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Hawthorne at Salem

Life & Times

Early Life

Nathaniel Hawthorne's Early Life: Introduction

Material prepared by:
Terri Whitney, Department of English 
North Shore Community College, Danvers, MA
Hawthorne
Hawthorne's Birthplace, 27 Union Street, Salem, MA (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
 

This section of the Website focuses on Hawthorne's life up until his graduation from Bowdoin College in 1825.

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts to Nathaniel Hathorne and Elizabeth Clarke Manning Hathorne at 27 Union St. Less than four years later, in the winter of 1808, Hawthorne's father, a ship captain, died of yellow fever at sea, off Surinam. In 1809 Hawthorne, his mother, and sisters moved a block away to the Manning house on Herbert St. (now 10 ½; some sources list 12 Herbert St. which does not currently exist but may have in Hawthorne's time); there Hawthorne shared a room with his Manning uncles on the third floor. Hawthorne spent much of his youth in this house and referred to it as "Castle Dismal."

When he was almost six, Hawthorne was instructed by Francis Moore in a schoolhouse on Herbert St. that had opened in 1810. Moore left Salem in 1812 after receiving his M.D. from Harvard, and Hawthorne's schooling was continued by Joseph Emerson Worcestor in a building near where the Andrew-Safford house was built in 1818.

Hawthorne attended Worcestor's school until November, 1813 when he was injured while playing ball. Although the extent of the injury is unclear, Hawthorne had a long convalescence. In fact, it was only with the intervention of his mother and his Uncle Robert that he left his bed after several months and began walking on crutches. Hawthorne's mother believed her son's eventual recovery was the result of a cold water cure advocated by Dr. Smith of Hanover, New Hampshire, which entailed pouring cold water over the foot every morning. Whatever the reason for his recovery, it was not a smooth one. Hawthorne relapsed at one point and returned to using crutches. The reasons for the lengthy convalescence may be psychological, rooted in the memory of his father's death as well as of the deaths of his Manning grandmother. It was during this period that Hawthorne became a voracious reader, and he was instructed at home by Joseph Worcester.

Hawthorne also spent idyllic days in Maine in his youth, however. Dr. Melinda Ponder says that letters to Robert Manning, Hawthorne's uncle, suggest that Hawthorne and his family may have spent time in 1810 visiting Raymond, Maine, near Sebago Lake. Hawthorne was still convalescing in 1816 when his family began to spend considerable time in Raymond, Maine, first visiting Hawthorne's mother's brother, Richard Manning, who had a house there, and later in the house Richard built for his sister next to his own. (This house was purchased in 1922 by the Hawthorne Community Association, and they remain the caretakers.) A visitor to this house today can see the crutches which Hawthorne used while living there. In 1816 Hawthorne returned to Salem, on the request of his Uncle Robert. Hawthorne's mother and sisters remained in Raymond, however.

In 1818 Hawthorne once again moved to Maine to attend boarding school in Stroudwater, near Portland. In February of 1819, he returned to Raymond, cutting short his term by six weeks, and in November of 1819, he returned to Salem where he attended Samuel Archer's school in preparation for college. Between late August and late September of 1820, Hawthorne and his sister, Louisa, published seven issues of The Spectator, a witty imitation of the Salem Gazettecontaining short literary pieces, news, and advertisements, and circulated it to members of the family. Although revealing Hawthorne's comic side, pieces in The Spectator often focused on death, perhaps another indication, along with Hawthorne's self-imposed long convalescence from his injury as a youth, of a deep pain from the loss of his father. Also beginning in 1820, Hawthorne received tutoring from Benjamin Oliver in Salem. The following August, Hawthorne left for Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. He never went back to Raymond, even on vacations from Bowdoin, since his mother had moved back to Salem in 1822.

The Bowdoin Hawthorne attended had only three buildings: Maine Hall, Massachusetts Hall, and the chapel. There were 38 freshmen and five faculty members when Hawthorne matriculated. The curriculum focussed on the classics and on religion, not surprising as most colleges in America were originally created to educate ministers.

Hawthorne's roommate for his freshman and sophomore year was Alfred Mason, son of a prominent Portsmouth, N.H. attorney. Mason's affluence contrasted with Hawthorne's meagre allowance from his Uncle Robert, and Hawthorne frequently wrote letters to his family that had the message, "send money." Despite being seemingly always short of funds, however, Hawthorne led an active social life. Alfred Mason introduced him to Horatio Bridge, and he also met Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Jonathan Cilley, and Franklin Pierce. Horatio Bridge and Franklin Pierce became close and lifelong friends. It was with these friends that Hawthorne gambled, drank at Ward's Tavern, smoked, and violated other college rules, sometimes getting caught and fined. The Peabody Essex Museum has a letter from Hawthorne to his mother in which he announces , "If I am again detected I shall have the honour of being suspended." Hawthorne did manage to avoid suspension, however, and graduated on September 7, 1825.

