if there were duplicate copies of some of them she might well have done so.

The presence of Allan Melville's signature in the Typee volume31 increases the possibilities for speculation, particularly in light of the fact that several notes in the first of the Moby-Dick volumes also appear to be in his hand:32 an excerpt from the review in the London Leader, copied onto page 207 at the beginning of the chapter on "The Whiteness of the Whale," to which the excerpt refers (see fig. 4); the date "Feby or Mch / 1871" written beside a clipping33 pasted on the verso of the second binder's leaf at the back; and the name "Capt John Deblois / New Port" written on the verso of the third binder's leaf at the back.34 It would seem, therefore, that the Typee and the Moby-Dick at any rate were Allan Melville's copies; and because all the located volumes are identically bound and Anna Clark indicated a common source for them all, it seems reasonable to think that all

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Fig. 4. Annotation, apparently in Allan Melville's hand, in Samuel Arthur Jones's copy of Moby-Dick. By permission of the University of Illinois Library, Urbana-Champaign.

Fig. 4. Annotation, apparently in Allan Melville's hand, in Samuel Arthur Jones's copy of Moby-Dick. By permission of the University of Illinois Library, Urbana-Champaign.

pg 1040belonged to him at one time. As his brother's business agent, he played an important role in the pre-publication history of Melville's books—in the case of Moby-Dick, he handled, among other details, the shipping of the proofs to England, and he wrote to Bentley notifying him of the change of title. He would have been in a position for pre-publication materials—like the "trial" title page—to pass through his hands, and it would not seem out of place for him to have saved certain items. The annotations and clippings that he placed in the Moby-Dick testify to his interest in the work,35 and the "trial" title page could well be another memento that he decided to preserve in his copy of the book. Having the books rebound in a uniform and more elegant binding would similarly not be an unexpected gesture for him to have made. His quotation from the London Leader seems to have been copied before the Moby-Dick was rebound (judging from the way the writing meets the edge of the leaf), but the clippings pasted to the binder's leaves, as well as the "trial" title page (which appears to have been trimmed to fit), were of course added to the volume after rebinding. Assuming that the unlocated volumes from the Clark catalogue match those that have been examined, the date of the rebinding of the seven books listed there (nine volumes, with Mardi and Moby-Dick each bound in two) might perhaps be the period between the publication of Pierre in July, 1852, and that of Israel Potter in March, 1855, because the seven titles listed by Clark are Melville's first seven books, up to and including Pierre; of course, the set could originally have contained more volumes and the time of binding pg 1041could have been correspondingly later.36 At any rate, it does not seem far-fetched to imagine Allan Melville, with his interest in Moby-Dick, taking a "trial" title page that he had saved, folding it across the middle, laying it—along with a newspaper clipping or two—in his copy of the book, and then, some years later, having a set of his brother's works uniformly bound and pasting these items into the Moby-Dick at that time. Obviously this may not have been precisely what happened, but it seems entirely reasonable to believe that Allan Melville would have had access to such a document as the "trial" title page and that the presence of such an item in a copy of Moby-Dick once in his possession lends support to its authenticity.

That the volumes listed by Anna Clark are actually Allan Melville's copies does not necessarily mean that she was incorrect in labeling them "from the library of the author": it is conceivable that they passed into Herman Melville's possession upon the death of Allan in 1872 or, more likely, upon the death of Allan's second wife, Jane, in 1890. If so, it is hard to know how Elizabeth Melville would have felt about disposing of them after her husband's death in 1891. She might have felt less attachment to them than to other copies (if there were any) that her husband himself had bought and perhaps reread; on the other hand, the family connection and the uniform binding might have made these volumes seem particularly desirable to her. In any case, there is a considerable question whether the volumes were ever in Melville's possession. If they had come to him in 1872 after Allan's death, he would have had to dispose of them subsequently, if it is true that late in life he had no copies of his earlier books—and dispose of them as a group, or they would not have been together in an 1896 catalogue. And the idea that they might have come to him after Jane's death in March of 1890 does not fit with Oscar Wegelin's recollection that Melville had "virtually no copies" of his books when his acquaintance with John Anderson began in the autumn of 1890.37 Under the circumstances, it may well be that the pg 1042books reached Anna Clark by a different route—from Allan's (or his second wife's) family directly or from another dealer. It is possible that they left the family as early as 1872, if Allan's widow sold them after his death;38 and it is easy to see how these volumes, with their clear family association, could have given rise to the story that they were once Melville's own. There is no reason to question Anna Clark's veracity; if she did not purchase the books from Melville's widow, then she probably got them from someone (whom she had reason to believe) who told her that they came "from the library of the author."

