Here we glimpse a few images from Hawthorne's life and writings. Some notes by an amateur are supplied as text descriptions for the blind, or those of us who look but do not see. (Lynx users may press the slash key and enter the string Text with an capital T to go to the next text description, which ends with the word END.)
Help: Each piece of art is listed separately, with an inline thumbnail (visible only with graphic browsers, not Lynx--there is no ALT text because the next words identify it), source, and notes. Clicking on the thumbnail or the anchor that says "load" opens, or attempts to transfer, the full picture or graphic file (which may take a long time, depending on your connection speed and bandwidth). Sizes of JPEG and GIF images are listed in kilobytes so you can predict the wait. All picture files are situated in the parent directory "../pix/", but this site does not permit anonymous ftp; you may save images to your own computer by right-clicking on the thumbnail from some browsers. Please respect copyrights, where these are given. Note: we have made this page background white to try to reproduce the art better, instead of the usual minty-green of the rest of the Hawthorne pages.
No discussion of Nathaniel Hawthorne portraits would be complete without reference to the excellent book, Portraits of Nathaniel Hawthorne: An Iconography, by Rita K. Gollin, Northern Illinois University Press, 1983 [Goll83].
A collection of book cover illustrations over the years would be quite instructive. The changing view of Hester would reveal much of our history. One collection was on the web long ago but has disappeared.
We've placed some illustrations to a 1948 edition of The Scarlet Letter in a separate file.
And at the bottom of that file are links to color illustrations by Hugh Thomson from a 1915 edition ofThe Scarlet Letter, together with some text descriptions and links to the illustrated texts.
We've placed more illustrations to a 1950 edition of The House of the Seven Gables in another file.
Likewise, we have 50 photogravure illustrations to an 1890 edition of The Marble Faun in still another separate file.
"When I first saw the room, [the study of the Old Manse, 1842] its walls were blackened with the smoke of unnumbered years, and made still blacker by the grim prints of Puritan ministers that hung around. These worthies looked strangely like bad angels, or, at least, like men who had wrestled so continually and so sternly with the devil, that somewhat of his sooty fierceness had been imparted to their own visages." [The Old Manse: today's viewers of the cleaned portraits would notice the long hair or powdered wigs and elaborate clothing of these latter-day revivalist Puritans such as Whitefield. However, the portraits on display look like frontispieces to books, not paintings or separate engravings or prints.]
Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1840, in an oil-on-canvas painting by Charles Osgood, courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass. Gift of Richard Clarke Manning, 1933. Please license this image from the museum for any commercial purposes, instead of attempting to use these online copies, which have been purposely degraded. Inexpensive posters of this portrait are also available at the Old Manse and House of the Seven Gables gift shops. An oil copy by an unknown artist is at the Turner Street house, and shows a little more hair on top. Another oil copy, by Clive Edwards, was purchased by the Salem Atheneum in 1930 [Goll83 22], but we haven't seen it.
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[Text description:] Hawthorne portrait by Osgood is to his waist against a green background. A handsome man with a shaven face, he looks a little younger than his 36 years. He is dressed in his favorite black with a cape-shouldered double-breasted formal jacket and black bow tie fastened high with a white shirtfront and high collar showing. His dark hair spills over the tops of his ears and is full in back, but a little receding in front. His piercing eyes, gazing to his right, somewhat pensively, draw your full attention. A close examination of the original painting, which has been cleaned, reveals the eyes to be definitely gray or hazel-gray (Rita Gollin says "hazel"--personal communication, 1996), but not blue, as in some reproductions of this painting. END.
Nathaniel Hawthorne. Engraved portrait by S. A. Schoff, frontispiece, volume 2 of Julian Hawthorne's Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife, 1884. After the 1840 Osgood painting, while still owned by R. C. Manning.
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[Text description:] This engraving looks like the portrait except Hawthorne appears younger, with more hair and fuller lips. END.
Nathaniel Hawthorne. Engraved portrait by Thomas Phillibrown, after an 1850 painting by Cephas Giovanni Thompson. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1854. MA 611. Courtesy The Pierpont Morgan Library. This is the picture most readers had of Hawthorne, since it was the first one to appear in his books.
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[Text description:] Hawthorne looks relaxed but serious. There is something about the arched left eyebrow, and right side of his face completely shaded, that makes him look rather sinister, stern, or superior. He seems to have lost some of the open innocence of the earlier portrait. END.
(3KB) engraving (b&w) etched by S. A. Schoff, from a photograph taken in 1860 in London by Mayal[l], reproduced in volume 2 of Julian Hawthorne's book, Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife, 1884. (See Gollin's book for a discussion and clarification of the Mayal photograph controversy.)
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[Text description:] Fine engraving of bust of Nathaniel Hawthorne gazing piercingly to his left, with deep dark eye sockets (not gray eyes here). He has a fierce, drooping Civil War mustache, matching his thick black eyebrows, but less hair on top than a few years before. His hair is still over his ears, and he is wearing his customary black suit with a black bow tie and a white shirt. END.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1862, in an oil painting by Emanuel Leutze. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, gift of Andrew W. Mellon. Hawthorne mentions sitting for Leutze during his visit to Washington, D.C., written up in "Chiefly About War Matters."