Literature Related to Hawthorne's Early Years

Silhouette of Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1825(?)
from <I>Portraits of Nathaniel Hawthorne: An Iconography</I> by Rita Gollin
Silhouette of Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1825(?) from Portraits of Nathaniel Hawthorne: An Iconography by Rita Gollin (courtesy of Northern Illinois UP)
 

Hawthorne was always a reader. While convalescing from his foot injury as an adolescent, Hawthorne read prodigiously. Shakespeare, Spenser, Scott, and Rousseau were all on the list, but his favorites were Bunyan and Montaigne. And yet, Hawthorne rarely bought a book and was not considered by others, nor did he consider himself, bookish.

Hawthorne's first foray into the world of authorship was his publication with his sister, Louisa, of a newspaper, The Spectator, an imitation of the Salem Gazette which Hawthorne distributed to his family. The publication, edited by "N. Hathorne & Co." was short-lived; the first issue was published in August 21, 1820, and the seventh and final issue on September 18 of that year. Hawthorne penned the newspaper in his own hand, with some assistance from Louisa, and copies of the original Spectator are in the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. The Spectator contains poetry, domestic news, essays, and advertisements, such as one seeking a husband for his fifty-year old aunt, Mary Manning, and one asking for a position for an indigent poet. The plea for subsidy and a note in one issue announcing "a new edition of the miseries of authors," indicate that Hawthorne was aware, even then, that the writing life that beckoned was not to offer the financial security he might have wished, but perhaps more importantly this ad, and other pieces in The Spectator, signaled the wit that would be a part of Hawthorne's mature work.

Hawthorne's writing in the paper also reveals a preoccupation with death and time, separation and loneliness, subjects of writers of the day, but also not surprising topics for an adolescent whose father died when he was a young boy. One poem, in the last issue of The Spectator, seems likely to refer to this early tragedy in Hawthorne's life:

The billowy Ocean rolls its wave,
Above the shipwreck'd Sailor's Grave,
Around him ever roars the Deep,
And lulls his wearied form to sleep,
Low in the deep Sea's darkest dell,
He hears no more the tempest swell.

In the domestic news section of the first edition of The Spectator, Hawthorne refers to the story around Salem of a sea serpent seen off the coast of Massachusetts in 1819, another of a series of sightings of such a creature dating to 1638. In The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Moore notes that in this article Hawthorne "foreshadows his feeling about the use of specter evidence against the witches" (148). Hawthorne never, however, made use of the sea serpent story in his fiction. Moore points out, however, that Hawthorne may have written such works, but they may have been lost. Moore points out that Hawthorne's sister, Elizabeth, "said that her brother showed her in the summer of 1825 the tales that would have made up his projected 'Seven Tales of My Native Land' which 'dealt with witchcraft and the sea.'" One tale contained some verses, only one line of which has been preserved. 'The rovers of the sea, they were a fearful race' (149). 

