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Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1835-1853

The American Note-Books

of Nathaniel Hawthorne

  1. "Introduction," by George Parsons Lathrop, to Passages from the American Note-Books, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Sophia Hawthorne, 1868, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1883 (volume IX of the 13-volume Riverside Edition of the Complete Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne).
  2. Passages from the American Note-Books, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Sophia Hawthorne, 1868, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1883 (volume IX of the 13-volume Riverside Edition of the Complete Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne). [805KB]
  3. "One of Hawthorne's Unprinted Note-Books," Atlantic Monthly, 77:459, 1-4, Jan. 1896.
  4. For those who prefer an ASCII version of the text (without the introduction or the Atlantic Monthly notebook), please download the 716KB file pfanb01.txt, or a compressed version, [233KB].
  5. Publishing and cataloging data is in the header to the HTML file, pfanb01.html (view Page Source). Note that we omit the frontispiece illustration and the index to the 1883 copy-text.


Table of Contents

Mrs. Hawthorne did not provide a Table of Contents for Passages from the American Note-Books. The printed pages have the year as a header on each page. We provide the last two digits of the year in the pagagraph tag, as for example, "g3512" is the 12th paragraph in 1835; you can see this information if you move your mouse to the first word in the paragraph.

Following is a list we have made to try to make it easier to find contents in the big file. Remember you can Find words in the file after opening it in your web browser, but AltaVista will not be able to index contents after the first 100KB, so you won't find items via our /Search/ page. Mixed in with travel notes and miscellaneous observations are some undated lists of ideas for stories--when they are clearly separate, we list them below as "notes."


  1. 1835 -- June 15, 1835, to Oct. 25, 1835.
    Salem, Boston and East Boston, Nahant, Ipswich, King's Chapel, notes.
  2. 1836 -- Aug. 31, 1836, to Oct. 25, 1836.
    Salem, notes, Danvers, FAME, notes.
  3. 1837 -- Jul. 5, 1837, to Dec. 6, 1837.
    Kennebec River, Maine, with Bridge, Irish and Canadian shanties, Hallowell and Gardiner, Augusta, Cilley, Knox's mansion, steamer to Boston, Salem, Hawthornes, notes, old portraits, notes, Boston, Navy Yard, Eben Hawthorne, Northfields, "man's finest workmanship", notes, Browne's Hill, walk to seashore, notes.
  4. 1838 -- May 11, 1838, to Oct. 24, 1838.
    Boston. note, Bridge on Cyane, dinner at Hotel Tremont, birthday on Boston Common, Charter Street burial ground, Salem harbor fishing trip, notes, wax museum, notes, to Worcester on stage-coach, Pittsfield, factories, characters, Hudson's Falls, North Adams, Graylock, Williams College, drunks, blacks, animal show caravan, Saddle Mountain Notch, Shelburne Falls, Dutchman's diorama, pig droving, circus, into Vermont, pig droving, Connecticut, Canaan, Connecticut, Tremont, notes.
  5. 1839 -- Jan. 4, 1839
  6. 1839 -- Feb. 7, 1839, to Feb. 19, 1839, from the Atlantic Monthly.
    Long Wharf in Boston.
  7. 1839 -- Extracts from his private letters, Jul. 3, 1839, Aug. 27, 1839.
    my burden, Long Wharf.
  8. 1840 -- 1840, undated.
  9. 1840 -- Feb. 7, 1840, to November, 1840.
    Boston, Long Wharf and Custom House, Boston Common, misty disquisition on light and shadow, Boston Athenæum, Herbert Street lonely chamber, Bancroft and Fuller.
  10. 1841 -- April, 1841, to Oct. 17, 1841.
    Boston Custom House, articulate words, Brook Farm, I have milked a cow!!!, facts, tableaux, Salem, sketches for Grandfather's Chair, Miroir and Bullfrog, Brook Farm and Grandfather's Library, copyright and publishing, elected, magnetism, Cow Island, Brighton agricultural fair, picnic, swine, Boston and Salem, seamstress, Cow Island walk, grapevine, crows, old houses, grave diggers. fall scenery.
  11. 1842 -- undated 1842, Jun. 1, 1842, to Nov. 24, 1842.
    notes, Pepperell and Sparhawk, Lady Ursula, Mrs. Cutts, notes, embroidered, boats on Boston Frog Pond, notes, Old Manse in Concord, Concord River, description of Old Manse, orchard, gardening, Hillard, Emerson walk to Walden, crows and Margaret Fuller, fishing, George Bradford, rainy day, charity, Mr. Thoreau, the Pond-Lily, Harvard Shaker Village with Emerson, stoves, Thanksgiving.
  12. 1843 -- Mar. 31, 1843, to Oct. 6, 1843.
    spring at Old Manse, daily routine, Boston and Salem, Longfellow, Mary Peabody, Thoreau leaving, German, Thoreau's music box, Emerson and Fuller, old Herbert Street chamber, involuntary reserve to readers, O'Sullivan, Alcott in the Dial, Tieck, Thoreau in Pond-Lily, Emerson, Channing, spring, crows and gulls, gardening, wedding anniversary, Hillards, a glorious day, walk to Walden, shanties of railroad workers.
  13. 1844 -- Extracts from letters. Apr. 14, 1844, to Jun. 10, 1844.
    Salem, Longfellow, Hillard, Una, "The Celestial Railroad", Longfellow, Prescott, alone at Old Manse, Farley cooks, Leo the dog.
  14. 1850 -- May. 5, 1850, to Dec. 19, 1850.
    Newcastle, Boston Athenæum, Hildreth, Folsom and George Ticknor, having portrait done by Thompson, studio, English copyright pirates, The Scarlet Letter, at the Fields's, a canary, Parker's and drinking, view from back of hotel, Thompson, a heroic world, pantomime at theater, stable and workers, more observations of downtown Boston, Lenox, language, Holmes, Fields, Field, Duyckinck, Melville, Monument Mountain, Whipple, James Russell Lowell, Julian, notes.
  15. 1851 -- Feb. 12, 1851, to November, 1851.
    Lenox, walks, imitators, Fourier and lemonade, notes, Channing, West Newton, how to find happiness.
  16. 1852 -- Apr. 13, 1852, to Sep. 16, 1852.
    West Newton, The Blithedale Romance, the Isle of Shoals, Pierce, Thaxter, Star Island, Gosport, Betty Moody's Hole, buried treasure, Smith's monument, Laighton's Hotel, White Island with Thaxter, Smuttynose, graves of Spaniards, talking of ghosts.
  17. 1853 -- Mar. 9, 1853, to Jun. 9, 1853.
    Tanglewood Tales, went to Washington, caresses, snake in attic of Wayside, modern Cupid, burning old letters, fire.


