Nathaniel Hawthorne Birthplace
Year built: 1750
Built For: Unknown
Moved to current site: 1958
The Nathaniel Hawthorne Birthplace was originally located on Union Street. It was purchased by The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association and moved to the museum campus in 1958 under the guidance of Abbott Lowell Cummings, a noted architectural historian and conservator. Unlike the high-style Georgian features in The House of the Seven Gables, the Hawthorne Birthplace is a modest example of this style.
This house is special due to the event that occurred on July 4, 1804. Nathaniel Hawthorne, the famed American novelist, was born here on that day to Elizabeth Clarke Manning and Nathaniel Hathorne. Hawthorne’s parents had grown up as neighbors and were married much to the chagrin of his paternal grandparents. He was born, according to his older sister Elizabeth, “in the chamber over that little parlor into which we looked, in that house on Union St. It then belonged to my grandmother Hawthorne, who lived in one part of it. There we lived until 1808, when my father died, at Surinam. I remember very well that one morning my mother called my brother into her room, next to the one where we slept, and told him that his father was dead.”
After the death of her husband, Elizabeth Clarke Manning Hathorne returned to her parents’ home with her three children, a move not uncommon for widows during this period.