Original Documents Related to Hawthorne's Early Life

Note that Robert Manning added to a letter his sister, Priscilla, wrote on August 9, 1816 to their sister, Hawthorne's mother. Robert and Priscilla were in Salem at the time, and Betsey Hathorne and her children were in Raymond, Maine.
Note that Robert Manning added to a letter his sister, Priscilla, wrote on August 9, 1816 to their sister, Hawthorne's mother. Robert and Priscilla were in Salem at the time, and Betsey Hathorne and her children were in Raymond, Maine.
The note reads: "Dear Sister, Send Nathaniel---he may bring his 2 Suits of Mixt Cloths & no more, your Loving " Robert Manning (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Poem \"Moderate Views\" written by Hawthorne on February 13, 1817
Poem "Moderate Views" written by Hawthorne on February 13, 1817
In this poem the young Hawthorne expresses his hope that he will live a modest, humble life and his view that the true glories of life are available to all: With passions unruffled untainted by pride By reason my life let me square. The wants of my nature are cheaply supplied And the rest are but folly and care. How vainly through infinite trouble and strife The many their labours employ, Since all that is truly delightful in life, Is what all if they please may enjoy. (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
<i>The Spectator</i> advertisement of employment opportunities for \"indigent poets and authors.\"
The Spectator advertisement of employment opportunities for "indigent poets and authors." 
During August of 1820, Hawthorne published a newspaper called The Spectator. The newspaper's title and the advertisement suggest that the young writer Nathaniel Hawthorne was beginning to realize his place in his society.  (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Close-up of front page of <i>The Spectator</i>, No. 5
Close-up of front page of The Spectator, No. 5
Close-up of front page of The Spectator, No. 5 with article "On Hope." (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
The Spectator, volume 1, number 1
The Spectator, volume 1, number 1
Volume l,number 1 of The Spectator, a newspaper edited and largely written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in the summer and fall of 1820. 
Ad  Money Wanted from The Spectator
Ad Money Wanted from The Spectator
Ad from The Spectator, \"Money Wanted. Good Security will be given for a small sum of money, to be repaid in one month. Apply at this office.\" 
Essay by Hawthorne and Poetry by Maria Louisa Hathorne fromThe Spectator, No. 5
Essay by Hawthorne and Poetry by Maria Louisa Hathorne fromThe Spectator, No. 5
Two pages from The Spectator, No. 5, Mon., Sept. 18, 1820 
Hawthorne's Reading from 1828-1850, the Salem Athenaeum Charge-Book
Hawthorne's Reading from 1828-1850, the Salem Athenaeum Charge-Book
Cover Page for Transcription and Indentification of Titles Recorded in the Charge-Books of the Salem Athenaeum By Marion L. Kesselring, Brown University Library (courtesy of the Salem Athenaeum; special thanks to Eric Eldred)
Athenaeum Charge Book signed by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Athenaeum Charge Book signed by Nathaniel Hawthorne
 (courtesy of the Salem Athenaeum)

Images Related to Hawthorne's Early Life

 

  • Hawthorne in His Youth and People Important to His Early Life
  • Hawthorne's Birthplace
  • Other Houses Related to Hawthorne's Early Life
  • Raymond, Maine
  • The Richard Manning House in Raymond, Maine
  • The Hawthorne House in Raymond, Maine

Hawthorne in his Youth

Silhouette of Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1825(?)
from <I>Portraits of Nathaniel Hawthorne: An Iconography</I> by Rita Gollin
Silhouette of Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1825(?) from Portraits of Nathaniel Hawthorne: An Iconography by Rita Gollin
This is part of a framed set of the 36 graduates of Bowdoin College, 1825, originally owned by Charles Snell, one of Hawthorne's classmates. Now owned by Bowdoin College, this silhouette is signed "Hath." While it is not absolutely certain that this silhouette was made in 1825 on the occasion of Hawthorne's graduation from Bowdoin, the authenticity is unquestioned as another copy is owned by a descendant, Manning Hawthorne. (courtesy of Northern Illinois UP)
Drawing of Nathaniel Hathorne, Sr., son of Daniel and Rachel Hathorne
Drawing of Nathaniel Hathorne, Sr., son of Daniel and Rachel Hathorne
Nathaniel Hathorne, Sr., Hawthorne's father, was born May 19, 1775. A sea captain, he married Elizabeth Manning in 1801 and died of yellow fever in Surinam (Dutch Guiana) in 1808. (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Robert Manning, Hawthorne's maternal uncle
Robert Manning, Hawthorne's maternal uncle
Miniature on ivory in decorative arts collection of the Peabody Essex Museum (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)

