Friday, November 16, 2018

Ahab Beckons: Reserve your Bethel spot & Reader slot!

Ahab Beckons: Reserve your Bethel spot & Reader slot!: Registration is open for readers at the Moby-Dick Marathon, the Portuguese Marathon, and the Children's Marathon. You can also enter...

Monday, November 12, 2018

Omoo in Hudson, New York

This brief notice of Melville's Omoo appeared on May 6, 1847 in The Columbia Washingtonian, a weekly newspaper published in Hudson, New York by the local Temperance society and still edited by Warren Rockwell (1787-1866). "May 5" on the masthead is an error for May 6, a Thursday.

OMOO: a Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas. By Herman Melville, author of "Typee." Harper & Brothers, publishers.

This is an interesting and valuable work, in two volumes. It is a narrative of the adventures of the author among the Islands of the South Seas, during a whaling voyage and a residence of three months on the Islands of Tahiti and Imeo. For Sale at Wynkoop's.  --Columbia Washingtonian - May 6, 1847 via NYS Historic Newspapers

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Santa Claus poem by A. Oakey Hall

A Oakey Hall, Cabinet Photo, c1870

A la Poe in The Raven with a fine closing tribute to Clement C. Moore, author of "A Visit from St. Nicholas," as 
"the Bard for joying children."
Herman Melville's old friend Abraham Oakey Hall delivered this now forgotten Santa Claus poem before The Saint Nicholas Society at their annual dinner, held on December 7, 1874 at Delmonico's (Fifth Avenue and Fourteenth Street). Monday evening, since the proper Feast of Saint Nicholas day, December 6th, fell on a Sunday that year.
"The dinner, which was served in excellent style, was enlivened by the usual Dutch peculiarities, by the burgomaster-appearance of the President [Augustus R. Macdonough], the orange neckties of many of the guests, and the almost universal smoking of tobacco in long clay pipes." --New York Herald, December 8, 1874
A partial transcription of Hall's poem was included in the account of the dinner published in the New York Herald on December 8, 1874; accessible via Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, The Library of Congress.
With minor variations the verse text appeared also in the Rock Island Daily Argus (Rock Island, Illinois) on December 16, 1874; and Providence Evening Express (Providence, Rhode Island) on December 21, 1874.

Not transcribed and so presumably lost are the "few introductory stanzas" read before the one that begins "Deep into the hall-way peering...." The New York Herald gives the title of Hall's poem as "A St. Nicholas Dinner Raving." In the fifth stanza all known versions print "widest mirth" where one might expect "wildest mirth." In the last line, the Herald gives "joying children" which must be right, rather than "joyous children" in the Rock Island Argus version.

New York Herald - December 8, 1874


After the above regular toasts were disposed of ex-Mayor Hall was called upon for a speech. In lieu of a speech he read a poem, which, after a few introductory stanzas, concluded as follows:--


Deep into the hallway peering, rousing from my lager-beering,
(Incident to a defence of unlicensed wine offence),
Sought I for the pristine cause--when there came a sudden pause,
Yet I knew that somewhere jaws must be nigh me whence that roar
Came so jolly through the door--roar so jolly, ne'er before
Had mortal heard such mirthful roar.  
Open then I flung the panels, looked intently (like in Daniel's
Den, those wicked Medes in flannels-shirts perhaps, or maybe drawers--
Peered to see the lions eat him, lions with an Afric roar).
Did I feel the silence keenly like to them? No, quite serenely!
When a sudden from the jaws came that roar devoid of flaws,
And a jolly voice exclaim-ed, in accents with High Dutch maim-ed,
Don't you know old Santa Claus?

No more marvelling: I hailed him; went at once and fully bailed him,
Next with oysters I regaled him--oysters from the Blue Point shore;
Opened Schnapps that quickly griped him, and, like the police, I piped him,
As he roared once more so jolly, "Have we never met before?"
Quoth I (stunned like), "Ne'er before!"
 All at once the air seemed brighter, all at once my heart beat lighter,
Light as treads on theatre floor the kingly ghost of Elsinore!
"Saint," I cried, "whatever sent thee thus materialized anent me,
"Glad am I--as nears, once more, evening, when libations pour,
To thy memory--that thy Saintship seeks my door."
Quoth St. Nicholas, "shut the door."
 "I've a message, said his Saintship," grasping me with not a faint grip,
As he rose upon the floor, pointing me to shut the door;
"Message not for chimney hearthstone, rather more for widest mirth tone!
Gotham message! for, mine's the right hence evermore
In December to remember all the Knickerbocker lore."
"Yes," I added, "evermore."
 "Tell my children when a tonic, seek they in the halls Delmonic,
With an appetite that's chronic, I'll be with them evermore;
Tell them, on my Christmas honor, I believe that Gus McDonough,
Like the worthies gone before--predecessors I adore--
With his compeers just selected, are with my own soul affected;
This I say but nothing more."
Then while whispering "hunky-dory," in a radiance of glory,
Like Apocalyptic story, fast did space his shade consume.
Then though came again the gloom, settling down throughout my room,
Yet there lingered a perfume that I ne'er inhaled before;
As I felt at once no fable was the poem from Christmas Table,
Of the Bard for joying children, our immortal Clement Moore.
Wed, Dec 16, 1874 – 2 · The Rock Island Argus (Rock Island, Illinois, United States of America) ·
As Mayor of New York City Oakey Hall had often been mocked in cartoon caricatures by Thomas Nast. Today, of course, Nast is still celebrated for his iconic drawings of Santa Claus, particularly Merry Old Santa Claus in Harper's Weekly on January 1, 1881.

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania Digital Library has images of A. Oakey Hall's prose tale The Santa Claus Ice Palace, in manuscript.
Maybe I will get inspired and transcribe that too before Christmas.

And this, also in the HSP collection of  Abraham Oakey Hall manuscripts 1860-1890: Hall's prose history of The Evolution of Olden Manhattan Christmas.
For now, I see that Oakey Hall's undated "Manhattan Christmas" narrative makes several interesting references to Clement Moore as author of "The Night Before Christmas":
... When [Peter] Minuit departed to pass the remaining Xmasses of his days at home over which St. Nicholas was presiding as Holland's National Spirit, Master Van Twiller came with yet more emigrants to celebrate additional Christmas times. Himself was in aspect no mean double of a Santa Claus: for he was good natured: & a corpulent wine bibbing Dutchman: although of looser life than St Nicholas would have tolerated. The description of Santa Claus given in Clement Moore's Manhattan rhyme would seem to fit the descriptions & pictures extant of that Merry Xmas Wouter Van Twiller. He had a chaplain in a Lutheran Dominie Bogardus: a man of mark & high character whose usual hot temper never came to the surface on Xmas day. But Santa Claus Van Twiller came to grief in 1637, being removed for diverting the monies of the Netherlands corporation to his own private use--Manhattan's original boodler--& his Christmas of that year was not for him a merry one.  --A. Oakey Hall, "Evolution of Olden Manhattan Christmas" manuscript pages 6-7.
From 1775 to 1783 under him a Merry Christmas seems to have quit New York. Then came another welcome 25th day of a month--the Evacuation day of November 25th. With Peace Santa Claus regained his Christmas throne & never thereafter has he quitted it as monarch over juvenility. For did not a Columbia College professor commemorate Santa Claus in the lyric entitled "The night before Christmas" that every New York child learns by the time he or she is seven years old? --A. Oakey Hall, "Evolution of Olden Manhattan Christmas" manuscript pages 23-24.

via Library of Congress

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Monday, November 5, 2018

Battle-Pieces in Portland, Maine

From the Portland Daily Press, August 30, 1866; found at GenealogyBank among items added "within 1 month." The masthead lists "N. A. Foster" as sole proprietor.

