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Hawthorne at Salem

Buildings & Houses

The Old Manse

The Old Manse: Introduction

The Old Manse in Concord
The Old Manse in Concord (photography by Terri Whitney)
 
After Nathaniel Hawthorne married Sophia Peabody on July 9, 1842, in Boston, the couple left by carriage for Concord. They moved into the gray frame house Hawthorne referred to as The Old Manse in 1846 in his collection of short stories, Mosses from an Old Manse. The Hawthornes rented the house which was built c. 1770 by Rev. William Emerson for his wife, Phebe. When Emerson died in 1776, Phebe married Ezra Ripley, and they remained in the house. Ezra Ripley died in 1841, and the Old Manse was available for rent by the Hawthornes who lived there until 1845.
During their residence in the Old Manse, they had their first child, Una, who was born on March 3, 1844. In 1845, the Hawthornes left Concord for Salem after being unable to pay the rent on The Old Manse for several months and because the Ripleys wished to return to the house. To save money, the Hawthornes moved to 12 Herbert St. where they lived with the Salem Hawthornes.

The Emerson-Ripley descendants owned the house until 1939 when it was sold to The Trustees of Reservations; it is this organization which owns and maintains the house today. Among the furnishings still in The Old Manse, which is open to tourists, is the desk at which Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote. Also at the Manse is a re-creation of the vegetable garden which Henry David Thoreau planted for the Hawthornes before they arrived; the garden is based on the journals of Hawthorne and George Bradford.

Literature Related to the Old Manse: Introduction

The Old Manse in Concord
The Old Manse in Concord (photography by Terri Whitney)
 
In the summer of 1842 when Hawthorne first moved to The Old Manse with his bride, he did not do any writing. In the fall, however, he returned to magazine writing, publishing tales and sketches in the Democratic Review and "Little Daffydowndilly" in the Boys' and Girls' Magazine. In 1845 a second edition of Twice-told Tales was published, and in that same year Journal of an African Cruiseappeared, a travel book by Horatio Bridge that was edited by Hawthorne. Mosses from an Old Manse was first published as a two volume set in 1846; it includes many of the short stories and essays written by Hawthorne in the second floor study of The Old Manse.

Original Documents Related to The Old Manse

 

