Study Guide

Nathaniel Hawthorne Timeline

Advertisement - Guide continues below

Jul 4, 1804

Nathaniel Hawthorne Born

Nathaniel Hathorne (he adds the "w" later) is born in Salem, Massachusetts. He is the second child of U.S. Navy captain Nathaniel Hathorne and Elizabeth Manning Hathorne.

Dec 19, 2019

Father Dies

Nathaniel's youngest sister, Maria Louise, is born in January. In April, his father dies of yellow fever in Suriname. Hawthorne's mentally fragile mother withdraws, leaving his uncle Robert Manning to oversee the boy's education.

Aug 1, 1820

The Spectator

Hawthorne writes and publishes The Spectator, a newsmagazine that he distributes to friends and family. It runs for one month.

Dec 19, 2019

Starts College

Hawthorne enrolls at Bowdoin College. His friends and fellow students there include future U.S. President Franklin Pierce and poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Dec 19, 2019

Graduates from College, Withdraws from World

Hawthorne graduates from Bowdoin and moves in with family back in Salem. He begins a decade-long period of intense isolation from the world. He takes his meals alone, rarely sees friends or family, and spends most of his time writing.

Dec 19, 2019

First Novel

Hathorne's first novel, Fanshawe, is published anonymously. The public ignores it.

Dec 19, 2019

The End of Nathaniel Hathorne

In October and November, Hawthorne publishes two short stories under his original name, Nathaniel Hathorne. From then on, he uses the name "Hawthorne" both personally and professionally.

Dec 19, 2019

Custom House

Hawthorne takes a job at the Boston Custom House.

Apr 1, 1841

Brook Farm

Hawthorne quits the Custom House and moves to Brook Farm, a utopian community in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He lives there until November.

Jul 9, 1842


After a three year engagement, Hawthorne marries Sophia Peabody, a painter. The couple moves to a rented house in Concord known as the Old Manse.

Mar 3, 1844

Daughter Born

Sophia gives birth to the couple's first child, a daughter named Una.

Jun 2, 1846

Son Born

The couple's second child, a son, is born. He is nameless for the first few months of his life until his parents agree on "Julian." In July, the family moves to Salem, and Hawthorne takes a position at the Salem Custom House. He publishes Mosses From an Old Manse, a short story collection.

Jun 1, 1849

Loses Job

Hawthorne is dismissed from Salem Custom House in a political shakeup. He is furious and declares, "I detest this town so much that I hate to go out into the streets, or to have people see me." He begins work on a novel about adultery and hypocrisy in Salem.

Jul 31, 1849

Mother Dies

Nathaniel Hawthorne's mother, Elizabeth Hathorne, dies. Hawthorne falls into a deep depression. He continues writing The Scarlet Letter.

Mar 1, 1850

The Scarlet Letter

Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter is published. Despite—or perhaps because of—its scandalous themes of adultery, the book is an instant bestseller. An introductory chapter called "The Custom House" takes a swipe at his former employers. Two months after its publication, the Hawthorne family moves to Lenox, Massachusetts.

Dec 19, 2019

Seven Gables and a White Whale

Hawthorne publishes The House of the Seven Gables. Herman Melville publishes Moby Dick, the novel he completed after reading Hawthorne's short story collection Mosses From an Old Manse. He dedicates the book to Hawthorne.

May 1, 1851

Daughter Born

The Hawthorne's third and final child, daughter Rose, is born.

Dec 19, 2019

The Blithedale Romance

Hawthorne publishes the novel The Blithedale Romance, a fictionalized account of the utopian community Brook Farm. He and Sophia purchase Hillside, a home in Concord, Massachusetts previously owned by the Alcott family. The Hawthornes rename it Wayside.

Dec 19, 2019

U.S. Consul

Hawthorne's old college pal Franklin Pierce takes office as President and awards Hawthorne a political appointment as U.S. Consul in Liverpool. The Hawthorne family sails to England.

Dec 19, 2019

Ends Consul Position

Hawthorne loses his position as U.S. Consul after Pierce loses the Democratic nomination for re-election. He chooses to stay on in England.

Dec 19, 2019

Back in the U.S.

Hawthorne sails back to the United States and resettles at The Wayside in Concord.

Dec 19, 1860

The Marble Faun

Hawthorne's novel The Marble Faun is published.

Dec 19, 1863

Our Old Home

Hawthorne published Our Old Home, a non-fiction account of his time in Europe. It is the last thing that he publishes.

May 19, 1864


Nathaniel Hawthorne dies in Plymouth, New Hampshire while vacationing with friend and former president Franklin Pierce. He is buried on Author's Ridge at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord.

Feb 26, 1871

Wife Dies

Sophia Peabody Hawthorne dies in London and is buried there.

Jun 26, 2006

Family Reunited

A century after their deaths, Hawthorne's wife Sophia and eldest daughter Una, both of whom were buried in England, are re-interred with him at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...