Herman Melville was born in New York City on August 1, 1819. He was the third child of eight. Herman went to school early in New York City. His dad used to travel a lot and used to tell him stories which sparked his love of adventure.
His father was always on boats and told stories about the giant waves and the ships breaking like sticks. His father also enjoyed talking about Liverpool also, being that it was one of his father's favorite places to visit. His father was an importer of French goods and became bankrupt and insane and he died when Melville was 12. When his dad died the family moved to a small town along the Hudson River and he stayed there until 1835 which is when he went to the Albany Classical School for a year or so.
Herman's mother was left alone to raise eight children. When Herman was 7 he had scarlet fever in and it left Melville with permanently weakened eyesight. Richard Henry Dana wrote a book called "Two Years Before the Mast." That book was published in 1840, and was at once talked of everywhere. Melville must have read it at the time. The next year after he read it he once more signed up for a ship, and on January 1, 1841, sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts harbor in the whaler Acushnet that was going for the Pacific Ocean and the sperm fishery. He didn't leave much information as to the events of this time, but he may of wrote "Moby-Dick" because of this time.
Melville decided to abandon the vessel when it got to the Marquesas Islands and when he was there he wrote "Type" and its sequel, "Ooo." After staying on the Marquesas Islands he shipped for Honolulu. He stayed there for four months and worked as a clerk. He joined a ship called which reached Boston and the continued stopping on the way at one of the Peruvian ports in 1844. While he was there he used his experiences to write "White Jacket " Herman Melville married Elizabeth Shaw on August 4, 1847. This was the end of all his travels on ships.
Herman Melville and his wife lived in New York City until 1850. In 1850 they bought a farmhouse at Pittsfield. Herman Melville stayed here for thirteen years and continued with his writing, and taking care of his. While he was here he wrote Putnam's Monthly entitled "I and My Chimney," another called "October Mountain", and he wrote the introduction for "Piazza Tales", which talked about Arrow Head and its surroundings. While he lived here he became neighbors with Nathaniel Hawthorne and the two became friends. It was actually Hawthorne that told Melville to make Moby Dick more of a story and not to have so many details.
When he lived there he began giving many lectures that were mostly about his travels in the Southern Seas. Herman had an illness that lasted a couple of months and he died at his home in New York City early in the morning on September 28, 1891.