Masthead of <i>Concord Freeman</i> newspaper, July 11, 1845
Masthead of Concord Freeman newspaper, July 11, 1845
This issue of the Concord Freeman contains the announcement of the suicide drowning of Martha Hunt (courtesy of Concord Free Public Library)
Announcement of suicide drowning of Martha Hunt from <i>Concord Freeman</i>, July 11, 1845
Announcement of suicide drowning of Martha Hunt from Concord Freeman, July 11, 1845
 (courtesy of Concord Free Public Library)
Masthead of <i>The Concord Freeman</i>vol. XI from August 1, 1845 which contains the obituary of Martha Hunt
Masthead of The Concord Freemanvol. XI from August 1, 1845 which contains the obituary of Martha Hunt 
Hawthorne was living at the Old Manse when he was called to help look for Martha Hunt, a woman who drowned in the Concord River. This event likely inspired the drowning scene in The Blithedale Romance. (courtesy of Concord Free Public Library)
Obituary (1) for Martha Hunt from <i>The Concord Freeman</i>vol. XI from August 1, 1845
Obituary (1) for Martha Hunt from The Concord Freemanvol. XI from August 1, 1845 
Hawthorne was living at the Old Manse when he was called to help look for Martha Hunt, a woman who drowned in the Concord River. This event likely inspired the drowning scene in The Blithedale Romance. (courtesy of Concord Free Public Library)
Obituary (2) for Martha Hunt from <i>The Concord Freeman</i>vol. XI from August 1, 1845
Obituary (2) for Martha Hunt from The Concord Freemanvol. XI from August 1, 1845
Hawthorne was living at the Old Manse when he was called to help look for Martha Hunt, a woman who drowned in the Concord River. This event likely inspired the drowning scene in The Blithedale Romance. (courtesy of Concord Free Public Library)
Obituary (3) for Martha Hunt from <i>The Concord Freeman</i>vol. XI from August 1, 1845
Obituary (3) for Martha Hunt from The Concord Freemanvol. XI from August 1, 1845
Hawthorne was living at the Old Manse when he was called to help look for Martha Hunt, a woman who drowned in the Concord River. This event likely inspired the drowning scene in The Blithedale Romance. (courtesy of Concord Free Public Library)
Obituary (4) for Martha Hunt from <i>The Concord Freeman</i>vol. XI from August 1, 1845
Obituary (4) for Martha Hunt from The Concord Freemanvol. XI from August 1, 1845
Hawthorne was living at the Old Manse when he was called to help look for Martha Hunt, a woman who drowned in the Concord River. This event likely inspired the drowning scene in The Blithedale Romance. (courtesy of Concord Free Public Library)
Obituary (5) for Martha Hunt from <i>The Concord Freeman</i>vol. XI from August 1, 1845
Obituary (5) for Martha Hunt from The Concord Freemanvol. XI from August 1, 1845
Hawthorne was living at the Old Manse when he was called to help look for Martha Hunt, a woman who drowned in the Concord River. This event likely inspired the drowning scene in The Blithedale Romance. (courtesy of Concord Free Public Library)
Obituary (6) for Martha Hunt from <i>The Concord Freeman</i>vol. XI from August 1, 1845
Obituary (6) for Martha Hunt from The Concord Freemanvol. XI from August 1, 1845
Hawthorne was living at the Old Manse when he was called to help look for Martha Hunt, a woman who drowned in the Concord River. This event likely inspired the drowning scene in The Blithedale Romance. (courtesy of Concord Free Public Library)
Obituary (7) for Martha Hunt from <i>The Concord Freeman</i>vol. XI from August 1, 1845
Obituary (7) for Martha Hunt from The Concord Freemanvol. XI from August 1, 1845
Hawthorne was living at the Old Manse when he was called to help look for Martha Hunt, a woman who drowned in the Concord River. This event likely inspired the drowning scene in The Blithedale Romance. (courtesy of Concord Free Public Library)
Obituary (8) for Martha Hunt from <i>The Concord Freeman</i>vol. XI from August 1, 1845
Obituary (8) for Martha Hunt from The Concord Freemanvol. XI from August 1, 1845
Hawthorne was living at the Old Manse when he was called to help look for Martha Hunt, a woman who drowned in the Concord River. This event likely inspired the drowning scene in The Blithedale Romance. (courtesy of Concord Free Public Library)
Obituary (9) for Martha Hunt from <i>The Concord Freeman</i>vol. XI from August 1, 1845
Obituary (9) for Martha Hunt from The Concord Freemanvol. XI from August 1, 1845
Hawthorne was living at the Old Manse when he was called to help look for Martha Hunt, a woman who drowned in the Concord River. This event likely inspired the drowning scene in The Blithedale Romance. (courtesy of Concord Free Public Library)
Obituary (10) for Martha Hunt from <i>The Concord Freeman</i>vol. XI from August 1, 1845
Obituary (10) for Martha Hunt from The Concord Freemanvol. XI from August 1, 1845
Hawthorne was living at the Old Manse when he was called to help look for Martha Hunt, a woman who drowned in the Concord River. This event likely inspired the drowning scene in The Blithedale Romance. (courtesy of Concord Free Public Library)
Obituary (11) for Martha Hunt from <i>The Concord Freeman</i>vol. XI from August 1, 1845
Obituary (11) for Martha Hunt from The Concord Freemanvol. XI from August 1, 1845
Hawthorne was living at the Old Manse when he was called to help look for Martha Hunt, a woman who drowned in the Concord River. This event likely inspired the drowning scene in The Blithedale Romance. (courtesy of Concord Free Public Library)
Obituary (12) for Martha Hunt from <i>The Concord Freeman</i>vol. XI from August 1, 1845
Obituary (12) for Martha Hunt from The Concord Freemanvol. XI from August 1, 1845
Hawthorne was living at the Old Manse when he was called to help look for Martha Hunt, a woman who drowned in the Concord River. This event likely inspired the drowning scene in The Blithedale Romance. (courtesy of Concord Free Public Library)