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[Text description:] A flattering portrait of Hawthorne two years before he died. He has a deep brown moustache without any white hairs showing, and a little wave at the top of his high forehead. His cheeks are not hollow as in photographs near this time. He looks right at you with those wonderful gray or hazel eyes, leaning back a little and seeming almost frighteningly like he is appraising you. END.
Nathaniel Hawthorne at the age of 58. Etched by S. A. Schoff. From a photograph taken in Boston. Opposite page 300, volume 2, Julian Hawthorne's Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife, 1884. (We lost our scan from Julian's book and have substituted another from Rita Gollin's book here.)
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[Text description:] Hollow cheeks, burning eyes under heavy eyebrows, whispy long hair and large dark moustache make an intense, almost forlorn, picture of the author near the end of his life. END.
Sophia Amelia Peabody, at the age of 36, etched 1884, by S. A. Schoff, opposite page 242, volume 1 of Julian Hawthorne's Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife, 1884.
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[Text description:] Sophia Peabody contemplates the viewer with her large, placid eyes. She is quite plain even in this portrait. Her nose and philtrum are a little too large and she looks as if she might need glasses. Her hair and dress are not at all fashionable; she wears no jewellery (is that a locket or a high collar?). Even though she is a dentist's daughter, we cannot see her teeth. She will be the perfect wife for Nathaniel. END.
Hathorne, ("Bold Daniel", (Nathaniel
Hawthorne's grandfather, the Revolutionary War privateer)
etching, 1884, by S. A. Schoff, frontispiece, volume 1 of
Julian Hawthorne's Nathaniel Hawthorne and His
Wife, 1884, from a miniature in possession of the
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[Text description:] Bold Daniel looks like his son Nathaniel Hathorne and grandson Nathaniel Hawthorne, with somewhat sad eyes and no smile; hair is a little receding but worn long over the ears. He looks a little shorter and pudgier than them, though. The original miniature is very fine and was much admired by Hawthorne and his son. END.
Hathorne, (father to the author Nathaniel, who
died when his son was four) etching, 1884, by S. A. Schoff,
opposite page 36, volume 1 of Julian Hawthorne's
Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife, 1884, from a
miniature in possession of the author.
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[Text description:] Hawthorne's father is a handsome young fellow, thinner than his father Daniel, not smiling, with somewhat sad eyes and level eyebrows; hair is a little receding but worn long over the ears. The original miniature is very fine and was much admired by Hawthorne and his son Julian. END.
Pierce etching, 1852, as frontispiece to The Life of Franklin
Pierce. Signature beneath is poor copy and not
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[Text description:] Poor copy of engraving of Franklin Pierce, frontispiece to Hawthorne's campaign biography of the 14th president of the United States and a fellow alumnus of Bowdoin College. Pierce looks rather complacently right at the viewer, not smiling. He has curly hair and rather bushy eyebrows. From his looks, he could well command the respect of a general, as he was. Deep crow's-feet folds at the corners of his eyes make him look genial and trustworthy, as a presidential candidate should look. END.
Autograph manuscript journal,
dated 1841-1852, in the Pierpont Morgan collection, New
York. Courtesy of New York University:
Only this leaf, containing the title and table of contents, survives from Hawthorne's manuscript of The Scarlet Letter (published in March, 1850, by Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, Boston). According to his friend Annie Adams Fields (with whom he entrusted the manuscript of The House of the Seven Gables), Hawthorne burned the remainder of the manuscript of The Scarlet Letter, returned after publication. "I threw that in the fire," he told her, "put it up the chimney long ago."
71. Purchased by Pierpont Morgan with the Wakeman collection, 1909. (12KB)
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[Text description:] Manuscript on blue paper sheet with cursive writing and roman numeral headings of Scarlet Letter table of contents, just as it was printed, without any blots or scratching-outs, and including the introductory, The Custom House. The paper has some brown spots from age. The heading is just "Contents," without a title. Hawthorne's writing gets larger and slants up at right toward the bottom of page. Pages for chapters are not numbered (just ditto marks), but there is no room for the additional tales mentioned in the introduction, and they are not listed. Notice Hawthorne's large second letter "s" in "ss", and the intricate capital "A" done without the pen's leaving the paper. END.
manuscript letter from Nathaniel Hawthorne, July
15, 1852, Concord, from facsimile reproduced as plate
opposite page 224 in 1896 book by G. P. Putnam, Little
Journeys to the Homes of American Authors.
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[Text description:] Autograph letter from Nathaniel Hawthorne dated July 15, '52, Concord. "I passed by the Old Manse, a few days ago, for the first time in nearly seven years. Notwithstanding the repairs, it looked very much as of yore except that a large window had been opened on the roof, through which light and cheerfulness probably shine into the duskiest part of the dim garret of my own time. The trees of the avenue--how many leaves have fallen since I last saw them!--had an aspect of new ?freshness, which disappointed me; either..." The signature is on the side, "Truly yours, Nathl Hawthorne." END.
