Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Melville Henry Cane


[dated on back of photograph: May 10 1926 N.E.A.]

Melville Cane was born in Plattsburgh, New York on April 15, 1879. His father was a merchant. Cane received an A.B. degree from Columbia in 1900 and his law degree, also from Columbia University, in 1903. During his college years, he wrote poetry and worked as a reporter for the New York Evening Post. Cane was admitted to the bar in 1903 and began his legal practice in New York city in 1905 with the law firm, Ernst, Cane and Berner and was primarily with the firm until his death in 1980. His special area of practice was copyright law. [Source: Melville Cane, All and Sundry: An Oblique Autobiography (New York: Harcourt, brace & World, 1968)]

Cane served as legal counsel to Sinclair Lewis, Thomas Wolfe, Upton Sinclair, and William Saroyan. He served on the board of directors of Harcourt, Brace & World (now Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.) and was a members of the Association of the Bar (New York City) and the Poetry Society of America, from which he was awarded a medal for his contributions to poetry.

Melville Cane


Melville Cane, January Garden (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1926)

__________, Behind Dark Spaces (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1930)

__________, Poems: New and Selected (New York: Harcourt Brace 1938)

__________, A Wider Arc, Poems (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company 1947)

__________, And Pastures New: A Collection of Poems (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1956)

__________, Bullet-Hunting, & Other New Poems (New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1960)

__________, To Build a Fire (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1963)

__________, So That it Flower, a Gathering of Poems (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1966)

__________, Eloquent April: New Poems & Prose (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1971)

__________, Snow Toward Evening (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1974)

__________, The First Firefly, New Poems & Prose (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974)


Melville Cane, All and Sundry, An Oblique Autobiography (New York: Harcourt Brace World, 1968)


Melville Cane, Making a Poem: An Inquiry into the Creative Process (New York: Harcourt Brace & World, 1953)(2nd ed. 1962)

Harry E. Maule & Melville H. Cane (eds.), The Man From Main Street: Selected Essays and Other Writings of Sinclair Lewis (London: Heinemann, 1954)

Melville Cane, John Farrar & Louise Townsend Nicholl (eds.), The Golden Year: The Poetry Society of America Anthology (1910-1960)(New York: Fine Editions Press, 1960)

Research Resources

Cane Papers
Lilly Library
Indiana University
Bloomington, Indiana

Melville Cane Papers
Manuscript & Archival Collections, Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Columbia University
New York