Portland [Maine] Daily Press - August 30, 1866
via GenealogyBank

Recent Publications.

BATTLE-PIECES and Aspects of the War. By Herman Melville. New York: Harper & Brothers.

We are not aware that the author of "Typee" and "Omoo," has until now been before the public in the character of a poet; but the essentially poetic character of much that he has written forbids us to feel any surprise at the fact of his so doing. The beautifully printed volume bearing the above title we have not had time to read to the end, but we have seen enough of it to learn that it is vastly superior to the larger portion of the war poetry with which we have thus far been favored. The author tells us in his preface that he has yielded to feelings not inspired from any one source exclusively, and, unmindful of consistency, seems "to have but placed a harp in a window and noted the contrasted airs which wayward winds have played upon its strings." The reader will find it a harp capable of very sweet music.

Received of A. Williams & Co. For sale by Davis Brothers, 200 Fore street.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Call her Hunilla

Juana Maria, Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island,_Lone_Woman_of_San_Nicolas_Island

via Islapedia
 More links to versions and research:
Boston Semi-Weekly Atlas - January 9, 1847
via GenealogyBank


[Communicated for the Atlas.]

Off the coast of Alta California, about two degrees distant, bearing nearly west from Point San Pedro, which is in the latitude of 33 43 N. and longitude 118 14 W., will be found a small island, called by the Spaniards Saint Nicholas. This island was formerly inhabited by an inoffensive, indolent race of Indians, who subsisted almost entirely upon fish, which they caught from the rocks, and muscles, which they found in the sands of the beach. They were a listless, quiet race of beings, who seldom had communication with others of the human family, and who had but few wants, and fewer cares.

About the year eighteen hundred and eighteen or twenty, the Russians, from their settlements at the North, landed on this Island a party of Kodiac Indians, for the purpose of hunting the sea otter, which, at that period, abounded in those waters. This party remained on the island for more than two years: and were the means of sowing the seeds of disease and contention amongst its unsuspecting and unsophisticated inhabitants.

Some ten or twelve years after the departure of the Kodiacs, this tribe had become diminished to about twenty or thirty individuals, when the Governor of the department of California sent over a small vessel and removed them to the main.

In the last boat, which was embarking with the last of this people, (some six or eight perhaps in number) to convey them to the vessel, which was to carry them from the home of their nativity forever, was one of the tribe, small in stature, not far advanced in years, and his dusky mate, then in the bloom of life. The order had been given to shove from the shore; the oars had dipped in the wave, the boat was rising on the foaming surf, then breaking on the beach with awful roar, when, with the impulse of the moment as it were, this young and blooming bride of the red man, the imprint of whose footstep had been the last left on the sands of her island home, waved an adieu to her chosen mate, plunged into the abyss, “strove through the surge,” and, in another moment, stood alone on the shores of her native land. She turned, to give the last lingering look to her departing help-mate; and then, gathering around her form her flowing mantle, wet by the ocean wave, in an instant disappeared forever from the sight of her astonished and sorrowing companions.

The vessel weighed anchor, spread her canvass, and, in forty-eight hours, this remnant of the inhabitants of San Nicholas were landed on Point San Pedro, houseless and forlorn.

From that period to the present—if she be not dead, or has not left within the past eighteen months—has resided alone, on the Isle of San Nicholas, this female Crusoe, the monarch of all she surveys. She preferred to part even with her chosen mate, and sever every human tie that could be binding, rather than leave the home of her birth—that lonely little Isle, that had been to her a world, which she cared not to exchange for the abode of civilized man, with all its promised luxuries.

Since our Crusoe became sole monarch of the Isle, San Nicholas has been visited perhaps ten or twelve different times, by different individuals; but there she has continued to be found, with none to dispute her right—alone, solitary and forsaken.

Her dress, or covering, is composed of the skins of small birds, which she kills with stones, and sews them together with a needle of bone and the light sinews of the hair seal, sometimes found dead amongst the rocks. Her only food is a shell fish, which the surf sometimes throws on to the beach. She never remains long in one spot; but is constantly wandering around the shores of the Island, sleeping, which she seldom does, in small caves and crevices in the rocks.

During the few last years, it has been very difficult to obtain any communication with her. At the approach of the white man she flees, as from an evil spirit; and the only way to detain her, is by running her down, as you would the wild goat of the mountain, or the young fawn of the plains.

Those who have seen her at the latest period, report that she makes only a wild noise, altogether inhuman; and, when taken and detained against her will, becomes frightened and restless; that the moment she is liberated, she darts off, and endeavors to secrete herself in the wild grass, or amongst the rocks which hang over the never ceasing surf.

Every endeavor has been made, and every inducement offered, by different individuals, to prevail upon her to leave the Island, but in vain. The only home she appears to desire, is her own little isle. Her last hope, if she has any, is, to finish her journey alone. She has no wish now, to hear again the sweet music of speech. Its sounds are no longer music to her ear—and, as for civilized man, his tameness is shocking even to her dormant senses.

To all appearance, she is strong, healthy, and content to be alone. What can reconcile her to her lot, who can conjecture? Humanity may hope that contentment many continue to be hers, to the last hour; for she is destined to lie down and die alone, on the cold shore of her isolated home, with no one to administer to her last wants, and none to cover her cold body, when the spirit shall have left the clay.

But the story of our Crusoe’s chosen mate, the companion of her early life, has yet to be told. He saw her for the last time, as we have stated, when she stood alone on the shores of her own Isle; when the boat with himself and his companions was dashing through the wild surf, that broke in uninterrupted succession against the rocks which encircled the resting place of his fathers, and which he was then leaving forever. With the remnant of the family from San Nicholas, our hero was landed at San Pedro, and there left, with the others who had accompanied him, to find a home in that land of strangers.

San Pedro, it may be known, is a bleak, barren, bluff point, running out into the blue waters of the Pacific, on which no verdure is to be seen, and but one solitary abode of man, rising amidst the desolation which surrounds it. The Pueblo de los Angelos is situated ten leagues distant, with one farm house between the one on the point and those of the town. The mission of San Gabriel lies yet farther on, some three or four leagues; where, at that time, might be found perhaps three or four hundred converted Indians.

But our hero, as he may be called, never left the beach on which he was first landed. Alone and friendless, there he remained; an isolated being, till life ceased to animate his frame. True it is, that several times he was induced, and once or twice forced, to venture as far as the Pueblo, and even the mission of San Gabriel; but he always, as soon as at liberty, returned and resumed his old station on the beach, or fixed himself on the rocks which hung around the Point. And there he might always be seen, a solitary outcast, as it were, and more constantly when the sun was going down, with his eyes gazing on that celestial orb as it sunk into the western horizon, a direction which he well knew pointed to the lost but never forgotten home of his nativity.

