On this day in 1851, Moby-Dick, a novel by Herman Melville about the voyage of the whaling ship Pequod, is published by Harper & Brothers in New York. Moby-Dick is now considered a great classic of American literature and contains one of the most famous opening lines in fiction: “Call me Ishmael.” Initially, though, the book about Captain Ahab and his quest for a giant white whale was a flop.
Herman Melville was born in New York City in 1819 and as a young man spent time in the merchant marines, the U.S. Navy and on a whaling ship in the South Seas. In 1846, he published his first novel, Typee, a romantic adventure based on his experiences in Polynesia. The book was a success and a sequel, Omoo, was published in 1847. Three more novels followed, with mixed critical and commercial results. Melville’s sixth book, Moby-Dick, was first published in October 1851 in London, in three volumes titled The Whale, and then in the U.S. a month later. Melville had promised his publisher an adventure story similar to his popular earlier works, but instead, Moby-Dick was a tragic epic, influenced in part by Melville’s friend and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, neighbor, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose novels include The Scarlet Letter.
After Moby-Dick‘s disappointing reception, Melville continued to produce novels, short stories (Bartleby) and poetry, but writing wasn’t paying the bills so in 1865 he returned to New York to work as a customs inspector, a job he held for 20 years.
Melville died in 1891, largely forgotten by the literary world. By the 1920s, scholars had rediscovered his work, particularly Moby-Dick, which would eventually become a staple of high school reading lists across the United States. Billy Budd, Melville’s final novel, was published in 1924, 33 years after his death.
Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet.
He was born in New York City on the 1st of August 1819.
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is a novel was written by Herman Melville, it was first published in 1851.
Moby-Dick is considered to be one of the Great American Novels and a treasure of world literature.
– About Moby-Dick:
The story of Moby-Dick tells of the adventures of wandering sailor Ishmael, and his voyage on the whaleship Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab.
Ishmael soon learns that Ahab has one purpose on this voyage: to seek out Moby Dick, a ferocious, enigmatic white sperm whale.
In a previous encounter, the whale destroyed Ahab’s boat and bit off his leg, which now drives Ahab to take revenge.
Herman Melville Melville died at his home in New York City early on the morning of September 28, 1891, age 72.
When he died, he was almost completely forgotten. It was not until the “Melville Revival” in the early 20th century that his work won recognition, especially Moby-Dick, which was hailed as one of the literary masterpieces of both American and world literature.
Moby Dick; Or The Whale
Bartleby, the Scrivener – A Story of Wall-Street
Typee, a Narrative of the Marquesas Islands
The White Jacket
Billy Budd & Other Stories (Wordsworth Classics)
Pierre; or The Ambiguities
The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade
– Movies about Moby-Dick:
There have also been several movies created about Moby-Dick
The Sea Beast (1926) – John Barrymore as Captain Ahab
Moby Dick (1930) – John Barrymore as Captain Ahab
Moby Dick (1956) – Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab
Moby Dick (1978) – Jack Aranson as 13 characters
Moby Dick (1998) – Patrick Stewart as Captain Ahab
Moby Dick (2011) – William Hurt as Captain Ahab
On This Day …Born on October 16, 1854 in Dublin, Irish writer Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde (1854) Wilde was an Irish poet , novelist, and playwright who mocked social conventions and scandalized English society with his unorthodox ideas and conduct. He is best known for his sophisticated, witty plays, among them Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest , as well as his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest, challenged Victorian morality in his writing and life, and was infamously imprisoned for being gay
In 1957, President Eisenhower sent Congress a proposal for civil rights legislation.
The result was the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.
The new act established the Civil Rights Section of the Justice Department and empowered federal prosecutors to obtain court injunctions against interference with the right to vote. It also established a federal Civil Rights Commission with authority to investigate discriminatory conditions and recommend corrective measures. The final act was weakened by Congress due to lack of support among the Democrats.
Cabinet Paper – The Civil Rights Program – Letter and Statement by the Attorney General, April 10, 1956 [19 pages] [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12090725]
Press Release, Statement of the Attorney General on the Proposed Civil Rights Legislation Before The Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights of the Senate Judiciary Committee, February 14, 1957 [22 pages][E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167080]
Fact Paper – The Administration and Civil Rights Legislation, March 27, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167051]
Memorandum, E. Frederic Morrow to Sherman Adams, July 12, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167063]
Letter, Val Washington (RNC) to DDE, July 18, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12023121]
Press Release, Republican National Committee, August 7, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12023122]
Letter, William P. Rogers to Joseph P. Martin, August 9, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12090722]
Press Release by Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, August 30, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167069]
Civil Rights Act of 1957 [Record Officer Reports to President on Pending Legislation, Box 111, Civil Rights HR 6127; NAID #12171136]
Report, Executive Branch Cooperation with the Commission on Civil Rights, February 27, 1959 (outlines the Commission’s authority, duties, responsibilities and actions) [19 pages] [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 10, Civil Rights Commission; NAID #12171139]
Pamphlet, The Commission on Civil Rights [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167074]
resources ~ eisenhowerarchives.gov