Posts Tagged ‘Herman Melville in the Village’

A popular 1840s literary salon on Waverly Place

October 12, 2011

Even in the 1840s, Greenwich Village was a literary hub.

No wonder a young teacher and poet named Anne Charlotte Lynch (left) moved there when she relocated from Rhode Island in 1845.

While trying to break into the periodicals of the day, Lynch began hosting literary salons at her house at 116 Waverly Place.

Extroverted and unpretentious, she attracted lots of big-name writers.

Edgar Allan Poe, living just over on West Third Street, was a regular; supposedly he read “The Raven” aloud one night.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (below), Herman Melville, and Horace Greeley were also among the frequent guests.

“She received every Saturday evening,” recalls an 1894 journal called Literary News. “American literature was just beginning to make itself felt, and her house became the weekly gathering-place for aspiring poets, writers, and novelists.”

After she married, her salon moved to her new home on West 37th Street. She ran it each week at least through her 60s, carving out an unpretentious, creative space that helped nurture American talent.