Nathaniel Hawthorne


Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804‒64) was an American novelist and short-story writer. Descended from an early Puritan family, he was born in Salem, Massachusetts, and educated at Bowdoin College. His works, many of which are set in colonial New England, explore moral and spiritual conflicts and the power of the past over the present. His best-known works include Twice-Told Tales (1837), Mosses from an Old Manse (1846), The Scarlet Letter (1850), The House of the Seven Gables (1851), and The Blithedale Romance (1852). He served as American consul at Liverpool in 1853‒57 and was a friend or acquaintance of many important American writers, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Herman Melville, and Henry David Thoreau. The image is from an album of mostly Civil War-era portraits by the famous American photographer Matthew Brady (circa 1823‒96) that belonged to Emperor Pedro II of Brazil (1825‒91), a collector of photography as well as a photographer himself. The album was a gift to the emperor from Edward Anthony (1818‒88), another early American photographer who, in partnership with his brother, owned a company that in the 1850s became the leading seller of photographic supplies in the United States. Dom Pedro may have acquired the album during a trip to the United States in 1876 when he, along with President Ulysses S. Grant, opened the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Brady was born in upstate New York, the son of immigrants from Ireland. Best known for his photographs documenting the battles of the American Civil War, he began his career in 1844 when he opened a daguerreotype portrait studio at the corner of Broadway and Fulton Streets in New York City. Over the course of the next several decades, Brady produced portraits of leading American public figures, many of which were published as engravings in magazines and newspapers. In 1858 he opened a branch in Washington, DC. The album, which also contains a small number of non-photographic prints, is part of the Thereza Christina Maria Collection at the National Library of Brazil. The collection is composed of 21,742 photos assembled by Emperor Pedro II throughout his life and donated by him to the national library. The collection covers a wide variety of subjects. It documents the achievements of Brazil and Brazilians in the 19th century and also includes many photographs of Europe, Africa, and North America.

Last updated: March 22, 2016