Herman Melville in Westport?
Did Herman Melville ever visit Westport? We will probably never know, but the following item from The Melville Log (Edited by Jay Leyda, NY:Gordian Press, 1969) suggests that he may have: “NEW YORK Late April? M writes to Henry Willcox in Westport. (We are looking out for Tom to return every day his ship [Theophilus Chase] has been reported in the papers several times lately as homeward bound and Herman wrote to the owner at Westport and received answer that he looked for the ship the first of May. That has already past and we are daily expecting a letter to announce her actual arrival. Then Herman will have to go over to Westport for Tom and see that he is regularly discharged and paid, and bring him home . . . As you may suppose Mother [Melville] is watching and counting the days with great anxiety for he is the baby of the family and his mothers pet. – (Elizabeth Melville to her step-mother, May 5) The Theophilus Chase returned on May 6.
We thank Werner Berthoff, Professor of English Literature at Harvard and former President of the Melville Society and a summer resident of Westport for providing us with information about Melville’s possible visit here.