Even if these volumes were indeed a part of his library for a time, it is clear that they must be regarded primarily as Allan Melville's copies. As such, they are of interest in their own right. And what can be reconstructed of their history gives one little reason to doubt the authenticity of the "trial" title page in the Moby-Dick. The only period during which the whereabouts of this volume seem uncertain is between 1871 or 1872 and 1896. Before 1871 (when Allan apparently wrote that year on one of the binder's leaves) or 1872 (when he died), it was presumably in his possession; since 1896 (when Jones purchased it from Anna Clark), it has been on the shelves of the Jones family or of the University of Illinois Library. During that interval Melville was little enough known and his books so lacking in value on the secondhand book market that no one would have had any incentive to fabricate a pre-publication title page—or, for that matter, would have been likely to understand the significance of combining "The Whale" as title with the American imprint.39 In the absence of additional evidence, then, this "trial" title page can be accepted as a genuine artifact from the production of Moby-Dick, preserved by Allan Melville. It tells us little that is new (only that the Harpers actually had the earlier title set in type) and indeed raises questions of its own. But it remains of great interest, being apparently the only surviving scrap from the proof stage of Moby-Dick.

The Jones Moby-Dick demonstrates the uses of association copies, pg 1043as well as the byways into which they can lead. Melville association copies are now searched for as assiduously as the Sub-Sub-Librarian looked for references to whales. And the recent surfacing of this book, the Hubbard Whale, the annotated Milton, the Augusta Melville papers, and other documents provides welcome reassurrance that "the long Vaticans and street-stalls of the earth" have not yielded up all that they contain.


This essay has been slightly revised from its original publication as Part II of G. Thomas Tanselle's "Two Melville Association Copies: The Hubbard Whale and the Jones Moby-Dick," Book Collector, XXXI (Autumn, 1982), 309–30.

1. For assistance with this account, I am indebted to Mary Ceibert, George Hendrick, Harriet C. Jameson, Paul Haller Jones, Frederick James Kennedy, N. Frederick Nash, Merton M. Sealts, Jr., and Donald Yannella.

2. An Exhibition from the Collection of Dr. Samuel Arthur Jones, University of Illinois Library Rare Book Room (Urbana-Champaign: Friends of the University of Illinois Library, [1974]), with introduction and notes by George Hendrick and Fritz Oehlschlaeger. (This catalogue has been reprinted in American Transcendental Quarterly, No. 31 [Summer, 1976], supp. 2, pp. 30–37.) The Melville books are items 30 (White-Jacket) and 31 (Moby-Dick); the item 31 calls attention to two newspaper clippings about whales inserted into the volumes. That no mention is made of the more interesting insertion does not mean that it went unnoticed by those preparing the catalogue: working under pressure to get the catalogue printed and the exhibition mounted, they understandably did not have the opportunity to conduct an investigation of it and sensibly did not wish to make unsubstantiated claims about it.

3. This draft, in the Melville collection at Harvard, is quoted in full above, p. 671.

4. For a fuller discussion of the circumstances surrounding the publication of the two editions, see the Historical Note, pp. 659–81.

5. The printed title page cannot at present be located among the title-page deposits at the Library of Congress, but the wording of the deposited title page is known from its transcription in the copyright record book (entry no. 7024, Southern District of New York). Although the transcription does not include the imprint, it does follow exactly the wording and punctuation (but does not attempt to reproduce the lineation) of the first seven lines of the title page as finally published.

6. There is no evidence that Melville considered publishing the book anonymously, though he did later (in a letter to Bentley on April 16, 1852) suggest the possibility of publishing Pierre anonymously.

7. From 1876 to 1880 the shop was located at 66 Nassau Street; in 1904 it moved to Peekskill, N.Y., where it was managed from 1916 by E. F. Hanaburgh (see catalogue No. 67). Because the New York directories beginning in 1876 generally list "Anna S. Clark" as the bookseller, I have used her name (and the feminine pronoun) here, though in fact other members of the A. S. Clark firm may have been responsible for the comments on Melville in the firm's catalogues. ("Mr. Clark" is referred to as having been in the book business for twenty-six years in newspaper accounts in 1891 of a man, identifying himself as Thomas Chancellor, who sold forged autographs of "Stonewall" Jackson in several New York shops, including the A. S. Clark shop. See "Not Jackson's Autograph," New York Evening Sun, October 10, 1891, and the retelling in Charles Hamilton, Great Forgers and Famous Fakes [New York: Crown, 1980], pp. 38–40.)

8. If Melville had not been listed under "Adventure," entries for his books would not have been on the second page of the catalogues, and the reverse of the Jones clipping would not then have shown part of a front cover, with its clues for identification.

