Herman Melville Collection, 1846-[ongoing]


The Herman Melville Collection at the Newberry Library is one of the largest collections of Herman Melville material in the world (more than 6,100 items). Founded to support the work of the editorial staff of The Writings of Herman Melville, a joint project with Northwestern University to publish authoritative editions of Melville's works, the collection was built upon the personal library of materials compiled by Professor Harrison Hayford, General Editor of the project. Greatly augmented through purchases and gifts, the collection rapidly grew in number and scope to include nearly every edition and adaptation of Melville's work printed during his lifetime; thousands of editions and adaptations published from 1891 to the present, including editions of works in more than 40 languages, and a Moby Dick collection of more than 700 volumes; secondary sources on the study of Melville and his literary output; and sources (both textual and non-textual) documenting the popularity and importance of Melville's works to world literature and culture. Among the secondary sources, researchers can find more than 1,000 volumes of biography and criticism, a nearly comprehensive collection of English-language dissertations from 1930-1980, and works related to Melville's library and personal research. In addition to the traditional printed works and anthologies, the Collection includes children's books, comic books, Braille editions, audio recordings, illustrations, and works of art.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded

Year Added



The Newberry Library


  • Eric Nygren

Collection Size

6100 objects

Date Range

1846 - 2011

Geographic Scope

International in scope, the Melville Collection contains both American and international imprints, and numerous foreign language editions.