Hawthorne's Birthplace

The house where Hawthorne was born; originally at 27 Union St., it now stands on the grounds of The House of the Seven Gables
The house where Hawthorne was born; originally at 27 Union St., it now stands on the grounds of The House of the Seven Gables
The house where Hawthorne was born was moved in 1958 from 27 Union St. to the property of The House of the Seven Gables Historic Site where it now stands and is open to the public. Few of the original furnishings are in the house, but it does contain period pieces. (photography by Aaron Toleos)
The house where Hawthorne was born; originally at 27 Union St., it now stands on the grounds of The House of the Seven Gables
The house where Hawthorne was born; originally at 27 Union St., it now stands on the grounds of The House of the Seven Gables
The house where Hawthorne was born was moved in 1958 from 27 Union St. to the property of The House of the Seven Gables Historic Site where it now stands and is open to the public. Few of the original furnishings are in the house, but it does contain period pieces. (photography by Dan Popp)
The house at 27 Union St. where Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804.
The house at 27 Union St. where Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804.
This house now stands on the property of The House of the Seven Gables Historic Site and is open to visitors.  (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
27 Union St., Salem
27 Union St., Salem
Early twentieth century postcard made in Germany showing Hawthorne's birthplace on Union St. in Salem (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
27 Union St. in Salem where Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804
27 Union St. in Salem where Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804
This image is from a postcard dated 1900 and published by the Detroit Photographic Co. (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Hawthorne's Birthplace, 27 Union Street, Salem
Hawthorne's Birthplace, 27 Union Street, Salem
The house where Hawthorne was born was moved in 1958 from 27 Union St. to the property of The House of the Seven Gables Historic Site where it now stands and is open to the public. Few of the original furnishings are in the house, but it does contain period pieces.  (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Hawthorne's Birthplace, 27 Union Street, Salem, MA
Hawthorne's Birthplace, 27 Union Street, Salem, MA
The house where Hawthorne was born was moved in 1958 from 27 Union St. to the property of The House of the Seven Gables Historic Site where it now stands and is open to the public. Few of the original furnishings are in the house, but it does contain period pieces.  (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Drawing of 27 Union St., Salem, where Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804
Drawing of 27 Union St., Salem, where Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804
The Manning house on Herbert Street is in the background. (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
The house at 16 Herbert St. whose backyard was the original location of Hawthorne's birth house at 27 Union St.
The house at 16 Herbert St. whose backyard was the original location of Hawthorne's birth house at 27 Union St. 
According to Dr. Blood, "the house was built in 1850 (originally, one floor with two rooms; now, two floors with an addition added on the back some time in the early 20th century). ...our backyard and driveway are accessible only from Union Street (we share the driveway with neighboring 14 Herbert Street). The site of the Hawthorne house (originally 27 Union...) is in our backyard. ... You can see our house (the pinkish-beige house with a tall, flat back constructed so as not to go over the property line onto the Hawthorne property) in the background of some of the old photos of the Hawthorne house before they moved it[in 1958 to the property of the House of the Seven Gables] (one of the old photos you have on your site shows a brick structure...perhaps that is under our aluminum siding?). In any event, the second floor addition was added to our house before the Hawthorne house was moved in 1958, so it is visible in some old photos. We have one we found in an antique shop on Hawthorne Blvd. that clearly shows our house right behind the Hawthorne house. It was one of the selling points for us. When the Hawthorne house was moved down to Derby Street, the property was eventually purchased by the owner of 14-16 Herbert (originally one owner owned the two houses)." (courtesy of Dr. Elizabeth Blood, Dept. of French, Salem State College)
The backyard of 16 Herbert St. in Salem, looking toward Union St. This area was the original location of the house at 27 Union St. where Hawthorne was born. That house was moved to the property of the House of the Seven Gables Historic Site in 1958.
The backyard of 16 Herbert St. in Salem, looking toward Union St. This area was the original location of the house at 27 Union St. where Hawthorne was born. That house was moved to the property of the House of the Seven Gables Historic Site in 1958.
According to Dr. Blood, "the house was built in 1850 (originally, one floor with two rooms; now, two floors with an addition added on the back some time in the early 20th century). ...our backyard and driveway are accessible only from Union Street (we share the driveway with neighboring 14 Herbert Street). The site of the Hawthorne house (originally 27 Union...) is in our backyard. ... You can see our house (the pinkish-beige house with a tall, flat back constructed so as not to go over the property line onto the Hawthorne property) in the background of some of the old photos of the Hawthorne house before they moved it (one of the old photos you have on your site shows a brick structure...perhaps that is under our aluminum siding?). In any event, the second floor addition was added to our house before the Hawthorne house was moved in 1958, so it is visible in some old photos. We have one we found in an antique shop on Hawthorne Blvd. that clearly shows our house right behind the Hawthorne house. It was one of the selling points for us. When the Hawthorne house was moved down to Derby Street [in 1958], the property was eventually purchased by the owner of 14-16 Herbert (originally one owner owned the two houses)." (courtesy of Dr. Elizabeth Blood, Dept. of French, Salem State College)

 

