Nathaniel Hawthorne has been recognized as one of America's most important writers. He was born in Massachusetts on the Fourth of July, 1804. After his father, ship's captain, died at sea in 1808, his mother then brought her son and two daughters to live with her family. In 1821 Hawthorne was accepted to Bowdoin College. He graduated in 1825.
Twelve years later, when Twice-told Tales was published with Hawthorne's name on the cover, he received much recognition from already well-established critics. In 1837 Hawthorne met Sophia Peabody, a frail amateur artist to whom he became engaged the following year. He left the Custom House in November 1840. Two years later, in July 1842, Hawthorne married Sophia and moved into the Old Manse in Concord. His daughter Una was born in 1844.
In April 1846, Hawthorne became Surveyor of the Salem Custom House and returned to his birthplace. There, anguished by his mother's death, he wrote The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne moved to Berkshires in the spring of 1850, where he soon produced his second novel, The House of the Seven Gables.
Hawthorne's third child, Rose, was born in 1851. Then, Hawthorne was appointed Consul to Liverpool, serving from 1853 to 1857. When he returned to Concord in 1860, his health was broken. He died on May 19, 1864.