Richard A. Melville papers
Scope and Content Note
The collection is comprised of correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, press clippings, publications, and typescripts related to Melville's work in international relations and finance, his long and multifaceted relationship with Cambodia, and his interest in the Khting Vor, a mythical bovine thought to inhabit Cambodia and Vietnam which he helped to debunk as a hoax. There is material related to Melville's time in the Foreign Service, including several photo albums of his work with the hill tribes and of his hunting trips; many of these images were published by Melville in his 2000 book "A Northeast Forest." The collection also includes material documenting his long relationship with Norodum Sihanouk as both friend and advisor, and material on Melville's work to protect Cambodian antiquities.
The Personal series includes correspondence with family and friends, including many letters about Agora, a proposed literary magazine that never came to fruition. Melville, working with two partners, William Watt and Boylston Adams Hinds, secured the backing of such literary luminaries as Ezra Pound, Louis Mumford, Wallace Fowlie, and Caresse Crosby to serve on the editorial board and contribute articles to this venture. This series also contains documentation of Melville's philanthropic and volunteer endeavors, including his work on the board of Bates College and of The Johns Hopkins University.
- 1953-2003, undated
- Melville, Richard A., 1932-2005 (Person)
Material in the Personal series may only be consulted with the permission of Carlos Melville. Please contact the Director for additional information.
Confidential memos and resumes in Melville's files on the United Nations Development Programme in China are restricted. Please contact the Director for additional information.
The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.
Richard A. Melville was born in September 15, 1932 in Massachusetts. He graduated from Bates College in 1954 and received an M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University. He married Maria-Angela Garcia-Martinez and had three children, Thomas, Andrew, and Charles.
From 1959 to 1963 Melville served as a U.S State Department Foreign Service officer in Laos and Cambodia. Melville then began a career in international banking, working first for Irving Trust Company and later becoming the President and CEO of Allied Bank International in New York. He was the principal author and a major advocate of the International Banking Act which was passed by Congress in 1978. From 1979 to 1998, he served as the personal financial advisor to Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia. In 1991 to 1998, he operated an investment consulting firm in Hong Kong. He also served as an advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Trade of the People's Republic of China and helped to bring "capitalism with a socialist face" to mainland China.
Many years after living in Cambodia, Melville published "Northeast Forest: Field Notes on the Hilltribes and Fauna of Cambodia, 1959-1962." He was also interested in cryptozoology, the study of legendary, sometimes mythical, animal species, and used his first hand knowledge of Cambodian wildlife to demystify the "khting vor," a purported snake-eating cow residing in Cambodia and Vietnam.
Melville was active in many organizations. As a volunteer with the Asia Society, he fought to protect Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple complex from U.S. bombs during the Vietnam War. From 1976 to 1989, he served as a Trustee of Bates College. At Johns Hopkins, he was a trustee of both the University and the hospital, and served on the advisory council of the School of Advanced International Studies. He also was a trustee of the Tuxedo Park School, president of the board of Round Top Center for the Arts, and president of the Friends of Pemaquid Light. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Economic Club of New York, and the Newcomen Society. He died January 1, 2005 in Bristol, Maine.
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Language of Materials
Richard A. Melville (1932-2005) served in Laos and Cambodia from 1959-1963 as a U.S State Department Foreign Service officer. He later pursued a career in international banking and finance, serving as President and CEO of Allied Bank International in New York and consulting with the United Nations Development Programme in China. He was the principal author of the International Banking Act (1978) and from 1979 to 1998, served as the personal financial advisor to Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia. The collection is comprised of correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, press clippings, publications, and typescripts related to his work, as well as his efforts to preserve Cambodian antiquities and his research about the Khting Vor, a mythical bovine thought to inhabit Cambodia and Vietnam which he helped to debunk as a hoax. Of particular interest are several albums of photographs Melville took while a Foreign Service officer of Cambodian hill tribes and hunts and material documenting his long relationship with Norodum Sihanouk as both friend and advisor.
Organization and Arrangement
The collection is divided into four series: I. Cambodia; II. International relations and finance; III. "Khting Vor"; and IV. Personal papers.
All series are in alphabetical order.
Acquisition and Custody Information
Gift of Richard A. Melville, 2003. Accession No.: 058-03-01.
Initial arrangement by Chris Beam.
Final arrangement and description by Kat Stefko, 2006.
- Allied Bank International
- Banks and banking, International
- Cambodia -- Antiquities
- Diplomatic and consular service, American
- International finance
- International relations
- Melville, Richard A., 1932-2005 -- Archives
- Norodom Sihanouk, Prince, 1922-2012
- United Nations Development Programme (China)
- United States. Foreign Service
- Guide to the Richard A. Melville papers, 1953-2003, n.d.
- Edited Full Draft
- Kat Stefko
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
- Description is in: English
- Edition statement