Magazine article Melville Society Extracts

All Astir

Magazine article Melville Society Extracts

All Astir

Article excerpt

The Melville Society Cultural Project is thriving.

After two years of affiliation with the New Bedford Whaling Museum and its Kendall Institute, great progress has been made. As discussed in Jill Barnum's "Chowder" report, three lecture series are well-established: the Melville Birthday Lecture, presented on the Thursday night closest to Melville's birthday; the Presidential Lecture, presented just before the Moby-Dick Marathon, which begins at noon on January 3 each year; and the Melville Lyceum Series, a forum for exploring current scholarship.

Additionally, a beautiful brochure about the Melville Society Cultural Project with a lovely insert on the Melville Society Archive has been created, largely because of the dedicated work of Beth Schultz and the graphic design genius of John Cox, who works for the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

The Melville Society Cultural Project met with Anne Brengle, director of the Whaling Museum, on January 4, 2004, to discuss renewal of the original affiliation agreement, which will expire in a year. We learned to our joy that when the Lagoda Room is renovated, one of the balconies overlooking the Lagoda (a half-size model of a whaling ship built in 1916) will be devoted to Melville. The Whaling Museum will work with the Melville Society, especially the Cultural Project, in creating the exhibit.

The part of the Cultural Project with which I have been chiefly associated is the Archive. At present, the Archive consists primarily of the collections of Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. It is an immensely valuable collection of critical and biographical works on Herman Melville, many of them annotated by Hayford and Sealts. The collection includes not only the scholarly editions of Melville's works, but also a large number of popular and illustrated editions. This collection will be greatly augmented with the Thomas Wendel collection of first and rare editions of Melville's works.

During some wonderful days, the Cultural Project Team, especially Doug Robillard, Wyn Kelley, and Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, sorted, organized, and shelved the Archive. Mark Wojnar has devoted countless volunteer hours to beginning the work of cataloguing the collection, work that will continue with the hiring of a Simmons College student. …

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