With difficulty he sustained the want of nature by fishing about the rocks, gathering muscles, and sometimes receiving a scanty pittance of corn from the house on the Point, or a few pence from a passing stranger.

He studiously avoided, as far as possible, all intercourse with his fellow man, and sought to live and die in solitude; and so did he continue to live a life which manifestly appeared a burthen to him, till one morning, as the sun arose, not two years past, his body was found on the beach a stiffened corse, stretched out, and bleaching, as it were, in the white foam of the surf which was thrown about his lifeless remains as the mighty wave broke on the shore.

It is presumed his death was accidental—that whilst searching for shell fish, in the night, amongst the cliffs, he must have fallen from an eminence, and thus terminated his solitary existence. --Boston Atlas Thursday, January 7, 1847; found at GenealogyBank
In "The Encantadas," Herman Melville apparently used details and something of the tone in the widely reprinted 1847 account of A Female Crusoe on Saint Nicholas or San Nicolas island for his story of Hunilla, first published in the April 1854 issue of Putnam's Monthly Magazine ("Sketch Ninth / Norfolk Isle and the Chola Widow"). The 1847 account presents the female Crusoe's husband as the victim of a fatal accident on the "bleak, barren, bluff point" of San Pedro where his body washes up on the beach. The closing image there of the husband's "stiffened" and "stretched out" corpse may have influenced Melville's darkly romantic depiction of the dead Felipe as a still-faithful lover:
"his body was found on the beach a stiffened corse, stretched out, and bleaching, as it were, in the white foam of the surf which was thrown about his lifeless remains as the mighty wave broke on the shore." --A Female Crusoe in the Boston Atlas, January 7, 1847; reprinted often, for example in the New York Tribune, January 18, 1847 and Littell's Living Age, Volume 12 (March 12, 1847).
"Felipe's body was washed ashore... But Felipe's body floated to the marge, with one arm encirclingly outstretched. Lockjawed in grim death, the lover-husband softly clasped his bride, true to her even in death's dream."  --The Encantadas Sketch Eighth, Norfolk Isle and the Chola Widow.
To aid further study, here are some links to online texts and digitized volumes with Melville's story of Hunilla:

In print, the standard scholarly edition is in The Piazza Tales and Other Prose Pieces, 1839-1860 (Evanston and Chicago: Northwestern University Press and The Newberry Library, 1987), edited by Harrison Hayford, Alma A. MacDougall, G. Thomas Tanselle et al.

Related Melvilliana posts:

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Big Three of American Fiction in 1854

Knickerbocker Gallery - Ik Marvel

This below, from a long critique of Kossuth in the New York Herald on December 29, 1854. Despite the devastating review of Pierre two years before (New York Herald, September 18, 1852), Herman Melville still belongs in the Big Three of accomplished American novelists, after Donald Grant Mitchell (aka John Timon; aka Ik Marvel) and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

New York Herald - December 29, 1854
... A man may fail, and be none the less capable on account thereof. The most successful men have been at times on the brink of ruin: Louis Napoleon could not pay for his washing. But if in such cases the world generously consents to make allowance for misfortune, and acquits such men of want of ability, it has a right to expect that they will not presume on its good nature to speak and act as though perfect triumph had crowned their endeavors. An author who having published a bad novel would at once set about showing that neither Mitchell nor Hawthorne nor Melville knew anything of novel writing, and that their books deserved not to sell, would be likely to meet with severe and merited castigation. Just so with M. Kossuth, Mazzini, Ledru Rollin and the other exiles. They all had their chance--in some cases a fair and promising one--but not one out of the number had the tact or the sense or the prudence to maintain himself. Common decency should remind them of this, when they feel impelled to cavil at the acts of others. --New York Herald - December 29, 1854

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Moby-Dick in the New York Morning Express

This notice of Moby-Dick in the New York Morning Express on November 17, 1851 borrows extensively from the Courier and Enquirer review of November 14th, but the texts are not identical. The Express tweaks the introduction before quoting the body of the earlier notice--using quotation marks and presenting it as the verdict of
"One who has read "Moby dick."
The reference to Melville's previous "squintings at his whaling experiences" appears only in the Express version.

New York Morning Express - November 17, 1851 via Fulton History


MOBY-DICK, OR THE WHALE. Herman Melville. Harpers.

Another book by the author of "Typee." What writer is more welcome? We have had a touch of his qualities on the sea, and some squintings at his whaling experiences, before, and are prepared to find in his new book a great deal of amusement and instruction, combined with his usual felicity. One who has read "Moby dick" tells us that it "has all the attractiveness of any of its predecessors; in truth it possesses more of a witching nature, since the author has taken in it a wilder play than ever before. It is ostensibly taken up with whales and whalers, but a vast variety of characters and subjects figure in it, all set off with an artistic effect that irresistibly captivates the attention. The author writes with the gusto of true genius, and it must be a torpid spirit indeed that is not enlivened with the raciness of his humor and the redolence of his imagination."  --New York Morning Express, November 17, 1851; found at Fulton History.
Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews, edited by Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker (Cambridge University Press, 1995; 2009 in paperback) gives the earlier notice in the Morning Courier and New-York Enquirer on page 374.

Morning Courier and New-York Enquirer - November 14, 1851
via Fulton History
As reported by David Potter in his survey of Reviews of Moby-Dick in The Journal of the Rutgers University Library Vol 3, No 2 (1940), the highly favorable Courier and Enquirer review was reprinted in Littell's Living  Age, vol. 32 (January 17, 1852).

Moby Dick; or the Whale. By Herman Melville. Harper and Brothers: New York. 
No American writer is more sure, at every reappearance, of a more cheerful welcome than the author of Typee. His purity and freshness of style and exquisite tact in imparting vividness and life-likeness to his sketches long since gained him hosts of admirers on both sides of the water. This book has all the attractiveness of any of its predecessors; in truth, it possesses more of a witching interest, since the author's fancy has taken in it a wilder play than ever before. It is ostensibly taken up with whales and whalers, but a vast variety of characters and subjects figure in it, all set off with an artistic effect that irresistibly captivates the attention. The author writes with the gusto of true genius, and it mast be a torpid spirit indeed that is not enlivened with the raciness of his humor and the redolence of his imagination.—
N. Y. Courier 
[as reprinted January 17, 1852 in Littell's Living  Age, vol. 32.]

Melville's new book, The Whale

Just as Moby-Dick was rolling out in the U. S., the New York Evening Post printed this brief notice of the favorable reception of The Whale across the pond, more or less buried in a long column of "Foreign Items":
"Herman Melville's new book "The Whale," now in press of the Harper's, is well received in England."  --New York Evening Post, November 12, 1851.
Reprinted in the Troy Daily Budget on November 13, 1851; also the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser on November 14, 1851; and the Buffalo Courier on November 15, 1851.

Wed, Nov 12, 1851 – Page 2 · The Evening Post (New York, New York, New York) ·

Monday, October 1, 2018

Hobbes's Leviathan, from the library of Herman Melville

Early in 1892, as Merton M. Sealts, Jr. relates in Melville's Reading (University of Wisconsin Press, 1966) and Pursuing Melville, 1940-1980 (University of Wisconsin Press, 1982), Brooklyn bookman Alfred Francis Farnell (1835-1908) bought a lot of the late Herman Melville's books for $120. Among the most valuable was a rare 1651 edition of Hobbes's Leviathan, according  to this bit of "Brooklyn Gossip" in the New York Evening World for March 19, 1892. Found at GenealogyBank among items added "within 3 months."

