When Herman Melville was 22
years old he signed on the Acushnet and sailed
out of New Bedford for a 3-year voyage to the
South Seas. His adventures on this voyage set the
scenes for his early books. In 1850, Herman
Melville moved his family from New York to
Pittsfield, seeking reprieve from city life and a
quiet place in which to write. He purchased an
18th century farmhouse which he named Arrowhead
and completed his most famous novel, Moby Dick.
Here in Pittsfield he also penned great works
such as Pierre, "The Confidence Man"
and "The Piazza Tales." Melville lived,
farmed and wrote at Arrowhead for thirteen years,
developing many close literary friendships with
other Berkshire authors including Nathaniel
Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, David Dudley
Field and the Sedgwick family.
Melville and his family returned to New York City
in 1863 but Arrowhead remained in the Melville
family until the 1920's.
Arrowhead is owned and operated by the Berkshire
Historical Society. The author's study, piazza,
the original fireplace from his short story
"I and My Chimney" and the restored
barn in which Melville and Hawthorne spent hours discussing their writings
are all open to the public. The Society has also
restored the North Meadow preserving the view of
Mount Greylock which was a major inspiration to
The Arrowhead Museum
shop offers a wide variety of Melville and county history related
books, cards and gifts at reasonable prices.