Visitors to Google have doubtless noticed that today is Moby-Dick day, in which we celebrate the publication of one of the greatest works of American literary art. What few readers of Melville’s great novel remember, if they ever knew it, is that the story itself is not entirely original. It was based on real reports of a white whale, whom sailors named “Mocha Dick,” that actually did roam the Pacific mashing boats to splinters in the early nineteenth century. The account of the whale that Melville read, and that set him to furiously scribbling, appeared in the Knickerbocker magazine for May, 1839.

And because Dr. Boli loves a good sea story as much as the next man, and possibly even better than the man after that, he has found a copy of that original publication for you, his esteemed readers.

Mocha Dick: or the White Whale of the Pacific: A Leaf from a Manuscript Journal. By J. N. Reynolds, Esq., in the Knickerbocker for May, 1839.

Moby-Dick and other works by Melville may be found in Dr. Boli’s expanding on-line library, which, though it is still in early development, may reward the the literary visitor with unexpected treasures.