New York Evening World - March 19, 1892
via GenealogyBank


Bibliomaniacs seldom visit "Ye Olde Booke Shoppe," on Court street, without feasting their eyes on something rare and valuable.

"We have just purchased," says Mr. Farwell [A. F. Farnell], "the library of the late Herman Melville, of New York, and we obtained some valuable works. Here is one bearing the date of 1651."

It was the second edition of the "Leviathon," [Leviathan] published in London and much valued by Mr. Melville.
Obituary of Alfred F. Farnell in the Brooklyn Daily Standard Union, May 14, 1908:

Alfred Francis Farnell, bookseller, of 46 Court street, died Tuesday [May 12, 1908] of heart disease at his home, 96 Garfield place. Mr. Farnell established the Court street business known as A. F. Farnell & Sons in 1880. He was born in Yorkshire, England, June 5, 1835, and went to New Haven, Conn., in 1865, where for a number of years he conducted a circulating library. he is survived by two sons, Fred W. and Henry A., a daughter, Maude M., and a sister, Mrs. A. Blair, of Montgomery, Ala. Mr. Farnell was a member of the Second Unitarian Church, and the Rev. C. S. S. Dutton conducted funeral services this afternoon. Buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
Brooklyn Daily Standard Union - May 14, 1908
via Fulton History
The Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes is #358 in Melville's Sources (Northwestern University Press, 1987) by Mary K. Bercaw Edwards; not currently listed in "The Online Catalog of Books and Documents Owned, Borrowed and Consulted by Herman Melville" at Melville's Marginalia Online.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

1852 letter in the Panama Star--signed "Herman Melville"?

Harper's New Monthly Magazine - January 1859
It took five years to build The Panama Railroad, starting in 1850. Thousands of people died of malaria and cholera and other horrors:
"It was a hard road to build. The tropical fevers slaughtered the laborers by wholesale. It is a popular saying, that every railroad tie from Panama to Aspinwall rests upon a corpse. It ought to be a substantial road, being so well provided with sleepers—eternal ones and otherwise."  --Letter from Mark Twain in the Chicago Republican (August 23, 1868).
Construction of the entire line was not completed until 1855, but an 1852 item in the London Athenaeum (August 7, 1852) references a letter about "the first trip" on a completed segment, signed "Herman Melville." According to The Athenaeum, "the author of 'Omoo" endorsed the project and expected it to be finished sooner than it actually was.

Every now and then it is convenient for our readers that we should present in a few words and at one view a general idea of the progress of railway extension—this extension being one of the most powerful agents of peace, social prosperity, intellectual interchange, and civilization generally. Most important perhaps of all the iron ways now in course of construction is that at the isthmus which separates the ocean over which Columbus sailed from that which Nunez discovered. All other railways are local and provincial—this is of universal interest. A letter from Herman Melville, printed in the Panama Star, describes the first trip made on a portion of this line—that is, as far as the crossing of the river opposite San Pablo. The works, according to report, proceed without interruption; and the author of ‘Omoo’ expresses an opinion that they will be completed in about a year from this date.— --The Athenaeum, August 7, 1852.
Herman Melville was then in Pittsfield, not Panama. Melville's friend Robert Tomes did go to Panama, and did write about the new railroad--but not until 1855, after its completion.

Melville got Tomes's book (Sealts Number 528 in the catalog at Melville's Marginalia Online) as soon as it came out. Among various international themes that might have appealed to the poet in Melville as suitable for versifying, Hershel Parker has already suggested the Panama Railroad, without reference to anything in the Panama Star:
"Melville could have written with some confidence about the epic construction of the Panama Railroad with its uncountable sacrifice of human life, since he could have relied on his copy of the chronicle of that achievement written by his old friend Robert Tomes...." --Melville: The Making of the Poet; also the Historical Note in Herman Melville's Published Poems (Northwestern University and The Newberry Library, 2009).
Sailing to San Francisco with his brother on The Meteor, Melville wrote of Panama and the railroad in a letter to his son Malcolm:
"When we get to San-Francisco, I shall put this letter in the post office there, and you will get it in about 25 days afterwards. It will go in a steamer to a place called Panama, on the Isthmus of Darien (get out your map, & find it) then it will cross the Isthmus by rail road to Aspinwall or Chagres on the Gulf of Mexico; there, another steamer will take it, which steamer, after touching at Havanna in Cuba for coals, will go direct to New York; and there, it will go to the Post Office, and so, get to Pittsfield."  --Melville's Correspondence, edited by Lynn Horth (Northwestern University Press and The Newberry Library, 1993), page 349.
Melville himself rode the train across the Isthmus in November 1860, on his return trip from San Fransisco via Panama. He departed from Aspinwall on the steamship North Star, arriving in New York City on November 13, 1860. The New York Commercial Advertiser for November 14, 1860 identifies "Mr. Melville" and some of his more privileged companions including then Lieutenant Chauncey McKeever of the United States Army, traveling with his unnamed "servant"; and Lieutenant Robert MacFeely with "lady and servant." Like Melville and a number of their fellow travelers on the North Star, army officers McKeever and MacFeely had also made the trip from San Francisco to Panama aboard the Cortes.

New York Commercial Advertiser - November 14, 1860
If the 1852 account in the Panama Star was first-hand, the letter-writer was presumably an admirer using "Herman Melville" as a pseudonym. I have not found the letter as printed in the Panama Star, and I don't know who wrote it, really.

Only a guess:

In July 1852 American soldiers with the 4th Infantry (including the regiment of then Quartermaster Ulysses S. Grant) rode the train as far as it went, just to the Chagres River at Barbacoas. They and "300 civilian passengers" had arrived at Colón (formerly Aspinwall) on the steamship Ohio, as related by Aexander Saunders in his Short History of the Panama Railroad. Maybe "Herman Melville" was a soldier or sailor or other passenger on the Ohio.

Readex, a Division of Newsbank has the Panama Star in its database of Latin American newspapers, and Wilson Library at the University of Minnesota carries Newsbank/Readex, so I drove south to the Minneapolis campus this morning and checked. Alas, complete runs of the tri-weekly newspaper (published in Panama City on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays) for the year 1852 are only available via Readex in November and December. Nothing at all in June, July, and August 1852.

Herman C. Melville! Update 10/02/2018:

Lansingburgh Historical Society trustee and webmaster Christopher K. Philippo has discovered and kindly forwarded earlier British notices of an 1852 communication to the Panama Star from "Herman C. Melville," some of which specifically cite the Panama Star of July 6, 1852. Apparently the Athenaeum found the Panama Railroad item in a London newspaper and erroneously transformed "Herman C. Melville" into the author of Omoo.

