I’ll be honest, the birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne was extremely deep into a long walk I did last month with my mom in Salem, Mass. So my apologies if I could only muster up a butt-first pose at this point.
Anyway: American author Nathaniel Hawthorne, most famous for “The Scarlet Letter,” was born in this 1750-built house on July 4, 1804, to Elizabeth Clark Manning and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
According to his sister (also named Elizabeth), Nathaniel was born “in the chamber over that little parlor into which we looked, in that house on Union St.,” says the official website. “It then belonged to my grandmother Hawthorne, who lived in one part of it. There we lived until 1808, when my father died, at Surinam. I remember very well that one morning my mother called my brother into her room, next to the one where we slept, and told him that his father was dead.”
Nathaniel was four when his father died at sea. Afterwards, his mother Elizabeth and the three children moved back in with her parents.
In 1853, Hawthorne wrote about his birthplace for the National Review: “I was born in the town of Salem, Massachusetts, in a house built by my grandfather, who was a maritime personage. The old household estate was in another part of the town, and had descended in the family ever since the settlement of the country; but this old man of the sea exchanged it for a lot of land situated near the wharves, and convenient to his business, where he built the house… and laid out a garden, where I rolled on a grass-plot under an apple-tree and picked abundant currants.”
Originally located on Union Street, the house was moved in 1958 to its current location. It is on the grounds of the Turner-Ingersoll mansion, the house Hawthorne made famous in his 1851 novel, “The House of the Seven Gables.”
He wrote his 1850 classic, “The Scarlet Letter,” in another Salem house, to be featured here in future days.