Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was a great American novelist. He wrote short stories and novels including "The Scarlet Letter", "The House of Seven Gables" and the "Twice Told Tales". His works are seen as a some of the most important works of early American history.

After graduating from Bowdoin College in Maine, he changed the spelling of his name from Hathorne to Hawthorne in order to distance himself from his grandfather who involved in the Salem Witch Trials. Then he spent some time working in a customhouse in Salem, Massachusetts. He met Sophia Peabody in 1838 and fell in love. He moved into a Transcendentalist Utopian community, not because he actually agreed with their teachings, but to save money to marry Sophia.

He later used material from his life there for his book, "The Blithedale Romance". He and Sophia were married in 1842. They enjoyed a long and happy life together. During his life he was friends with a lot of notable literary figures of his time including, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet Ellery Channing, Herman Melville (who dedicated "Moby Dick" to him), and Henry David Thoreau.

He was also a staunch supporter of President Franklin Pierce, from their early years together. Hawthorne wrote a sterling biography of his friend, Pierce, leaving out anything unsavory. He also met Abraham Lincoln.

At his death in 1864 he left behind his loving wife, Sophia, and their three children. His pallbearers were noted men of the age including Longfellow and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. He is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts on what is known as "Author's Ridge".

The House of the Seven Gables

"The House of the Seven Gables" is a Gothic novel written by the American author Nathaniel Hawthorne and published in 1851. The book was inspired by a gabled house in the town of Salem, Massachusetts that belonged to Hawthorne's cousin, Susanna Ingersoll and by Hawthorne's own knowledge of the part that his ancestors played in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The book saw quick success … [Read more...]

The Scarlet Letter

"The Scarlet Letter" is a tragic love story set in the time of the Puritan settlement around 1700 in Boston, Massachusetts. The story begins with a bundle of papers found in the attic of a customhouse in Salem, Massachusetts around 200 years later. The narrator is an unknown person who is about to lose his job as customhouse attendant when he finds the manuscript wrapped in cloth with a … [Read more...]