The Melville Society

Established in 1945, the Melville Society is one of the oldest international single-author societies with over 400 individual and institutional members. This non-profit organization strives to facilitate and enhance interaction throughout the world concerning the life, associates, works, reputation, and influence of nineteenth-century American novelist and poet Herman Melville (1819-1891). While largely an academic organization, the Melville Society welcomes all readers of Melville. The Society's editorial office, located at Hofstra University, publishes Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies. (The research newsletter Melville Society Extracts is no longer printed separately and now appears as a regular department in each issue of Leviathan.)

The Society's Executive Committee, openly elected by all members, consists of the Executive Secretary (Mary K. Bercaw Edwards), Associate Secretary for Programs and Conferences (Joseph Fruscione), Treasurer (Gerard McGowan), Editor (John Bryant), Associate Editor (Wyn Kelley), Development Director (Dennis Berthold), and Representatives to the Melville Society Cultural Project (Robert K. Wallace and Christopher Sten), all of whom serve three-year terms, as well as the President (currently Robert Milder) and Program Chairs (for MLA and ALA panels), who are elected annually. Click on the link for a list of our past presidents, executive secretaries, treasurers, and editors. The Executive Committee coordinates the Society's programs, publications, archive, membership roles, business, and finances. For further governance details, see our By-Laws.

The Society meets twice a year. Its main business meeting is conducted each December at the Modern Language Association convention, and programs are also conducted in late May at the American Literature Association conference. In addition, the Society sponsors special programs at venues related to Melville's life. In 1991 we conducted a centennial observation of Melville's death in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (where Melville wrote Moby-Dick) and in New York City (where Melville was born and died). In 1997 the Society held its first International Conference in Volos, Greece, and it has held additional international conferences at Mystic Seaport (1999), Hofstra University (2001), Lahaina, Maui (2003), the New Bedford Whaling Museum (2005), Szczecin, Poland (2007), and Jerusalem (2009).

The Melville Society Cultural Project (MSCP) organizes programs and events for community outreach. In conjunction with the New Bedford Whaling Museum and Kendall Institute, it sponsors our annual Moby-Dick Marathon, the Melville Lyceum lecture series, the Melville Archive (a growing collection of primary and secondary books) and its annual Melville Archive Fellowship, as well as the Archive's Book Donation program, which supplies texts to foreign nations. MSCP also sponsors an annual Melville Birthday Lecture at Arrowhead, Melville's farmhouse in the Berkshires.

The Society also gives its support to the Melville Electronic Library (MEL), an effort to create a "critical archive" of Melville and Melville-related materials online.

For information concerning Melville Society programs and projects, please contact:

Mary K. Bercaw Edwards
P. O. Box 367, Mystic, CT 06255
Phone: 860-572-5302, ext. 4027
Fax: 860-572-5329 (Attn. Mary K. Bercaw Edwards)

To join the Melville Society, and to receive Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies three times a year, send your $25 check (made out to the Melville Society) to our treasurer:

Gerard McGowan
English Department
Bldg. 607 Cullum Road
West Point, NY 10996

Return to Melville Society Main Page.