Other Houses Related to Hawthorne's Early Life

10 1/2 Herbert St. house with plaque
10 1/2 Herbert St. house with plaque
 (photography by Terri Whitney)
10 1/2 (also called 12) Herbert St. in Salem
10 1/2 (also called 12) Herbert St. in Salem
In Hawthorne's time, this may have been 12 Herbert St.; there is no 12 Herbert St. today. In Salem directories, the house is usually listed as 10 Herbert St. As parts of the house were at times rented, this may have resulted in the altered house numbers. Hawthorne moved into this house with his widowed mother and two sisters during the spring of 1808. In his journals he refers to this house as "Castle Dismal." When the Hathornes moved in, the house was owned and occupied by Hawthorne's mother's parents, the Mannings, and their eight children. The house was crowded, and Margaret Moore and others refer to Nathaniel sleeping in the same bed with his uncle Robert (aged 24 when Nathaniel was 4), but in her book The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Moore explains that beds were in short supply in large families in early nineteenth century New England (60).  (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
 10 1/2 Herbert Street, Salem, in 2000
10 1/2 Herbert Street, Salem, in 2000
In Hawthorne's time, this may have been 12 Herbert St.; there is no 12 Herbert St. today. In Salem directories, the house is usually listed asd 10 Herbert St. As parts of the house were at times rented, this may have resulted in the altered house numbers. Hawthorne moved into this house with his widowed mother and two sisters during the spring of 1808. In his journals he refers to this house as "Castle Dismal." When the Hathornes moved in, the house was owned and occupied by Hawthorne's mother's parents, the Mannings, and their eight children. The house was crowded, and Margaret Moore and others refer to Nathaniel sleeping in the same bed with his uncle Robert (aged 24 when Nathaniel was 4), but in her book The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Moore explains that beds were in short supply in large families in early nineteenth century New England (60).  (photography by Terri Whitney)
10 1/2 (also called 12) Herbert St. in late nineteenth or early twentieth century
10 1/2 (also called 12) Herbert St. in late nineteenth or early twentieth century
In Hawthorne's time, this may have been 12 Herbert St.; there is no 12 Herbert St. today. In Salem directories, the house is usually listed asd 10 Herbert St. As parts of the house were at times rented, this may have resulted in the altered house numbers. Hawthorne moved into this house with his widowed mother and two sisters during the spring of 1808. In his journals he refers to this house as "Castle Dismal." When the Hathornes moved in, the house was owned and occupied by Hawthorne's mother's parents, the Mannings, and their eight children. The house was crowded, and Margaret Moore and others refer to Nathaniel sleeping in the same bed with his uncle Robert (aged 24 when Nathaniel was 4), but in her book The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Moore explains that beds were in short supply in large families in early nineteenth century New England (60).  (courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum; special thanks to Bryant F. Tolles, Jr.)
Front and rear view of No. 12 [sometimes listed as 10 1/2] Herbert St., Salem where Hawthorne wrote
from <I>Hawthorne's Country</I> by Helen Archibald Clarke, The Baker and Taylor Co., 1910, opposite p. 68
Front and rear view of No. 12 [sometimes listed as 10 1/2] Herbert St., Salem where Hawthorne wrote from Hawthorne's Country by Helen Archibald Clarke, The Baker and Taylor Co., 1910, opposite p. 68
The description that Helen Clarke gives of the house which Hawthorne referred to as "Castle Dismal" is very close to the way it looks today. While no longer a "tenement house" it is rental property in some disrepair. Clarke says the house "has none of the charm which belongs to many of the older houses, even when somewhat humble. It is a tall, high-shouldered, wooden structure, with not a line to commend it nor a grace to distinguish it" (69). She notes that the third floor window of Hawthorne's room "is miserably small and jambed up so close to the eaves as to make one think of the interior only as the most unprepossessing of attic rooms" (69). Clarke does point out that in Hawthorne's day the street was less dense and that the house did provide the advantage of being only a block from the sea (69). (courtesy of Terri Whitney)
Brown Building (Union Building), corner of Essex and Union Streets, in 2002
Brown Building (Union Building), corner of Essex and Union Streets, in 2002
Sophia Peabody's family moved into an apartment in this building in 1810, a year after Sophia was born. Herbert St., where Hawthorne was living with his mother's family at the time, is one street over, and Sophia recalled watching Hawthorne as a boy playing in the yard behind the house. (photography by Lou Procopio)
Brown Building (Union Building), corner of Essex and Union St. in Salem
Brown Building (Union Building), corner of Essex and Union St. in Salem
Sophia Peabody's family moved into an apartment in this building in 1810, a year after Sophia was born. Herbert St., where Hawthorne was living with his mother's family at the time, is one street over, and Sophia recalled watching Hawthorne as a boy playing in the yard behind the house. (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex St. in Salem, in 2000
In
Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex St. in Salem, in 2000 In 
The Salem Athenaeum began as part of the Social Library on Market Street, now known as Central Street, in Salem. It opened on July 11, 1810, but moved three times to various sites in Salem over the next forty years. In 1845, however, a bequest from Caroline Plummer enabled the Athenaeum to erect a building, the original Plummer Hall, at 134 Essex Street. The Athenaeum shared this building with the Essex Institute until 1905, when Plummer Hall was sold to the Essex Institute (now the Peabody Essex Museum), and with the proceeds constructed the building it currently occupies at 337 Essex St.

