Concord and Salem each celebrated the centennial (100th) birthday of Nathaniel Hawthorne on July 4, 1904.
For the Essex Institute's celebration, Henry James wrote a letter in lieu of attending.
The Concord festivities were organized by Mrs. Daniel Lothrop, then owner of the last home of Hawthorne, and an author of books for children.
According to Moncure D. Conway, Concord resident and biographer of Hawthorne (in his Autobiography, Memories and Experiences, cited by Josephine Latham Swayne, The Story of Concord, 1906, page 306),
"Mrs. Daniel Lothrop, present owner of The Wayside. . . had the happy enterprise to make the centennial birthday of the unique author, July 4, 1904, the occasion of a literary fete. With beautiful hospitality she entertained in her house Julia Ward Howe, Thomas Wentworth Higginson and myself, Hawthorne's acquaintances, and with some of the younger generation,--among these Beatrix Hawthorne, grand-daughter of the great man,--we the survivors held memorable symposia. . . . On the first day of the fete Wentworth Higginson spoke out in the grove in his characteristic vein of subtle wit and wisdom, and Beatrix--a lovely maid of twenty, a mystical apparition of her grandfather--drew aside the American flag which veiled a tablet of the author who walked there."
The tablet was placed on a boulder next to Hawthorne's path to the hill at The Wayside. It bears the following inscription:
This tablet placed
at the centennial exercises
July 4, 1904
He trod daily this path to the hill
as he passed to and fro
upon its summit
his marvelous romances.
The centennial proceedings, with illustrations and a genealogy, were published in a rare volume.
Make your plans for the bicentennial, July 4, 2004, now!