Sunday, October 11, 2015

"Young Man Eloquent": Gansevoort Melville in New York, October 1844

On this day 171 years ago, Herman Melville's older brother Gansevoort was in Auburn on his whirlwind speaking tour of western New York state. Schenectady Democrats looked forward to the appearance of this "eloquent and powerful speaker" in their city on Thursday, October 17, 1844. Here is one notice of Gansevoort's schedule of stops, published in the Schenectady Reflector on Friday Morning, October 11, 1844.

Schenectady [New York] Reflector / October 11, 1844
Jay Leyda's Melville Log (Vol. 1, 185-7) gives snippets from local newspapers describing Gansevoort's reception. Hershel Parker amplifies nicely in Herman Melville: A Biography (V1.327-8). As Parker explains in his chapter titled "Home but Not Home: October 1844," Herman Melville had arrived in Boston on the frigate United States on October 3rd but was not formally discharged until October 14th.

The write-up of Gansevoort's Schenectady speech did not appear in the Reflector until Friday, October 25, 1844:
Schenectady [New York] Reflector / October 25, 1844
Both Schenectady items may be found in the online archives of historical newspapers at Genealogy Bank.

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