Released July 01, 2004

SALEM, Mass. -- What was Nathaniel Hawthorne really like? Find out in an exciting new interactive exhibition at the Sharf Gallery, Phillips Library. Hawthorne presents more than 100 items, including papers, rare books, artwork, personal items and correspondence, and other objects relating to Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864). The exhibition gives a fascinating glimpse into the world of the author--his personality as a youth, his feelings about Salem, and his emergence as a writer. It also features a website,, and an interactive kiosk that uses actors’ voices and state of the art zoom technology to create a more dynamic experience of the author’s writings. The exhibition will be held July 5 to Dec. 30, 2004 in the Sharf Gallery, located on the first floor of the Phillips Library.

Please note: The Sharf Gallery will be open for extended hours this summer: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and until 8 p.m. on Thursday evenings. Fall and winter hours for the Gallery TBD; hours for other areas of the Phillips Library remain unchanged (please see below for more info).

Hawthorne was a prominent figure in 19th century America, and many of his works such as The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables changed the face of American literature. Hawthorne’s New England roots and experiences, and his sense of puritan morality and character profoundly colored his writing. Hawthorne’s family heritage included Salem sea captains and puritan officials, including Judge John Hathorn, one of the presiding judges of the infamous Salem witchcraft trials of 1692.

The Phillips Library is a major hub of Hawthorne scholarship. In addition to housing numerous original manuscripts, the library’s holdings include papers of Hawthorne’s contemporaries including Longfellow, Emerson, and Thoreau. The C. E. Fraser Clark Collection of Hawthorniana augments the exhibition, making it possible to view all American editions of Hawthorne’s works as well as personal items, correspondence, and short items that Hawthorne wrote at the young age of 12. Additionally, an 1840 portrait by Charles Osgood, which has become the signature image of Hawthorne, is part of the Peabody Essex Museum’s permanent collection and will be on view in the American Decorative Art gallery.

The Hawthorne exhibition at the Sharf Gallery includes a sampling of the museum’s most important Hawthorne holdings, including a bust of the author by Louisa Lander; papers, portraits, and photographs of family members; original correspondence by and to Hawthorne; “The Spectator,” a hand-copied newspaper produced in August and September 1820 by Hawthorne and his sister; and a large selection of rare editions of Hawthorne’s works. The online site and multi-media kiosk, which accompany the exhibition, were created by PEM’s award winning department of Research, New Media and Information.

The exhibition at the Sharf Gallery, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, is part of a series of programs and observances occurring in Salem and throughout New England that commemorate the bicentennial of the author’s birth in Salem on July 4, 1804.

The Phillips Library

As one of New England’s older libraries, the Phillips Library has a national reputation as a major resource for maritime history and art, New England life and culture, American decorative arts, Asian art and culture, Native American history and art, the art and culture of Oceania, natural history, and genealogy. Researchers, curators, and the general public may conduct research utilizing the library’s 400,000 printed volumes, over a mile in linear feet of manuscripts, and uncounted thousands of pieces of ephemera. The Phillips Library is open to the public, Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Full Day use, $15 (4-7 hours); half day use, $10 (less than 4 hours); Seniors, $13/$8; Students, $11/$6; residents of Salem, free.


PR Contacts:

April Swieconek  -  Director of Public Relations  -  978-745-9500 X3109  -

Whitney Van Dyke  -  Director of Communications  -  978-542-1828  -

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