From the London Express, August 2, 1852 (page 2 column 6):


Regarding the progress of the Isthmus Railway, the Panama Star of July 6 has the following:
From Mr. Herman C. Melville we learn, that the rail way cars made their first trip to the crossing of the river opposite San Pablo, on Sunday, the 4th inst., where the employées of the company did due honour both to the day and the occasion. Every week brings the railway nearer to us, and we may confidently expect to find the road, judging from present appearances, completed to this city before the expiration of the contract, August, 1853.
London Express - August 2, 1852
via NewspaperArchive
Reprinted in the London Daily News, August 3, 1852. Also in the Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser [Somerset, England] August 4, 1852: 4 cols 2-3; and Leicestershire Mercury [England] August 7, 1852: 2 col 1.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Not Mary Elizabeth Frye

Here's something different, though not entirely out of place, I hope, considering the number and relative popularity of Melvilliana posts on authorship questions.
As my article in the current issue of Notes and Queries (September 2018) demonstrates, the consoling poem known as Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep was originally written by Kansas native Clare Harner (1909-1977) and published under the title "Immortality" in the December 1934 issue of The Gypsy.

Clare Harner
The ubiquity of attributions to Mary Elizabeth Frye (1905-2004) in print and online formats, calls to mind the persistence with which the quote "We cannot live for ourselves alone...." has been falsely attributed (by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Garrison Keillor, for example) to Herman Melville.
On the internet right now, attributions of Clare Harner's "Immortality" to Mary Elizabeth Frye are sometimes accompanied by photographs wrongly supposed to represent the "Baltimore housewife and florist."
Newspaper columnist Richard K. Shull first attributed the poem to "Mrs. Mary Frye" in a story for The Indianapolis News (June 9, 1983). As portrayed by Shull, however, the admirable Mrs. Frye sounds more like a copyist than composer. And the extended version presented by Shull as "her original text" is certainly not the "modern definitive version" of "Do not stand at my grave and weep" given in the London Times obituary of Mary E. Frye.

Of two pictures most often identified by internet sources as Mary Elizabeth Frye of Baltimore, neither actually depicts the person claimed. Though intended to represent Mary Elizabeth Frye the homespun poet of "Do not stand at/by my grave and weep," these pictures are in fact photographs of other women, namely:
  1. Mary Frye of Dallas, Texas; and
  2. Mary Elizabeth Switzer
Mary Frye of Dallas has long been a leader in the home decor business.
"She is an active industry advocate, speaker and panelist at home furnishings seminars and conferences. A strong supporter of networking and a believer in servant leadership, she is dedicated to the mission of fostering connections to grow careers and build lasting relationships." --WithIt 2011 Professional Conference brochure
As president of Home Furnishings Independents Association in 2010, Mary Frye won the Chairman's Appreciation Award. The 2010 announcement of her award was accompanied by a smart, business-style photograph that has since been misidentified as a portrait of Mary Elizabeth Frye the reputed author of "Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep."
Mary Frye
via Furniture Today
This Mary Frye continues to excel in her field, recently winning a 2018 WOW Award for Mentoring. Professional articles in RetailerNOW by Mary Frye, executive vice president of the Home Furnishings Association may be found via the link below:
For an updated photo see Mary Frye on LinkedIn.

Another image misidentified online as Mary Elizabeth Frye of Baltimore is in fact a portrait of Mary Elizabeth Switzer (1900-1971), the distinguished government administrator and influential advocate of expanded services for persons with disabilities.

Mary Elizabeth Switzer (1900-1971)
via Smithsonian Institution
More about Mary Elizabeth Switzer:
  • Mary E. Switzer Facts 
I don't know why, but the bio of Mary Elizabeth Frye at Emily's Poetry Blog features an image of Margaret Thatcher.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Battle-Pieces in Gold Hill, Nevada

From the Gold Hill Daily News (Gold Hill, Nevada), October 1, 1866; found at GenealogyBank.

Gold Hill [Nevada] Daily News - October 1, 1866
The author of "Pypee," "Omoo," "Pierre" and "Moby Dick" has a reputation on both sides of the Atlantic as a writer of strange novels, but it is a new thing for him to appear as the author of a volume of poems. As such, however, he has ventured to come before the public with a beautifully-printed volume entitled "Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War," published by the Harpers. We have had barely time to give the book a hasty glance, but are satisfied that it is of a far different character from that of the most of the published "poetry of the war," which has been entailed on us along with the national debt and other afflictions.
When this notice of Melville's Battle-Pieces appeared, publisher Philip Lynch was also "sole editor" of the Gold Hill Daily News. (Alfred Doten came on as associate editor the next year, in November 1867.)
"According to the Nevada historian Myron Angel, under Lynch the Gold Hill Daily News gained a reputation as 'the best-printed [paper] of any on the Pacific Coast.'"
--Nevada Digital Newspaper Project
Mark Twain gave his Sandwich Islands lecture in Gold Hill on November 10, 1866, and afterwards endured a famous hold-up, perpetrated by his friends.

Gold Hill Daily News (Gold Hill, Nevada) - November 10, 1866
via GenealogyBank

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

To Daniel Shepherd


Come, Shepherd, come and visit me:
Come, we'll make it A[r]cady:
Come, if but for charity.
Sure, with such a pastoral name,
Thee the city should not claim.
Come, then, Shepherd, come away,
Thy sheep in bordering pastures stray.
Come, Daniel, come and visit me:
I'm lost in many a quandary:
I've dreamed, like Bab’lon’s Majesty:
Prophet, come expound for me. —
I dreamed I saw a laurel grove,
Claimed for his by the bird of love,
Who, elate with such dominion,
Oft cuffed the boughs with haughty pinion.
Indignantly the trees complain,
Accusing his afflictive reign.
Their plaints the chivalry excite
Of chanticleers, a plucky host:
They battle with the bird of light.
Beaten, he wings his northward flight,
No more his laurel realm to boast,
Where now, to crow, the cocks alight,
And — break down all the branches quite!
Such a weight of friendship pure
The grateful trees could not endure.
This dream, it still disturbeth me:
Seer, foreshows it Italy?
But other visions stir my head;
No poet-problems, fancy-fed —
Domestic prose of board and bed.
I marvel oft how guest unwined
Will to this farm-house be resigned.
Not a pint of ruby claret
     Cooleth in our cellar-bin;
And ripening in our sultry garret,
     Otard glows no flask within.
(Claret and otard here I name
Because each is your fav’rite flame:
Placed ’tween the two decanters, you,
Like Alexander, your dear charmers view,
And both so fair you find, you neither can eschew: —
That’s what they call an Alexandrine; }
Don’t you think it very damn’d fine?  }
— Brackets serve to fence this prattle,
Pound for episodic cattle. —
I said that me the Fates do cripple
In matter of a wholesome ‘tipple” —
Now, is it for oft cursing gold,
     For lucre vile,
The Hags do thus from me withhold
     Sweet Bacchus’ smile?
Smile, that like other smiles as mellow,
Not often greets Truth’s simple fellow: —
For why? Not his the magic dollar?
You should know, you Wall-Street scholar! —
Of Bourbon that is rather new
I brag a fat black bottle or two. —
Shepherd, is this such Mountain-Dew
As one might fitly offer you?
Yet if cold water will content ye
My word, of that ye shall have plenty.
Thanks to late floods, our spring, it brims, —
Will’t mind a crush * of goblet-rims?
I've told some doubts that sadly pose me:
Come then now straight resolve me.
Come, these matters sagely read,
Daniel, of the prophet breed.
Daniel Shepherd, come and rove —
     Freely rove the fairy dells;
The one the Housatonic clove,
     And that where genial friendship dwells.

