Melville, Herman

  • Currently 0/5 Stars.
You may use the stars on the left to rate and leave feedback for the current article. No registration is required. Waiting for 5 votes 0.0 of 5 stars (0 votes) — Thanks for your vote

Please fill out the following optional information before submitting your rating:

Melville was born into a comfortably well-off merchant family in New York, but his father went bankrupt and insane, and died when he was 12 (other sources say 14), leaving his mother a widow with eight children. At 15 he was working, variously as bank clerk, farm laborer and teacher, before going to sea at 19 (or 18).

During a voyage in 1842 to the Marquesas in the South Pacific he and a friend jumped ship and for the next few years lived there among the Typee people, then "notorious cannibals." He was adopted by a chief and married his daughter, Pe'ue.

His experiences formed the background for his novel Typee (published 1846), but were generally believed to be fictional until a century later, when anthropologists working in the Marquesas found the entire incident corroborated in Typee oral history. Melville's other novels include Omoo, and Moby-Dick, often considered the finest novel ever written by an American.


Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97
Melville, Herman. Typee. Numerous editions
Sacks, Oliver. The Island of the Colour-Blind; and Cycad Island. (London: Macmillan, 1996), p. 250
Parker, Hershel. Herman Melville: A Biography. (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1996)


French Overseas Departments and Territories
19th Century
Trades (carpentry, Catering, Merchant Marine)
Sexuality: Gay Men, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transsexuals
Homelessness, Drifting
Adopted as an Adult
Honorific Adoptions
Others ("Strangers")
Wealthy, Famous, Noble or Divine Adoptive or Foster Families
Trans-Racial, Trans-Tribal, International or Trans-Cultural Adoption or Fostering
Customary or Traditional Adoption, Informal and Extra-Legal Care
Adoptees/Fosterees from Wealthy, Famous, Noble or Divine Birth Families
Parent(s) Died, Disappeared or Became Incapacitated
Visitor Comments (0) - Be the first to comment
Adding your comments contributes to the adoption community. Please keep all comments on topic and civil. Visitors are invited to comment and vote for or flag comments based on appropriateness and helpfulness. All comments must adhere to our commenting rules and are subject to moderation.

To see local Adoption resources, please select a location (U.S. only):

Need a Home Study?
Adoption Photolisting
Maurice (FL / 16 / M)
Maurice is a charming kid that likes sports. Caregivers report he likes to help younger children learn to play sports and can often be found outside with a ball in his hand. He... [more]
Parent Profiles
We are excited to have the opportunity to grow our family through adoption. We hope you will review our profile and give us a chance to share our hearts and lives with you. [more]
Directory of Adoption Professionals
Find a professional
for all of your adoption needs including:

Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of

Settings Help Feedback
Template Settings
Width: 1024     1280
Choose a Location:
Choose a Theme: