Nathaniel Hawthorne

Born: July 4, 1804 Salem, Massachusetts Died: May 19, 1864 Plymouth, New Hampshire

Writer and descendant of John Hathorne, chief magistrate in the Salem trials

Although American author Nathaniel Hawthorne was born more than a hundred years after the Salem witch trials, he was profoundly affected by the Puritans' persecution of innocent people during the New England witch-hunts. Hawthorne was a direct descendant of the Hathornes, one of the founding families of the Massachusetts colony, and his ancestor John Hathorne was the chief magistrate in the trials that led to the deaths of twenty people. Haunted by his Puritan past, Hawthorne explored the issue of sin in such works as "Young Goodman Brown" (1835; see primary source entry), The Scarlet Letter (1850), and The House of Seven Gables (1851), which have become American literary classics.

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