By 1837 the Salem Athenaeum housed 8,000 volumes. According to Hawthorne scholar Margaret Moore in her book The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne, it was the "pooled holdings of the Philosophical and Social Libraries, which merged in 1810," six years after Hawthorne's birth (158). The Athenaeum supplied Hawthorne with a tremendous amount of reading material during his Salem years.

William Manning (1779-1864), Hawthorne's maternal uncle, owned a share in the Salem Athenaeum from 1820-1827. Mary Manning (1777-1841) also was a member from 1826; she later gave this share to Hawthorne. Today this same share is owned by David Gavenda of the National Park Service. (photography by Terri Whitney)

Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex St. in Salem; photo from <I>Architecture in Salem</I> by Bryant F. Tolles, Jr.
Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex St. in Salem; photo from Architecture in Salem by Bryant F. Tolles, Jr.
The Salem Athenaeum began as part of the Social Library on Market Street, now known as Central Street, in Salem. It opened on July 11, 1810, but moved three times to various sites in Salem over the next forty years. In 1845, however, a bequest from Caroline Plummer enabled the Athenaeum to erect a building, the original Plummer Hall, at 134 Essex Street. The Athenaeum shared this building with the Essex Institute until 1905, when Plummer Hall was sold to the Essex Institute (now the Peabody Essex Museum), and with the proceeds constructed the building it currently occupies at 337 Essex St.

By 1837 the Salem Athenaeum housed 8,000 volumes. According to Hawthorne scholar Margaret Moore in her book The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne, it was the "pooled holdings of the Philosophical and Social Libraries, which merged in 1810," six years after Hawthorne's birth (158). The Athenaeum supplied Hawthorne with a tremendous amount of reading material during his Salem years.

William Manning (1779-1864), Hawthorne's maternal uncle, owned a share in the Salem Athenaeum from 1820-1827. Mary Manning (1777-1841) also was a member from 1826; she later gave this share to Hawthorne. Today this same share is owned by David Gavenda of the National Park Service. (courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum; special thanks to Bryant F. Tolles, Jr.)

Raymond, Maine

The family graveyard in Raymond, Maine
The family graveyard in Raymond, Maine
 (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
Map of Raymond, Maine
Map of Raymond, Maine
 (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
The approach to Raymond, Maine
The approach to Raymond, Maine
 (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
Dingley Brook in Raymond, Maine, looking upstream from the old dam structure
Dingley Brook in Raymond, Maine, looking upstream from the old dam structure
 (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
Dingley Brook in Raymond, Maine, rushing downstream
Dingley Brook in Raymond, Maine, rushing downstream
 (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
The shoreline of Sebago Lake near Raymond, Maine
The shoreline of Sebago Lake near Raymond, Maine
 (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
Sebago Lake near Raymond, Maine
Sebago Lake near Raymond, Maine
 (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
The Mouth of Dingley Brook with the Dingley Islands in the Distance
The Mouth of Dingley Brook with the Dingley Islands in the Distance
 (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
The Icy Expanse of Lake Sebago, Maine
The Icy Expanse of Lake Sebago, Maine
 (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
Pulpit Rock in Raymond, Maine
Pulpit Rock in Raymond, Maine
 (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
Lake Sebago, near Raymond, Maine, in March, still frozen; photographed in 1981
Lake Sebago, near Raymond, Maine, in March, still frozen; photographed in 1981
 (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
Rock on Raymond Cape between the Cape and Frye Island
Rock on Raymond Cape between the Cape and Frye Island 
Named "Frye's Leap" because a Captain Frye, leaped from the rock to the island fleeing from pursuing Indians. Later, according to E.H. Knight in Raymond Then and Now, "during the steamboat era as an attraction to passengers, supposed Indian paintings on the rock were reinforced in bright colors. To further intrigue the passengers a man or boy was hired for the summer to live in a tent on the top to appear in full regalia and with blood-curdling whoops fire a gun in the air" (6).  (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)

