Melville left scores of unfinished works in manuscript when he died, most of which were unpublished in his lifetime. The bulk of his surviving literary manuscripts—among them Weeds & Wildings and Billy Budd, his three travel journals, and some correspondence—are located at Harvard’s Houghton Library. A three-chapter fragment of Melville’s working draft of Typee, a revised fair-copy of his review “Hawthorne and His Mosses,” and hundreds of Melville and Gansevoort Family letters are located at the New York Public Library.

MEL has partnered with Houghton and NYPL in arranging for the digitization of Melville manuscripts. Images are processed through MELCat and transcribed in TextLab. The TextLab base version transcription, diplomatic transcription, and revision narrative annotation are then uploaded to Juxta Editions or FairCopy for further textual and contextual annotation and formatting.

Manuscripts may be viewed in their editorial platforms. Or you may view displays of MEL’s collection of literary and related documents by clicking the desired link.

Billy Budd Manuscript sample