Herman Melville

On August 1, 1819, American novelist Herman Melville was born in New York City. He spent several years traveling the world’s oceans which in turn gave him material for his novels of the seas. Descended from Scottish and Dutch settlers of New York, who were part of the American Revolution, while one grandfather, Major Thomas Melvill was a member of the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Another grandfather, Gen. Peter Gansevoort was a friend of James Fenimore Cooper.
After several attempts at “normal” jobs and not succeeding for various reasons, he was back in Boston in 1844, married to Elizabeth Shaw in 1847.
He read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter and was so impressed with it he bought a farm near Hawthorn in 1850. His and Hawthorn’s friendship reanimated Melville’s creative energy. The problem was that Melville’s intense feelings of friendship were​ uncomfortable for the cooler Hawthorne. They ended up growing apart.
In 1851, Moby Dick was published in London as “The Whale”, while one month later in The United States as “Moby-Dick”.
His last years are fraught​ with tragedy, unhappiness, and withdrawal. He died in 1891 with only a single obituary notice.