Pittsfield July 6th 1859
 [--Herman Melville, as first published in Willard Thorp, Herman Melville: Representative Selections (American Book Company, 1938), pages 346-8.]
*The MS. may read “a crunch.” [Thorp's note.]
Where Thorp reads "bird of love," the 1993 Northwestern-Newberry Edition of Melville's Correspondence edited by Lynn Horth has "bird of Jove." Of old the Roman Eagle, as in Dante:
... Never fire,
With so swift motion, forth a stormy cloud
Leap'd downward from the welkin's furthest bound,
As I beheld the bird of Jove descend
Down through the tree; and, as he rush'd, the rind
Disparting crush beneath him; buds much more,
And leaflets.
--Purgatory Canto 32, trans. Henry Francis Cary (not marked in Melville's copy of The Vision, accessible via Melville's Marginalia Online).
But here in the poem "To Daniel Shepherd," Melville's "bird of Jove" signifies the Austrian Empire with its adopted symbol of the double-headed eagle, as as Dennis Berthold points out in American Risorgimento (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 2009), page 190.

According to the memorial at Find A Grave, Daniel Shepherd (1820-1870) was born on July 22, 1820 and died on the same day and month fifty years later. Thorp says that Shepherd returned to Saratoga Springs, New York in 1861. Confirmed, along with the coincidence of Shepherd's death on "his fiftieth birthday," by the obituary published in The Saratogian on Thursday, July 28, 1870.

The Saratogian (Saratoga Springs, New York) - July 28, 1870

Death of Daniel Shepherd.

It is our sad duty to record the death of DANIEL SHEPHERD, Esq., of this village, which occurred on Friday morning—his fiftieth birthday. Mr. Shepherd was a native of this county, a son of Hon. William Shepherd of Clifton Park, and inherited superior ability. He was a graduate of Union College, and distinguished for his literary attainments. After his graduation he came to this village, and studied law with Hon. W. A. Beach, and subsequently became connected with him in the practice of his profession. About this time he married Miss Mary R. White, a step-daughter of Dr. John Clarke, of the Congress Spring, and soon after formed a co-partnership with Hon. Chesseldon Ellis, of Waterford, at the close of that gentleman's career in Congress, and they removed to New York to engage in the legal profession. He resided in New York, continuing his legal practice, something less than fifteen years, and returned to Saratoga in the spring of 1861, since which time he has lived among us.

Mr. Shepherd was no ordinary man. His abilities were of a high order. He was a fine scholar, and a learned and able lawyer; but his tastes and culture were more distinctly literary than professional, and his energies were largely devoted to literary work. He was a successful writer of newspaper stories, and achieved considerable distinction as the author of a work entitled "Saratoga; a tale of 1787," in which he delineated frontier life with a masterly hand. He possessed a fine personal presence, was eminently social and genial in his nature, and with his bright and polished intellect he combined advantages which few young men possess in so high degree. But unfortunately, while in New York, he embarked in business enterprises that failed to realize his expectations, and involved him in difficulties, which proved too much for his sensitive nature, exerting a depressing influence upon his mind, and he has been almost entirely withdrawn from active life since his return to Saratoga. He has left a wife and four children (three sons and a daughter,) and a large number of relatives and personal friends, to mourn his death.
--The Saratogian (Saratoga Springs, New York), July 28, 1870 via Fulton History.
The Harvard copy of Saratoga: A Story of 1787 by Allan Melville's law partner and Herman's friend Daniel Shepherd is accessible online via Google Books:
This particular volume was inscribed by the author to S. D. Tillman. Also available online courtesy of HathiTrust Digital Library.

Another Google-digitized volume, this one evidently from Stanford, is accessible via The Internet Archive:

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Willard Thorp's Herman Melville: Representative Selections

A treasure of Melville's writings and Melville scholarship, valuable as ever eighty years on, and now more accessible than ever since getting Google-digitized. First published by the American Book Company in 1938, Willard Thorp's Melville offers a generous selection of poetry as well as prose, including the first publication of Melville's 1859 poem To Daniel Shepherd.

At least one copy (from University of California) is available online courtesy of
and another from Digital Library of India via
  • The Internet Archive

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Confidence-Man in Nashville

From The Nashville Patriot of May 9, 1857; found at GenealogyBank among newspapers added "within 3 months":

Nashville Patriot - May 9, 1857
THE CONFIDENCE-MAN; His Masquerade. By HERMAN MELVILLE, author of 'Piazza Tales,' 'Omoo,' 'Typee,' etc. New York: Dix, Edwards & Co.

The announcement of a new book from the pen of Herman Melville, is sufficient to attract attention. To those who have read Typee, and Omoo, no book authorized by Melville, can escape a reading. The subject of this work the "Confidence-man" is somewhat out of his usual vein. The scenes are taken from aboard a Mississippi steamer, and includes men and things as they occur and appear between St. Louis and New Orleans. It preserves a fine interest throughout.
As indicated on the masthead, The Nashville Patriot was then edited by William Henry Smith and  Ira P. Jones.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Poems by Herman Melville

Five "Poems by Herman Melville" were posthumously reprinted from Timoleon (1891) in The Century Volume 44 (May 1892) on pages 104-105. Arthur Stedman selected Melville's poems "Art," "Monody," "The Night-March," "The Weaver," and "Lamia's Song," presenting them with reference to both John Marr and Other Sailors and Timoleon as "the last fruit off an old tree." Stedman's 1892 collection receives brief mention in the Northwestern-Newberry Edition of Melville's Published Poems, in the editorial notes on "Monody." Previously cited also by Howard Vincent in Collected Poems and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. in The Early Lives of Melville (page 54), but little discussed in Melville scholarship. The Contents section gives them collectively as "POEMS" under "Poetry" and names "Herman Melville" as the author. 

Arthur Stedman receives due credit for the Introduction.

[THE death of Herman Melville, which took place in New York soon after midnight on the morning of September 28, 1891, was the signal for an outpouring of articles on the life and writings of an author whose vogue had temporarily subsided, partly through his own self-seclusion. Melville has rightly been called the pioneer of South Sea romance, and his "Typee " and "Omoo" gained an international reputation at an earlier date than the writings of Lowell, although both authors were born in the same year—1819. These books, with "Moby-Dick; or, the White Whale," soon became classics of American literature, and are likely to remain such. They have been continuously in print in England, and new American editions are now in course of publication. Melville's art of casting a glamour over scenes and incidents in the South Pacific, witnessed and experienced by himself, has not been exceeded even by Pierre Loti. The Civil War first turned his attention to lyrical writing, and many of his "Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War" (1866) obtained a wide circulation. Near the close of his life he had printed for private distribution a few copies of two little books of miscellaneous poems, the last fruit off an old tree, entitled "John Marr and Other Sailors" and "Timoleon." From these volumes the following pieces have been selected.

Arthur Stedman.]


IN placid hours well pleased we dream
Of many a brave, unbodied scheme;
But form to lend, pulsed life create,
What unlike things must meet and mate:
A flame to melt, a wind to freeze;
Sad patience, joyous energies;
Humility, yet pride and scorn;
Instinct and study; love and hate;
Audacity, reverence. These must mate
And fuse with Jacob's mystic heart,
To wrestle with the angel—Art.