View of "Frye's Leap" on Raymond Cape after paintings on the rock have faded. (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Close-up of painting on rocks in Raymond, Maine
Close-up of painting on rocks in Raymond, Maine
The paintings, which some said were made by Indians, have faded over time. (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
Detail of faded paintings at \"Frye's Leap\"
Detail of faded paintings at "Frye's Leap"
View of rock at "Frye's Leap" on Raymond Cape where paintings, said to be by Indians, have faded over time.  (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Mill and box factory run by Willard Libby and built on the site of the original Dingley Sawmill
Mill and box factory run by Willard Libby and built on the site of the original Dingley Sawmill
The Dingley Sawmill and other mills were across the road from the house where Nathaniel Hawthorne spent time in Raymond, Maine.  (courtesy of Raymond Woman's Club,Cardinal Publishing.)
Early picture of the Baptist Church on Raymond Hill, one of the first two churches in Raymondtown
Early picture of the Baptist Church on Raymond Hill, one of the first two churches in Raymondtown
The addition to the building in the rear was, according to Knight, "supposed to have been the building of the first church, which is very likely so, as it is of older origin and would not have been an added structure in this location and form" (173). Knight also notes that "the land for the Hill church was deeded by Richard Manning, agent for the Proprietors, on 23 March, 1803," and he points out that "the cemetery contains the graves of early settlers of Raymond"(173). (courtesy of Raymond Woman's Club,Cardinal Publishing.)
Building erected in the 1830s on Raymond Hill to house the Baptist Church
Building erected in the 1830s on Raymond Hill to house the Baptist Church 
The land for this church was deeded by Richard Manning in his position as agent from the Proprietors on 23 March, 1803, but the building shown here was not erected until the 1830s. According to Knight, "the sanctuary of this church has an interesting curved ceiling and the cemetery contains the graves of early settlers of Raymond" (173). (courtesy of Raymond Woman's Club,Cardinal Publishing.)

The Richard Manning House in Raymond, Maine

Oil painting dated in the 1840s of the Manning House, now in South Casco, built about 1810 in Raymondtown, MA
Oil painting dated in the 1840s of the Manning House, now in South Casco, built about 1810 in Raymondtown, MA
The painting, done in the 1840s, indicates that there were few changes in the building over time. The house was built by Richard Manning who was the local agent for the Raymondtown Proprietors and was referred to as "'Manning's Folly' for its pretentions to grandeur in those times" (20). Raymondtown was in Massachusetts in 1810, but in 1820 Maine separated from Massachusetts and Casco separated from Raymond town in 1841. (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
The entrance hall of the Richard Manning house in Raymond, Maine
The entrance hall of the Richard Manning house in Raymond, Maine
 (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
Indian shutters open, having slid into the casement; at the Richard Manning house in Raymond, Maine
Indian shutters open, having slid into the casement; at the Richard Manning house in Raymond, Maine
 (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
Detail of the parlor chair-rail of the Richard Manning house in Raymond, Maine
Detail of the parlor chair-rail of the Richard Manning house in Raymond, Maine
 (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
The kitchen fireplace at the Richard Manning house in Raymond, Maine, with its beehive oven on left
The kitchen fireplace at the Richard Manning house in Raymond, Maine, with its beehive oven on left
 (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
The front hallway of the Richard Manning house in Raymond, Maine, looking toward the front door, a \"Christian\" door
The front hallway of the Richard Manning house in Raymond, Maine, looking toward the front door, a "Christian" door
 (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Front stairway with scrollwork pattern in Richard Manning house in Raymond, Maine
Front stairway with scrollwork pattern in Richard Manning house in Raymond, Maine
 (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
The Southwest Bedroom of the Richard Manning House in Raymond, Maine
The Southwest Bedroom of the Richard Manning House in Raymond, Maine
 (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)

