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Throughout American history very few authors have earned the right to be called great Herman Melville is one of these few His novels and poems have been enjoyed world wide for over a century and he has earned his reputation as one of the finest American writers of all time A man of towering talent with intellectual and artistic brilliance and a mind of deep insight into human motives and behavior it is certainly a disgrace that his true greatness was not recognized until nearly a generation after his death Born in the city of New York on August 1 1819 Melville was the third child and second son of Allan Melvilleit wasnt until Allans death in 1832 that the e at the end of Melville was added in order to make a more obvious connection with the Scottish Melville clan a wholesale merchant and importer then living in comfortable economic circumstances and of Maria Gansevoort Melvill only daughter of the richest man in Albany the respected and wealthy General Peter Gansevoort hero of the defense of Fort Stanwix during the American Revolution In total Allan and Maria had eight children On his fathers side his ancestry though not so prosperous as on his mothers was equally distinguished Major Thomas Melvill his grandfather was one of the Indians in the Boston Tea Party during the events leading to the war and who had then served his country creditably throughout the hostilities The Melvill family kept on their mantelpiece a bottle of tea drained out of Major Melvills clothes after the Tea Party as a momento of this occasion Herman attended the New York Male High School from about the age of seven until 1830 By that time Allan Melvills business had begun to fail due to his credit being overextended After futile attempts to re-establish himself he eventually found it necessary to accept the management of a New York
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