TO have known him, to have loved him,
       After loneness long;
And then to be estranged in life,
       And neither in the wrong;
And now for Death to set his seal —
       Ease me, a little ease, my song!
By wintry hills his hermit-mound
       The sheeted snow-drifts drape,
And houseless there the snowbird flits
       Beneath the fir-trees' crape:
Glazed now with ice the cloistral vine
       That hid the shyest grape.


WITH banners furled, and clarions mute,
   An Army passes in the night;
And beaming spears and helms salute
   The dark with bright.

In silence deep the legions stream,
   With open ranks, in order true;
Over boundless plains they stream and gleam —
   No chief in view!

Afar in twinkling distance lost
   (So legends tell) he lonely wends,
And back through all that shining host
   His mandate sends.


FOR years within a mud-built room
   For Arva's shrine he weaves the shawl,
Lone wight, and at a lonely loom,
   His busy shadow on the wall.

The face is pinched, the form is bent,
   No pastime knows he, nor the wine;
Recluse he lives, and abstinent,
   Who weaves for Arva's shrine.


DESCEND, descend!
       Pleasant the downward way,
From your lonely Alp
With the wintry scalp
To our myrtles in valleys of May.
       Wend then, wend!
Mountaineer, descend!
And more than a wreath shall repay.
       Come — ah, come!
With the cataracts come,
That hymn as they roam,
How pleasant the downward way!

Herman Melville.

A few years later the Kansas City Star reprinted "Monody" (October 16, 1894); "The Night March" (November 14, 1894); and "Art" (May 17, 1895).

Kansas City Star - October 16, 1894
via GenealogyBank
Numerous digitized copies of The Century Volume 44 with "Poems by Herman Melville" are now available courtesy of HathiTrust Digital Library, including

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Pre-1844 attributions of "A Visit from St Nicholas" to Clement C. Moore

Washington Daily National Intelligencer - December 28, 1843
via GenealogyBank
Clement C. Moore contributed four poems to The New-York Book of Poetry (New York: George Dearborn, 1837), one of which was A Visit from St Nicholas.

Moore's authorship of the beloved Christmas poem (aka "The Night Before Christmas") was already established when he affirmed his prior claim in a letter to the editor of the New York American, published March 1, 1844.

Moore-New York American-1March1844
Clement C. Moore, letter dated February 27, 1844 to Charles King, editor of the New York American
New York American (March 1, 1844) via Wikimedia Commons
LINES TO ST. NICHOLAS.— The following note from our friend C. C. Moore, the author of those lines which every child among us delights to hear, about Christmas, and which parents with not less delight recite, brings to our notice, one of the boldest acts of plagiarism of which we have any recollection. We ask the National Intelligencer to have the goodness to insert Mr. Moore's noteand if possible to elucidate the mistake, if such it be, or fraud attempted in respect of such well known lines.
New York, Feb. 27, 1844 
Dear Sir—My attention was, a few days ago, directed to the following communication, which appears in the National Intelligencer of the 25th of December last.
"Washington, Dec. 22d, 1843.
Gentlemen—The enclosed lines were written by Joseph Wood, artist, for the National Intelligencer, and published in that paper in 1827 or 1828, as you may perceive from your files. By republishing them, as the composition of Mr. Wood you will gratify one who has now few sources of pleasure left. Perhaps you may comply with this request, if it be only for 'auld lang syne.'" 
The above is printed immediately over some lines, describing a visit from St. Nicholas, which I wrote many years ago, I think somewhere between 1823 and 1824, not for publication, but to amuse my children. They, however, found their way, to my great surprise, in the Troy Sentinel: nor did I know, until lately, how they got there. When "The New York Book" was about to be published, I was applied to for some contribution to the work. Accordingly, I gave the publisher several pieces, among which was the "Visit from St. Nicholas." It was printed under my name, and has frequently since been republished, in your paper among others, with my name attached to it.  
Under these circumstances, I feel it incumbent on me not to remain silent, while so bold a claim, as the above quoted, is laid to my literary property, however small the intrinsic value of that property may be. 
The New York Book was published in 1827 [1837]. 
Yours, truly and respectfully,   
Chas. King, Esq.
As stated in this 1844 letter, transcribed above, Moore was prompted to reassert his claim by a false attribution in the Washington National Intelligencer. When he wrote Charles King of the American on February 27, 1844, Moore did not know that the National Intelligencer had already corrected the error, as pointed out by the Washington editor on March 6, 1844. Moore subsequently included "A Visit from St. Nicholas" in his 1844 volume, Poems.

Below are listed some of the earliest known attributions of "A Visit from St. Nicholas" to Clement C. Moore, all made before Moore published his 1844 book of Poems with "A Visit from St. Nicholas" on pages 124-7.

"A few days since the editors of the New York Courier, at the request of a lady, inserted some lines descriptive of one of the Christmas visits of that good old Dutch saint, St. Nicholas, and at the same time applied to our Albany neighbors for information as to the author. That information, we apprehend, the Albany editors cannot give. The lines were first published in this paper. They came to us from a manuscript in possession of a lady in this city. We have been given to understand that the author of them belongs by birth and residence to the city of New York, and that he is a gentleman of more merit as a scholar and a writer than many of more noisy pretensions. We republish the lines in a preceding column just as they originally appeared, because we still think of them as at first, and for the satisfaction of our brethren of the Courier, one of whom, at least, is an Arcadian."  --Troy Sentinel, January 20, 1829; as quoted by Arthur James Weise in Troy's One Hundred Years (Troy, NY, 1891).
Deaths and Bereavement 1828-1830
Clement C. Moore's daughter Emily died in 1828, just six years old. In the year 1830 Moore lost his wife Eliza (d. 4 April 1830) and daughter Charity Elizabeth (d. 14 December 1830). Moore gave heartfelt poetic expression to his grief in a poem titled, To Southey. Any later recollection of Christmas joys experienced in 1822 when "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was originally composed would have been tempered by remembrance of lost loved ones.

New York American for the Country - April 9, 1830
On Sunday evening, after a long illness, which she endured with Christian resignation and fortitude, Catherine Eliza, wife of Clement C. Moore.

The friends and relations of the deceased, and of her husband, are respectfully invited to attend the funeral to-morrow afternoon, at 5 o'clock, from No. 1 Charlton-street. --New York American, Monday, April 5, 1830; reprinted in New York American for the Country on Friday, April 9, 1830.
New York Evening Post - December 15, 1830
On Tuesday, the 14th instant, Charity Elizabeth, second daughter of Clement C. Moore. The friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend her funeral on Thursday, at 1 o'clock, P. M., from No. 1 Charlton street.