The Hawthorne House in Raymond, Maine

The Hawthorne house in Raymond, Maine, photographed in 1981
The Hawthorne house in Raymond, Maine, photographed in 1981
According to Melinda M. Ponder in her 1981 paper "Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Morning of His Life," in June of 1816 “Robert [Manning] began the construction of a large house in Raymond so that all of the Mannings could eventually move from economically depressed Salem to their lands in Maine.” She also says that “[w]hile the Hawthorne’s visited Salem during the summer of 1818, construction on their new house continued in Raymond, under uncle Robert’s direction.” The house, which cost $2407.10, was built “on a knoll opposite the Manning house overlooking Dingley Brook.” The house was purchased by the Hawthorne Associationin 1922; they remain the caretakers and schedule cultural events in the home. (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder)
View of the Hawthorne House across the Dingley Brook from South Casco, Maine
View of the Hawthorne House across the Dingley Brook from South Casco, Maine
The photo was probably taken shortly after the house, which had been used by Raymond Village as the Radoux Meeting House, underwent restoration by the Hawthorne Association. Here the house is freshly painted. (courtesy of Raymond Woman's Club,Cardinal Publishing.)
Hawthorne House in Raymond, Maine
Hawthorne House in Raymond, Maine
The Hawthorne House in South Casco, Maine, built by Richard Manning for his sister, Nathaniel Hawthorne's mother. This photograph shows the house in a state of disrepair, before it was restored by the Hawthorne Association. (courtesy of Raymond Woman's Club,Cardinal Publishing.)
Restored Hawthorne House at South Casco, built by Richard Manning for his sister, Nathaniel Hawthorne's mother
Restored Hawthorne House at South Casco, built by Richard Manning for his sister, Nathaniel Hawthorne's mother
Before being taken over and restored by the Hawthorne Association, the house was the Radoux Meeting House. Francis Radoux, who married Richard Manning's widow, made the house a community meeting place to satisfy a provision in Manning's will which left money for this purpose. (courtesy of Raymond Woman's Club,Cardinal Publishing.)

Critical Commentary Related to Hawthorne's Early Life

Silhouette of Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1825(?)
from <I>Portraits of Nathaniel Hawthorne: An Iconography</I> by Rita Gollin
Silhouette of Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1825(?) from Portraits of Nathaniel Hawthorne: An Iconography by Rita Gollin (courtesy of Northern Illinois UP)
 

Excerpt from Brenda Wineapple's Hawthorne: A Life on Hawthorne's childhood injury (courtesy of Alfred A. Knopf) pp. 26-27
On the psychology of Hawthorne's foot injury and the effect of the injury on activities in his early adolescence

Excerpt from "Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Morning of His Life His Boyhood Years and Emergence as an Artist Part One. Images: The Worlds of Hawthorne's Childhood" by Dr. Melinda Ponder, September, 1981, an essay submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master's degree in American Studies at Boston College (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder) 
On Nathaniel's arrival at his Uncle Richard's house in Raymond, Maine

Excerpt from "Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Morning of His Life His Boyhood Years and Emergence as an Artist Part One. Images: The Worlds of Hawthorne's Childhood" by Dr. Melinda Ponder, September, 1981, an essay submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master's degree in American Studies at Boston College (courtesy of Dr. Melinda Ponder) 
On Hawthorne's idyllic life as a child in Raymond, Maine

Excerpt from Brenda Wineapple's Hawthorne: A Life on The Spectator (courtesy of Alfred A. Knopf) pp. 41-42 
On Hawthorne's adolescent creation in the summer of 1820, a family newspaper entitled The Spectato

Websites Related to Hawthorne's Early Life

 

Silhouette of Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1825(?)
from <I>Portraits of Nathaniel Hawthorne: An Iconography</I> by Rita Gollin
Silhouette of Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1825(?) from Portraits of Nathaniel Hawthorne: An Iconography by Rita Gollin (courtesy of Northern Illinois UP)
 

 

Hawthorne Community Association, Raymond, Maine

This site provides information about the house in Raymond, Maine where Hawthorne spent time as a boy and information about current and past events sponsored by the Association. It also provides links to articles related to Hawthorne's life in Raymond, Maine.

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"Yesterdays with Authors" by James T. Fields. 

Fields was one of Hawthorne's publishers and wrote the article around 1870, based on a conversation he had with Hawthorne about ten years earlier. In the article, Fields describes Raymond, Maine and its importance to Hawthorne.

Salem in 1800: A Sample of the Range of Meanings Applied to One Place at One Time

Project by Margaret Warren for Topics in American Studies, Salem State College (courtesy of http://www.witchcity.org ). Read about life in Salem around the time of Hawthorne’s birth in 1804.

 

Bicentennial Exhibit/Peabody Essex Museum

Includes interactive exhibit on the seven issues of 

The Spectator that Hawthorne published for his family from August 21, 1820 to September 25, 1820

10 1/2 (also called 12) Herbert St. in Salem
10 1/2 (also called 12) Herbert St. in Salem (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
 

Scholars' Forum: Full Text of Articles and Lectures Related to Hawthorne's Early Years

"Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Morning of His Life His Boyhood Years and Emergence as an Artist Part One. Images: The Worlds of Hawthorne's Childhood" by Melinda M. Ponder, September, 1981, an essay submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master's degree in American Studies at Boston College (courtesy of Dr. Melinda M. Ponder)

"Hawthorne's Salem." Lecture by Professor David Goss, Gordon College, delivered at the Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA on November 14, 2002. (courtesy of Professor David Goss)