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The Best of Extracts A s a continuing feature in Leviathan, we shall present selected articles from the files of Extracts. ServingMelville scholars and enthusiasts for .over twenty-fiveyears, Extracts has published numerous important discoveries in the study of Melville’s life and works. As our first selection of The Best of Extracts, we offer Joyce Deveau Kennedy and Frederick J. Kennedy’s 1978 article on their discovery of Melville’s letter to Samuel Hay Savage. -The Editor Forward SomuelHoy Sovoge (1827-1901) From a print in the collection of Frederick and Joyce Kennedy. (A different image was used to illustrate the original appearance of “Herman Melville and Samual Hay Svate, 18471851 . Twenty-threeyears have elapsed since that summer in 1975 when we made thefirst ofa series of discoveries which brought to light a hitherto obscure Shaw family relative known up until then only for having witnessed the Bentley agreement for The Whale. In fact, we found Samuel Hay Savage, the nephew of Elizabeth Shaw Melville’s stepmotheu: Seven years younger than his step-cousin Elizabeth, he spent two years in the Shaw household as a toddler until his widower father remarried, and then came to live with them permanently at age twelve when hisfather died in 1839.We learned about Sam‘s character and life, as well as o f the Shaws and their circle, from the extensive and detailed correspondence he maintained and carefully preserved. Throughout his later periods of wandering and residence in the Mississippi Valley and in Central America, Sam’sfilial devotion to his step-family is reflected in the long and newsy letters he exchanged with Aunt Hope and Uncle Lemuel, and with his “sister”Elizabeth and his near-twin “brother”Lem,Ju: We found the first of Sam’s papers within the Samuel Phillips Savage Papers (five collections) at the Massachusetts Historical Society (Extracts 31, 33, and 34; September 1977, Februavy and May 1978, respectively). Internal evidence in these collections pointed to three additional large collections of Samuel Hay Savage5 papers still at that time in private hands. The process ofthat discovery is recounted in Extracts 43 (September 1980). Grants from the Canada Council A J O U R N A L O F M E L V I L L ES T U D I E S 8 9 T H E B E S T O F E X ~ R A C T S allowed us to travel to South Carolina to examine the papers of Helen Savage Edmunds and Florence Savage Blackwell, Sam's grandchildren; and of Lawrence Alexander Savage,Jz, his great-grandson. The results of these researches were published in Extracts 35 and 39 (September 1978 and September 1979). The earlier of these two, a report of the most significant find in the collections we examined, an exuberant letterfrom Herman Melville to Sam written in August 1851 recalling Sam's recent visit and bestowing philosophical advice on the young man in the phraseology of Ishmael, is the item reprinted here. Subsequently, Florence Savage Blackwell and Lawrence Alexander Savage donated their collections to the Massachusetts Historical Society. The late Helen Savage Edmunds' collection is in the hands of her son,]ohn B. Edmunds of Spartanburg, South Carolina. Attributions assigned in 1978 must therefore be changed asfollows. All lettersformerly attributed to FSB are now in the Samuel Hay Savage Papers of the Massachusetts Historical Society, excepting the letter written by Hope Savage Shaw to Samuel Hay Savage on 10 August 1851 which was not included in Florence Savage Blackwell's gift. The letter written by Samuel Hay Savage to Lemuel Shaw on 2 August 1847,formerly attributed to U S , Jz, is also now in the Samuel Hay Savage Papers. All other lettersformerly attributed to LAS,]z are now in the Massachusetts Historical Society's Savage Family Papers; the letters written by Samuel Hay Savage to Hope Savage Shaw on 28 December 1847,and by Lemuel Shaw,Jc to Samuel Hay Savage on 24 and 26 April 1849 are located in the "0versize"file o f that collection. All lettersfomerly with the attribution HSE are now the property ofJohn B. Edmunds. We are grateful toJohn B. Edmunds and Florence Blackwell for...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1750-1849
Print ISSN
1525-6995
Pages
pp. 89-90
Launched on MUSE
2013-05-29
Open Access
No
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