Images Related to The Old Manse in Concord

The Old Manse in Concord
The Old Manse in Concord 
The Old Manse in Concord where Nathaniel and Sophia moved after they were married. Eventually they were unable to pay their rent and were asked to leave.  (photography by Terri Whitney)
The Old Manse, illustration from frontispiece of Mosses from an Old Manse, from <I>Hawthorne's Works, vol. 2</I>
The Old Manse, illustration from frontispiece of Mosses from an Old Manse, from Hawthorne's Works, vol. 2 
from the 1882 Riverside Press 15 volume edition of Hawthorne's works published by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. in Boston  (courtesy of Halldor F. Utne)
Emerson's \"Old Manse,\" Concord, MA
Emerson's "Old Manse," Concord, MA
Emerson's "Old Manse," Concord, MA (Photography by Joseph R. Modugno)
Rear View of Emerson's \"Old Manse,\" Concord, MA
Rear View of Emerson's "Old Manse," Concord, MA
 (Photography by Joseph R. Modugno)
Side View and Gardens of Emerson's \"Old Manse,\" Concord, MA
Side View and Gardens of Emerson's "Old Manse," Concord, MA
 (Photography by Joseph R. Modugno)
Gardens at Emerson's \"Old Manse,\" Concord, MA
Gardens at Emerson's "Old Manse," Concord, MA
 (Photography by Joseph R. Modugno)
The Old Manse, Concord, MA
The Old Manse, Concord, MA
The Old Manse is the home where Hawthorne lived at the beginning of his marriage to Sophia; from A Journey Into the Transcendentalists' New England by Robert Todd Felton (courtesy of Robert Todd Felton)
Garden at the Old Manse, Concord, MA, which Henry David Thoreau planted as a wedding gift to Hawthorne and his bride, Sophia
Garden at the Old Manse, Concord, MA, which Henry David Thoreau planted as a wedding gift to Hawthorne and his bride, Sophia
from A Journey Into the Transcendentalists' New England by Robert Todd Felton (courtesy of Robert Todd Felton)
Hawthorne's Country
Hawthorne's Country
 
\"The Old Manse from the road, Concord, Mass.\"
Illustration by Louis K. Harlow (1850-1913) from <I>Haunts of Hawthorne</I> published by L. Prang & Co., Boston, n.d.
"The Old Manse from the road, Concord, Mass." Illustration by Louis K. Harlow (1850-1913) from Haunts of Hawthorne published by L. Prang & Co., Boston, n.d.
On the illustration is the quotation, "Abandon care, all ye who enter here."  (courtesy of Terri Whitney)
\"Hall in the Old Manse,\" Illustration by Louis K. Harlow (1850-1913) from <I>Haunts of Hawthorne</I> published by L. Prang & Co., Boston, n.d.
"Hall in the Old Manse," Illustration by Louis K. Harlow (1850-1913) from Haunts of Hawthorne published by L. Prang & Co., Boston, n.d.
Illustration includes the following passage by Hawthorne: "How gently, too, did the sight of the Old Manse, best seen from the river, overshadowed with its willow and all environed about with the foliage of its orchcard and avenue,--how gently did its gray, homely aspect rebuke the speculative extravagance of the day!" (courtesy of Terri Whitney)
Old Manse Garden
Old Manse Garden
Before Nathaniel and Sophia arrived at the Old Manse to begin their life together as man and wife, Henry David Thoreau planted a garden for them as a wedding present. (courtesy of Terri Whitney)
Old North Bridge, over the Concord River, Concord, MA
Old North Bridge, over the Concord River, Concord, MA
Hawthorne enjoyed walks by the Concord River; the Old Manse was located not far from the Old North Bridge. from A Journey Into the Transcendentalists' New England,2006. (courtesy of Robert Todd Felton)
The Old North Bridge, Concord, MA
The Old North Bridge, Concord, MA
The original Old North bridge over the Concord River is no longer standing; this one, built in 2005, replaced an earlier one built in 1956. from A Journey Into the Transcendentalists' New England,2006. (courtesy of Robert Todd Felton)
Cover of Hawthorne's <I/>Mosses From An Old Manse</I>
Cover of Hawthorne's Mosses From An Old Manse
"Salem Edition," published in 1893 by Houghton, Mifflin and Company, The Riverside Press, Cambridge.  (Photography by Joseph R. Modugno)
<I>Mosses From an Old Manse</I>
Mosses From an Old Manse
This elaborately illustrated title page graces the 1893 or 1894 Henry Altemus edition of Mosses From an Old Manse
Concord River from rear of Old Manse, facing Old North Bridge; purple bloom is loosestrife (July, 2008)
Concord River from rear of Old Manse, facing Old North Bridge; purple bloom is loosestrife (July, 2008)
Hawthorne assisted in the search for the body of Martha Hunt in the Concord River. He wrote about the experience in his journal and used the passage almost verbatim in describing the search for Zenobia's body in The Blithedale Romance (photography by Terri Whitney)

Websites Related to The Old Manse

The Old Manse in Concord
The Old Manse in Concord (photography by Terri Whitney)
 

Lectures and Articles Related to The Old Manse

The Old Manse in Concord
The Old Manse in Concord (photography by Terri Whitney)
 
  • "Eden and the Re-Creation of the Artist," paper delivered by Dr. Orley K. Marron, Dept. of English, Bar Habn University, Israel, at the conference of the Nathaniel Hawthorne Society, in Concord, MA, June 11, 2010. 
     
  • "Hawthorne in Concord," lecture by Philip McFarland, Teacher Emeritus, Concord Academy, delivered at The House of the Seven Gables Historic Site on April 6, 2005.