1833-4 (New Year's Eve)
In a diary entry for December 31, 1833 Francis Prioleau Lee, a student at General Theological Seminary in New York City, describes a holiday fair in Morristown, New Jersey featuring
"a figure called St. Nicholas who was robed in fur, and dressed according to the description of Prof. Moore in his poem." --quoted by Stephen Nissenbaum in The Battle For Christmas, fn 85, page 345.
The following lines appeared in print for the first time—though very often copied since—in the Troy Sentinel of Dec. 23d, 1823, which paper we then conducted. They were introduced, on that occasion, with the following remarks; which, as they continue to be a true expression of our opinion of the charming simplicity and cordiality of the lines, as well as of our unchanged feelings toward the little people to whom they are addressed, we repeat them, only observing that although when we first published them, we did not know who wrote them, yet, not many months afterwards we learnt that they came from the pen of a most accomplished scholar and and estimable man, a professor in one of our colleges....--Ontario Repository and Freeman - December 28, 1836; reprinted the following week in the Auburn Journal and Advertiser on Wednesday, January 4, 1837.
New York American - Saturday, December 31, 1836
"As appropriate to the season, and because it has long circulated without a name, we also copy A Visit from St. Nicholas.--By Clement C. Moore." --New York American, December 31, 1836.
The lines which follow have been much admired, and have appeared in a variety of publications, but never, we believe, before under the name of the real author--CLEMENT C. MOORE. --The American Monthly Magazine for January 1837.
Vermont Mercury - December 22, 1837
 Alexandria Gazette (Alexandria, Virginia), December 25, 1837:

Alexandria [Virginia] Gazette - December 25, 1837

Washington National Intelligencer, December 25, 1837:
Found on

We present each of you, therefore, with a copy of the following beautiful little poem, every word of which is as true as anything you can find in Philip Quarle, the Arabian Knights, or those most authentick of all historical narratives, the Fairy Tales of John Smith. It is written by Professor Clement C. Moore, who, in stealing leisure from the gravest and most important studies, for so light and graceful a production, has set an example which austere wisdom should oftener imitate among its solemn disciples:

A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS  --The New-York Mirror, December 23, 1837

Fri, Jan 5, 1838 – Page 2 · The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee) ·
"CHRISTMAS. / A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS. / [BY CLEMENT MOORE.]" --Nashville, Tennessee Republican Banner, January 5, 1838.
Columbia Democrat (Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania) -  January 6, 1838
via GenealogyBank

"Poetry / A Visit from St Nicholas / By Professor Moore." --Columbia Democrat (Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania), January 6, 1838.

Boston Weekly Messenger - September 26, 1838


MR. EDITOR:--Having noticed strictures on this excellent picture in some of the public prints, which convince me that the authors were not acquainted with the particular attributes and offices of the Dutch Saint, I have obtained a copy of the lines written by Clement Moore, of New York, which may have suggested, and certainly served in some sort as a guide to the painter in his performance. Nothing can be more mirth-exciting than the look of the venerable dona-ferens;--all the incidents of the scene are introduced with accuracy and effect, and the story is told in language not to be misunderstood. I send you Mr. Moore's verses for publication.
P.  --Boston Weekly Messenger, September 26, 1838.
The Vision of Rubeta by Laughton Osborn criticizes "the nursery rhymes of Prof. Moore" as "nonsense" and "trash."
Natchez Weekly Courier (Natchez, Mississippi), December 28, 1838:
Fri, Dec 28, 1838 – Page 4 · The Natchez Weekly Courier (Natchez, Mississippi) ·


New York Commercial Advertiser - December 19, 1839
"THE POETS OF AMERICA, Illustrated by one of her Painters, designed as an Annual for 1840. The selections are entire pieces from the best authors.--...The Culprit Fay, by Drake; Song, from Fanny, by Halleck...A Visit from St. Nicholas, by Clement C. Moore...."  --New York Commercial Advertiser, December 19, 1839.
Alexandria Gazette - December 31, 1839
New York Weekly Whig - January 2, 1840
Kentucky Gazette (Lexington, KY), January 16, 1840:

Kentucky Gazette (Lexington, KY) - January 16, 1840
via Fulton History
Two 1840 anthologies correctly attribute "A Visit from St. Nicholas" to Clement C. Moore.
The Poets of America, edited by John Keese, credits "C. C. Moore" with authorship of "A Visit form St. Nicholas."

Another 1840 anthology, Selections from the American Poets (edited by William Cullen Bryant) reprinted "A Visit from St Nicholas" under the name of "Clement C. Moore."

From the Daily Cleveland Herald of December 24, 1840; reprinted in the Cleveland Herald and Gazette, December 30, 1840:

"This number contains two engravings. About the first, "St. Nicholas," designed by Mr. Ingham and beautifully engraved on wood by Mr. Roberts, so much has already been said by our worthy associate, Mr. Fanshaw, that nothing remains for us to add more than is contained in the following lines, written by C. C. Moore:
'Twas the night before New-Year, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse...."
--The New-York Mirror, January 2, 1841

Newark Daily Advertiser - January 2, 1841
 "The Brother Jonathan of this week is embellished, truly embellished with a capital engraving from Ingham's picture of Santa Claus, or St. Nicholas, in the act of descending a chimney from his sleigh, loaded with presents for the children's stockings--as graphically described in Professor Moore's Christmas poem. The mammoth sheet is well stored with a great variety of choice things. The picture alone is worth double the price of the paper."  --Newark Daily Advertiser, January 2, 1841
Philadelphia Daily Pennsylvanian - December 21, 1841
"A Visit from St. Nicolas" reprinted with credit to "Clement C. Moore" in The Constitutionalist [Bath, New York], December 22, 1841.
"KRISS KRINGLE'S BOOK.-- ... This is precisely the book for the young folks, stories, pictures and all, not forgetting the spirited lines by C. C. Moore, entitled "A Visit from St. Nicholas," which have been appropriately incorporated in this pretty and seasonable production."
Leesburg [Virginia] Genius of Liberty - December 25, 1841
We add below the following sprightly and popular effusion of an American poet: 
By C. C. MOORE. -- Leesburg Genius of Liberty (Leesburg, Virginia), December 25, 1841 via NewspaperArchive.


For the Maryland Republican.

MESSRS. EDITORS:--Every child has heard of St. Nicholas, and has kept awake many an hour to get a peep at him; but strange to tell, the little Dutchman persists in travelling only in the night, and always manages to fill the stockings of his good little children after their eyes are fast closed in sleep; thus it happens that very few can boast of having made his acquaintance. It seems, however, that one gentleman once had this good fortune. Children and parents are much indebted to that distinguished gentleman, (Prof. CLEMENT MORE, L. L. D. of New York,) for having given to the world such a beautiful and (as we may well suppose,) faithful description of a personage so universally clever, and of such eccentric modesty. We need not remind any one, old or young that this is the season when we may expect his annual visit. We wish him a prosperous voyage hither, and should be right glad if he would land first in our ancient and beautiful city. We have many large chimnies here, very convenient for him, with many a long stocking, the filling of which will materially lighten his pack. And in the mean time Messrs. Editors, let the children have, by way of antepast, the 199th edition of Prof. More's description of a visit from St. Nicholas, and oblige W....
--Maryland Republican (Annapolis, Maryland), December 17, 1842
Tarboro [North Carolina] Press, January 7, 1843
Washington Daily National Intelligencer - December 28, 1843
via GenealogyBank


Published in the Washington Daily National Intelligencer on December 28, 1843 (three days after the mistaken attribution of "A Visit from St. Nicholas" to Joseph Wood): 
Messrs. EDITORS: I perceive in your paper of the 25th instant that an extract from the beautiful little poem entitled "A Visit from St. Nicholas" is given to the pen of Jos. Wood. This is a mistake. It is well known to be the production of CLEMENT C. MOORE, of the city of New York, and is published as his in the volume of American Poems edited by John Keese.
Very respectfully, &c.
Related posts: