When struggling to become a self-supporting writer, Hawthorne
accepted an American magazine position promising $500 per year.
After six issues, the publisher declared bankruptcy and provided
only $20. Income from a job of measuring salt and coal in the
Boston Custom House was invested in the Brook Farm utopia which
also failed, as narrated in his book,The Blithedale Romance.
After the successful publication of Twice-Told Tales, Hawthorne
married Sophia Amelia Peabody and moved to Concord, where among
their friends were included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau,
and Margaret Fuller.
After three distracting years working as a surveyor of the Salem
Custom House and the disturbing death of his mother, he was prodded
to write his probing first novel, The Scarlet Letter, portraying
a proud adulteress condemned to wear a scarlet A on her dress.
Herman Melville dedicated Moby Dick to Nathaniel Hawthorne,
thereby publicly recognizing his genius.
A college friend, President Franklin Piercewhose political
biography Hawthorne had writtenappointed him consul to Liverpool,
England. Upon returning home to Concord seven years later, his
health deteriorated. He was buried in 1864 in the Sleepy Hollow
Cemetery. Now his labor of love is celebrated in a handsome two
volume set of his writings issued as part of The Library of