Herman Melville's Moby Dick

Herman Melville was a boy of fourteen when he first visited Pittsfield in the summer of 1833, staying with his uncle Thomas at the farm later known as "Broadhall," now the Pittsfield Country Club. He would return several years later to work on that farm and in 1837 he taught for a term in the Sikes district school.

In 1850 Melville purchased a property adjoining the Robert Melville farmhouse, calling it Arrowhead. Here, together with his burgeoning family, he would spend thirteen of the most productive years of his life. Between 1850-1863 would appear not only Melville's masterwork, Moby Dick, but also the novels Pierre and The Confidence Man, as well as various short stories, among them the five Piazza TalesThe Apple-Tree Table and I and My Chimney.

During these years the author would also form friendships with Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and other Berkshire men of letters.

To learn more about Herman Melville, visit the Athenaeum’s Herman Melville Memorial Room. If you’re interested in visiting Melville’s home Arrowhead, you may use your library card to take advantage of our Museum Pass Program, which is generously funded by the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum.

Katherine Casey