Snow-image engraving frontispiece from Legends of the Province House and Other Twice-Told Tales, by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Boston: Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1883, 1900, in the Riverside Aldine Classic series and Riverside Edition). The brown-inked (blue in some Riverside editions) photogravure is signed "CHURCH." but no credit is given elsewhere in the book. It appears this is the work of illustrator Frederic S. Church.
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[Text description:] The snow-image is a young girl described in the story of the same name, standing in the snow feeding little snow-birds from her hands, with her long robe and long hair blowing sinuously in the wind. A white ground and leafless twigs and background trees indicate the winter. She seems innocent and happy to play in the snow, not at all cold in spite of her thin dress and bare feet. END.
Faun of Praxiteles marble statue in the Capitoline Museum, Rome, Italy. This may be a copy, and may not be by Praxiteles, the 4th century B.C. Athenian Greek sculptor. Hawthorne greatly preferred this one to a similar copy in the Vatican he also saw in 1858. (1KB, b&w photo, from Alinari-Art Reference Bureau, no copyright listed.)
[Load photo] (faun5.gif, photograph, b&w, 342x568gif, 16shades, 30KB) Used in The Marble Faun as a symbol of romantic transformation from innocent, classical, Edenic nature to modern, sinful, human society.
[Text description:] Hawthorne gives a good description in the first chapter of The Marble Faun of the statue of the Faun of Praxiteles. It is not an animal but rather an man with a few animal features. From the photograph one cannot tell if the ears indeed are furry or pointed, since a mass of curly hair obscures them. (But if you read the preface and conclusion carefully, you will see that many readers mistakenly took his words literally, not as the Romance he intended, so does it really make a difference if they, and Donatello's, are furry or not?) Also, the statue now has a leaf covering the figure's private area, not mentioned by Hawthorne, who reportedly disapproved of nudity in statues. END.
[Text description:] The Salem Custom House is seen, with the large eagle like a black bat over the door, and showing the tower addition. A merchant cutter is docked parallel with Derby Street to the left, and no buildings on Derby Wharf are seen to the right. Surveyor Hawthorne's office was to the left of the door, and you can see the building in the rear, where Hawthorne wrote he found the scarlet letter. END.
Hilda's Tower in the Via Portoghese, Rome, Italy, etched by E. H. Garrett, title page illustration from volume 2 of Julian Hawthorne's Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife, 1884. This tower was seen by Hawthorne in Rome in 1858 (see his journal entry) and was used in his novel The Marble Faun as the residence and studio of the innocent New England artist, Hilda. (2KB, b&w engraving)
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[Text description:] Hilda's Tower is mentioned and lightly sketched in words in chapter 6 of The Marble Faun. The engraving shows the top two-thirds of the tower, the Mansard-roofed palace behind it and halfway up it, and the taller structures on the sides of the street that ends in the small square in front of the tower. The street level and first floors are not shown. At the top of the tower is seen a large shrine with a statue of the Virgin with large rays projecting from it. A large lantern is placed at the corner of the tower roof, just facing the statue. The tower is square with a heavy, arched, buttressed top floor and big windows, including shutters on a large single, lower window. Doves are flying around the picture, especially the top of the tower. The engraving does not show battlements on the tower roof edge, though they might exist at the corners; the original engraving's scale is quite small, only a few inches on each side. END.
Mature black ash trees lined the avenue from Monument Street to the Old Manse (about 1909). (6KB, b&w photo, from the American Memory Project, Library of Congress.)
"The glimmering shadows, that lay half-asleep between the door of the house and the public highway, were a kind of spiritual medium, seen through which, the edifice had not quite the aspect of belonging to the material world. Certainly it had little in common with those ordinary abodes, which stand so imminent upon the road that every passer-by can thrust his head, as it were, into the domestic circle." [ The Old Manse]
The black ash tree prefers low-lying or swampy areas,
such as near the Concord River here. Its wood is fairly
light and soft but is used for interior paneling and for
basket weaving. It is often confused with the hickory tree,
as it has a peeling, cork-like bark (it is a member of the
olive family), but its leaves are opposite, not alternate,
and it drops winged samaras, not nuts. When Sophia's father
visited, he was reported to have picked up fallen branches,
a never-ending job under black ashes. (Perhaps the trees
blew down finally in the hurricane of 1938.) Black ash is
too light for good firewood, which the Old Manse needed in
abundance. The present black locust (acacia) trees serve
that purpose better.
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[Text description:] Large, thick trees line each side of a mowed avenue, and arch overhead like a cathedral. The lower story of the house is just visible at the end, or at least the door, two windows on the left, and one on the right, about 120 feet (40 meters) away, as the road curves to the left to what looks like a carriage house. The viewpoint is just inside the gate, not seen. The wheel-track is a lighter shade and possibly of gravel. It seems to be a sunny day in late spring or summer, about noon, but it feels cool. The photograph cannot show any glimmering, but the light is indeed shadowy and half-asleep. This would be a good scene to visit--but it can be done only in the spiritual medium of your imagination now. END OF TEXT DESCRIPTIONS.