9. Salt's correspondence with Jones and his 1893 introduction to Typee and Omoo are discussed briefly by George Hendrick in Henry Salt: Humanitarian Reformer and Man of Letters (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1977), pp. 163–64. The texts of the letters appear in Toward the Making of Thoreau's Modern Reputation: Selected Correspondence of S. A. Jones, A. W. Hosmer, H. S. Salt, H. G. O. Blake, and D. Ricketson, ed. Fritz Oehlschlaeger and George Hendrick (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1979), esp. pp. 140, 158–59, 166, 251. See, for instance, Salt's letter of June 9, 1892, which asks Jones, "I wonder whether you are a Melville enthusiast? You ought to be. He was one of the very greatest of American writers" (p. 158). Jones's letters to Salt, which may contain details about his purchases of Melville's books, are presumably part of Salt's Thoreau material, now in private hands and unavailable for study (see Salt's Company I Have Kept [London: Allen & Unwin, 1930], pp. 103–4). On Salt's admiration for Melville, see also the Historical Note, pp. 739–41.

10. This letter was uncovered by Frederick James Kennedy in the Dalhousie University Archives and published, with helpful commentary, in "Dr. Samuel Arthur Jones and Herman Melville," Melville Society Extracts, No. 32 (November, 1977), 3–7. Jones and MacMechan were acquainted through their mutual interest in Carlyle, but Melville provided the occasion for the present letter: MacMechan had sent Jones a copy of his essay on Moby-Dick, "The Best Sea Story Ever Written" (Queen's Quarterly, VII [October, 1899], 120–30), and Jones was writing in reply, beginning, "Your Melville enthusiasm revived a spent enthusiasm of my own anent the same writer."

11. The likeness that Jones saw in the 1892 edition was the October, 1885, photograph by Rockwood (reprinted in the Log, Plate xv)—Melville's last photograph, taken at the age of sixty-six (see Morris Star, "A Checklist of Portraits of Herman Melville," Bulletin of the New York Public Library, LXXI [September, 1967], 468–73). Kennedy points out that this photograph was the basis for the 1891 line drawing (in Appleton's Annual Cyclopœdia) used by MacMechan.

12. He had also been one of the original editors of Yankee Doodle, to which Melville contributed several pieces in 1847.

13. Kennedy, in his Extracts article, points out that White moved to East Tenth Street in 1870 (an address "up-town" from the bookshop). The New York directories as of 1871 (copyrighted 1870) place him at 118 East Tenth Street.

14. At least ten years, in other words, before the date of the portrait (1885) that Jones recognized roughly twenty years later (1892 or shortly thereafter).

15. Reprinted in the Log, II, 794.

16. According to Douglas G. Parsonage, who wrote on behalf of Lathrop C. Harper to Merton M. Sealts, Jr., on December 26, 1947; quoted by Sealts in Melville's Reading: A Check-List of Books Owned and Borrowed (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1966), pp. 122–23.

17. Oscar Wegelin, "Herman Melville as I Recall Him," Colophon, n.s., I (Summer, 1935), 21–24. Wegelin also recalled, when interviewed by Charles Olson in 1934, that Melville's purchases from Anderson would have numbered five hundred or more; see Sealts, p. 5. Melville's wife allowed him $25 a month for books and pictures after receiving an inheritance from her brother in 1884 (Sealts, p. 24).

18. A Catalogue of The Dr. Samuel A. Jones Carlyle Collection (Ann Arbor, 1919), compiled by Mary Eunice Wead.

19. Further information about Jones's collecting can be found in Demmon's "Prefatory Note" to the 1919 Michigan catalogue, in the 1974 Illinois catalogue (see note 2 above), esp. pp. 7–8, 15, in the introduction to the Hosmer letters (see note 21 below), pp. xv–xxvi, and in Toward the Making of Thoreau's Modern Reputation (see note 9 above), esp. pp. 2–5, 159.

20. In September, 1912, the University of Michigan purchased for one thousand dollars Jones's five-hundred-volume Carlyle collection and two hundred volumes of American literature selected by Demmon. The only Melville item was apparently a copy of The Refugee (the 1865 piracy, by T. B. Peterson of Philadelphia, of Israel Potter); the pastedown at the back contains Jones's coded price and the date April 14, 1902, as well as some unidentified pencil notes (tabulating American states) and a sketch (labeled "Sunday in the Backwoods").

21. Some were acquired by the University of Illinois earlier: four Melville volumes—Omoo, Pierre, Israel Potter, and The Piazza Tales—are known to have been acquired by the library on February 12, 1918. This Pierre, however, is apparently not the one listed in Anna Clark's catalogue. For some further account of George Hendrick's locating the Jones collection and Paul Haller Jones's settling the estate, see Remembrances of Concord and the Thoreaus: Letters of Horace Hosmer to Dr. S. A. Jones, ed. George Hendrick (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1977), pp. ix–xiii.

22. This appraisal was made on March 28, 1892, and filed on May 3, according to William Charvat, "Melville's Income," American Literature, XV (November, 1943), 251–61.

