Skip to main content

Mrs. Melville And Mrs. Melville

May 2024
1min read


A number of people wrote us about an anomaly that occurred in the article on Melville and Hawthorne in our December, 1975, issue. Among those who picked it up was John Maass, whose piece on the Centennial Exhibition appears in this issue. He writes: “The 1820 portrait of a bold brunette on page 20 makes an effective contrast to the picture of the fair and prim Mrs. Hawthorne. But it does not depict Mrs. Herman Melville, who was born in 1822.”

True enough. The portrait we incorrectly identified as that of Melville’s wife is in fact of his mother, Maria Gansevoort Melville. Below, to set things straight, is a photograph of Mrs. Herman (Elizabeth Shaw) Melville.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this magazine of trusted historical writing, now in its 75th year, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate