Illustration of the Custom House from early edition of The Scarlet Letter From first page of "The Custom-House" chapter in the 1878 edition of The Scarlet Letter published in 1878 by James R. Osgood and Co. in Boston. Illustration drawn by Mary Hallock Foote and engraved by A.V.S. Anthony (1) (courtesy of James R. Osgood and Co.)
Exterior of the Salem Custom House, 2000 Constructed in 1819, the Salem Custom House is a superb example of American Federalist public architecture. Hawthorne worked here as surveyor of the port from 1846-1849; import duties collected here helped finance the federal government. Constructed on ground where the George Crowninshield house once stood, the Salem Custom house, says Bryant F. Tolles, Jr. in Architecture of Salem, "may be entered through a beautifully adorned front central doorway serviced by a sweeping flight of granite steps. Combining delicate restraint and rich detail in the best tradition of Salem Federal architecture are the balustraded front entrance, with its four attenuated Ionic composite columns and fully developed entablature, and the modified Palladian window above which the porch column entablature elements are repeated. Perched high on the roof balustrade rests, in Hawthorne's words, 'an enormous [gilded] specimen of the American eagle, with outspread wings, a shield before her breast, ...a bunch of intermingled thuinderbolts and barbed arrows in each claw....' Surmounting the hipped roof, with its tall brick chimneys, is an octagonal Italianate cupola that dates from alterations (mostly interior) made in 1853/4. A three-story bonded warehouse ell is attached to the rear. Although the construction of the Custom House occurred several years after Samuel McIntire's death, it shows McIntire's influence, perhaps in large part because four of his contemporaries--nephew Joseph McIntire, Jr., David Lord, Joseph Edwards, and Joseph True--are known to have labored on the building. Perley Putnam (1778-1864) of Salem supervised construction" (58).
(photography by Aaron Toleos)
View from inside Custom House cupola to Derby Wharf (courtesy of Halldor F. Utne)
Sign in Hawthorne's office in the Salem Custom House The sign features an excerpt from "The Custom House" chapter of The Scarlet Letter in which Hawthorne describes his office.
Sign on the front of the public office of the Collector in the Salem Custom House
Sign on the private office of the Collector in the Salem Custom House
People, Places, and Illustrations Related to The Custom House Sketch
Photograph of Nathaniel Hawthorne from a daguerreotype,1848(?) This image was made during the period when he served as surveyor at the Salem Custom House and may have been done by John Adams Whipple, Boston. (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Portrait of Simon Forrester, eighteenth-century Salem merchant This portrait hangs in the Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum. (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Simon Forrester House, 188 Derby Street in Salem at the corner of Hodges Court The house has been significantly altered from the original, believed to have been designed by Samuel McIntire around 1790. The house is located next door to the Custom House and was convenient to the Central Wharf. Significant alterations have been made in the house since World War I, resulting in the removal of many of its original architectural details.
Forrester, of Scotch-Irish ancestry, was brought to the U.S. by Captain Daniel Hathorne (1731-1796), Hawthorne's grandfather. Forrester married the daughter of Captain Daniel Hathorne and Rachel Phelps Hathorne (1734-1814). Also named Rachel, she was Nathaniel's cousin. Forrester became wealthy during the Revolutionary War, but his reputation is tainted by stories of his alcoholism. Hawthorne inserts Forrester into The Custom House Sketch, calling him "old Simon Forrester." (photography by Bruce Hibbard)
Portrait of General James F. Miller, Collector of the Port from 1825-1849, which hangs in the Salem Custom House (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Photograph of portrait of James F. Miller, Collector of the Port from 1825-1849, Salem Custom House
St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Salem Constructed in 1833, St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Salem rests on the same site the original Episcopal Church occupied for which Philip English donated land in 1734. It would have been one of the many places of worship familiar to Hawthorne during his years in Salem.
Derby Wharf c. 1879 Constructed in 1764-1771 by Richard Derby and Elias Haskett Derby, the wharf was extended in 1806-1808.
Sign at Derby Wharf in Salem, 2001
Derby Wharf and Salem Harbor shoreline, painting by Fred Freeman, c. 1803 Freeman’s painting offers a powerful image of human beings harmoniously engaged in a common pursuit. According to Claudia Durst Johnson Hawthorne saw these moments and both valuable and fleeting. To work with others toward a common goal is to subordinate the self to the welfare of the larger whole, an attitude in direct opposition to the damaging pride that aflicts so many of Hawthorne's villains. The attitude has a humility in it that brings to mind Hawthorne's virtuous figures such as Earnest of "The Great Stone Face" or The Scarlet Letter's Hester Prynne in her moments that approach selfless charity.
(courtesy of Salem Maritime National Historic Site)
Painting of India Wharf in 1806 by George Ropes
Charter Street Graveyard and Peabody (Grimshawe) House in Salem Judge Hathorne and seven other Hathornes are buried here, but Hawthorne is buried in Concord. The Peabody House is where Sophia lived with her parents when Hawthorne courted her. It is also the setting of "Grimshawe" and the unfinished novel,The Dolliver Romance. (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
14 Mall Street in Salem Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter while living in this house.
Postcard c. 1907 with picture of 14 Mall St., Salem Hawthorne lived in this house when he wrote The Scarlet Letter in 1849.
Parlor on second floor of 14 Mall Street in Salem Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter in this house.
Hawthorne's Study at 14 Mall Street From Columbia Exposition Pictures by Frank Cousins
14 Mall Street in 2001 Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter in this house.
House at 27 Herbert Street in Salem where the merchant, Elias Hasket Derby (1739-1799), grew up. In the Custom House chapter of The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne refers to E.H. Derby as "King Derby."
E.H. Derby House, 168 Derby St., next to the Salem Custom House This house was built by E.H. Derby for his son, E.H. Derby, jr., on the occasion of his marriage to Elizabeth Crowninshield and is the oldest surviving brick house in Salem. It was later occupied by the Nichols, Prince, and Ropes families, other important Salem merchants. A fine example of Georgian Colonial architecture, it has fine brick detailing and a Tuscan Doric classical doorway with triangular pediment. In 1790 a kitchen ell was added. After falling into disrepair in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the house was purchased by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities and restored. Further restorations have been completed by the National Park Service which has operated the property since 1938. (photography by Aaron Toleos)
The John Tucker Daland House, formerly the Essex Institute (in Hawthorne's time known as the Essex Historical Society) is now part of the Peabody Essex Museum. (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
Images of Celebration of Publication of The Scarlet Letter
The crowd gathers at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Scarlet Letter on March 16, 2000. Dr. Berkley Peabody, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature from SUNY, Albany and evening speaker, in the red tie; Michael Blatty to his right.
Cake with the letter "A" for celebration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Scarlet Letter at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site
Poster advertising 1965 film version of The Scarlet Letter This poster,owned by Peter Blatty, was exhibited at the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Scarlet Letter at the Salem Custom House.