23. Of those he did take, some were sold to Thomas J. McKee and reappeared in 1902 in the auction catalogue of McKee's library prepared by Anderson's firm: lot 5488, Southey's Oliver Newman (1845), is designated by Sealts in Melville's Reading as "apparently the first Melville association volume to be so catalogued by a dealer" (p. 5).

24. Farnell's diary of February 25, 1892, records the $120 purchase: this information was secured by Charles Olson in 1934 from Farnell's son Henry (who then ran the shop) and has been reported by Sealts in Melville's Reading, p. 6. Sealts's account of the dispersal of Melville's library (pp. 3–7) is basic: it not only draws together what can be learned from published sources but also records information uncovered by his own interviews and inquiries in 1947–48 and those of Charles Olson earlier.

25. Sealts's interview with Carol V. Wight in 1948; see Sealts, p. 6.

26. Parsonage to Sealts (see note 16 above). David Randall recalls that volumes from Melville's library also turned up in Max Harzof's shop and later at Scribner's and in various shops in Brooklyn; see Dukedom Large Enough (New York: Random House, 1969), pp. 207–9.

27. The other book, besides Delano (Clark, p. 29) is one known to have been purchased by Allan Melville: Waddy Thompson's Recollections of Mexico (Clark, p. 16; Sealts 514 and Plate II). In addition, at least two books in the Clark catalogue appear in Sealts in different editions: A Summary View of the Millennial Church (Clark, p. 26; Sealts 459a is a later edition), and William Leete Stone's Life of Joseph Brant (Clark, p. 14; Sealts 491a is an earlier edition).

28. In a letter to the New York Times (headed "The Late Henry Melville"), October 6, 1891, quoted in the Log, II, 787–88: "I once asked the loan of some of his books, which early in life had given me such pleasure, and was surprised when he said that he didn't own a single copy of them."

29. Furthermore, as Sealts points out (p. 6), there are "apparent verbal echoes" in Billy Budd (on which Melville was working at the time of his death) that "may suggest a recent rereading" of some of his earlier books.

30. Wegelin, p. 23; cf. Sealts, p. 5.

31. This signature, when compared with other signatures of Allan Melville, appears to be authentic. And there is no reason to question its authenticity: the idea that anyone in 1896 or earlier would have wished to create the evidence for associating this volume (or these volumes) with Allan Melville seems remote indeed.

32. A convenient place for examining a sample of Allan Melville's handwriting is in Merton M. Sealts, Jr., The Early Lives of Melville (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1974), pp. 192–93.

33. The clipping, entitled "Reminiscences of Hawthorne," prints from "advance sheets of the Atlantic Monthly" for February of 1871 J. T. Fields's account of the famous Monument Mountain picnic of August 5, 1850, where Melville and Hawthorne first met; one sentence is devoted to Melville.

34. Deblois was the captain of the Ann Alexander, which was destroyed by a whale on August 20, 1851, shortly before the publication of Moby-Dick. (The episode is the subject of a newspaper clipping at the front of the volume; see note 35.)

35. Other clippings besides the one about the Monument Mountain outing may have been inserted by Allan Melville: e.g., one from the New York Herald of November 6, 1851, reporting the destruction of the Ann Alexander (a clipping on this subject had been sent to Melville in early November, 1851, by Evert A. Duyckinck—see The Letters of Herman Melville, ed. Merrell R. Davis and William H. Gilman [New Haven: Yale University Press, 1960], p. 139, n. 9, and p. 632, above.). Whereas the 1902 clipping about a white whale was obviously pasted in by Jones, and the one about the price of Moby-Dick in 1945 by his son, it seems unlikely that either of the Joneses had at hand a clipping from a newspaper of 1851. On the verso of the dedication leaf there is an undated (but probably 1853) clipping about the serialization of a French translation of parts of Moby-Dick in the Courrier des Etats-Unis, with comments by E. D. Forgues, the translator. (The Typee volume also contains a clipping, pasted to the inside of the front cover, regarding Toby's lecture [1855] on the Marquesas.)

36. On the verso of the front free endpaper in the first volume of the Moby-Dick there is a pencil notation that resembles a bookseller's code and below it the indication "9 vols". Whether this notation is Anna Clark's or that of a dealer from whom she acquired the books, the nine volumes she listed presumably constituted the entire set as she received it.

37. It is of course theoretically possible that Anderson purchased books from the estate of Allan's widow and that Melville bought Allan's set from Anderson.

38. They were probably not sold earlier, because the 1871 date written beside one of the clippings seems to be in Allan's hand.

39. It is similarly difficult to imagine the circumstances under which anyone—either before or during that 1871–96 period—would have had this title page set up as a joke, without fraudulent intent.

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