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Guide to the Hawthorne Family Papers, ca. 1800-1926
Special Collections M0981  
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The Hawthorne Family papers at Stanford consist of letters, manuscripts, journals, sketch books, and memorabilia of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, wife of Nathaniel Hawthorne, and of two of their children, son Julian [1846-1934] and younger daughter, Rose [1851-1926], both writers themselves. The large majority of the papers are from the 1830s to the 1860s; from the last years of the 19th century; and from 1913 through the 1920s. The mid-nineteenth-century papers are for the most part those of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, her family and circle of friends. Rose Hawthorne Lathrop's holograph manuscripts were written before 1900, and from early in the twentieth century are letters and writings of Julian Hawthorne and letters from Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, who was by then known as Mother Alphonsa. Also included are ca. 54 leaves of holograph notes and verse, and some print material, of Anna Cora Mowatt, undated but probably from the 1850s.
Sophia Amelia Peabody was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on September 21, 1809 to Elizabeth Palmer Peabody and Nathaniel Peabody. She attended a school run by her mother and sister in Salem, Massachusetts and taught there for a short time. In December of 1833, Sophia and her sister Mary traveled to Cuba where, it was hoped, the climate would improve Sophia's delicate health. Her letters home were collected and circulated among friends by her mother as Sophia's "Cuba Journal." After returning to Salem in 1835, Sophia, though still infirm, achieved a reputation as a copyist of artworks. Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), a neighbor of the Peabodys in Salem, met Sophia late in 1838; it was, Sophia would later say, love at first sight. A long engagement followed, kept secret for some time in the hope that the families would believe Sophia strong enough to marry, and while Nathaniel sought to establish himself as a writer. It had been expected that Sophia would never marry, but her days as an invalid ended on July 9, 1842, their wedding day. As long as Nathaniel was alive, Sophia was strong and vigorous; only after his death did her health begin gradually to fail. The Hawthornes began their married life in the Old Manse, in Concord. Three children came of the profoundly happy marriage: Una in 1844, Julian in 1846, and Rose in 1851. In 1852, Hawthorne was appointed U.S. Consul to England and the family moved to Liverpool. After the completion of his term of office, they traveled about Europe, returning to Concord in 1860, where they remained until Hawthorne's death in 1864. In the seven years after Hawthorne's death, Sophia edited his journals and published them as Passages from the American Notebooks (1868), Passages from the English Notebooks (1870), and Passages from the French and Italian Notebooks (1871). Her own travel writings appeared in 1870, as Notes in England and Italy . Sophia lived her last two years in London, where she died in 1871.Born in Lenox, Massachusetts, on May 20, 1851, Rose Hawthorne spent much of her childhood with her family in England and Europe. In 1871, she married George Parsons Lathrop, an aspiring author and editor. A hasty, youthful marriage, it was never a happy one. The Lathrop's one child, Francis, died young, and the couple separated in 1895. Lathrop died in 1898. Rose Hawthorne Lathrop's first published work was a book of poems, Along the Shore (1888); in 1897 her Memories of Hawthorne appeared, following its serial publication in The Atlantic Monthly. Having converted to Roman Catholicism in 1891, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop founded the Servants of Relief for Incurable Cancer after her marriage dissolved. Known as Sister Alphonsa, she and her small religious community nursed the poorest terminally ill cancer patients in New York City. In 1899, the Servants of Relief became a Dominican Congregation and were able to open Rosary Hill Home in 1901. Rose Hawthorne, now Mother Alphonsa, lived and worked there until her death on July 9,1926, her parents' wedding anniversary. Rosary Hill Home continues today as it did almost a century ago: only those patients who are terminally ill and destitute are admitted for care by the Sisters.Nathaniel's and Sophia's second child and only son, Julian was educated at home and then piecemeal in Concord and Europe. He attended Harvard for three years, finishing training as an engineer in Europe after his father died. He went on to become a prolific and popular writer of short stories, novels, essays, and memoirs. Although he felt encumbered always by his father's accomplishments and reputation, he, like his sisters, was determined to keep his parents' memories alive. In 1884, he published Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife and, in 1903, Hawthorne and His Circle. With a certain feckless naïveté, he involved himself in a get-rich-quick scheme that resulted in a conviction for mail fraud and a year's incarceration. Freed in 1913, Julian continued his writing career almost until his death in California in 1936.Author of verse and romantic novels, playwright, and actress, Mowatt had a colorful and successful acting career in New York, retiring to England after the publication of her Autobiography of an Actress in 1854.
2 linear ft.
Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.