A note on this text

Our copy-text is volume 9 of the Riverside Edition of the Complete Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Passages from the American Note-Books of Nathaniel Hawthorne. The print copy has a frontispiece engraving, "Along the Shore," not reproduced here. The print text has 445 pages, including the introduction, with no other front matter. We do not supply the 12-page index to the printed text for this online edition. Pagination as in the print edition is preserved as anchors in the HTML Page Source, for example as "p01", but is not visible in the rendered screen text. Links to paragraphs are visible by selecting the first word of each paragraph; you may use those links to make references to the text from your HTML code and external web pages (see the bottom of the web page for suggested MLA-style references). End-of-line hyphenation has been eliminated for HTML, according to our best judgment. The em dash has been rendered as two minus signs without intervening space. There are two inline footnotes to the introduction, and two (by Sophia Hawthorne) in the text. (We have not provided any links to a glossary or notes from the text.) In the ASCII text some emphasized words rendered as italic in the print edition are left as roman in ASCII. Phrases in foreign languages (French, Latin) are coded within "cite" tags.

We also present an article from the January, 1896, Atlantic Monthly that gives one of the notebooks not printed in this earlier edition. It was originally printed in two columns, but is presented in one here. Incidentally, this article in the Atlantic finishes on the same page as begins the first chapter of the first magazine publication of the now-famous novel by Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs.

Some of the notebooks, or scrapbooks or diaries, that Hawthorne jotted notes on during his life and travels, were left to his family upon his death in 1864. His widow, Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, set out to edit them and publish them, in order to support herself and her family. She added parts of letters to the journals, where they seemed skimpy, and left out parts that might not be polite to publish in cases where they referred to living people. For example, most of the names were not given fully, only initials. A modern comparison of the surviving manuscripts with Mrs. Hawthorne's editions indicates that not only were other parts left out because she did not feel they represented Hawthorne favorably, but also some references were scratched out of the original manuscripts by her. At least one "lost" notebook has turned up and has been published (and newly copyrighted) in recent years--perhaps there are more out there!

Since the deaths of Mrs. Hawthorne and her son Julian, the manuscripts have been studied by scholars who have made better editions of the notebooks, along with scholarly notes. The Ohio State University Press has published these scholarly editions of the journals, but they are expensive and under new copyright, so we cannot post them here. However, if you intend to publish a scholarly reference to the journals, please use those editions as references. We do hope that publishing this edition online will be of some interest to readers of Hawthorne, and welcome any corrections or comments from readers.

Henry James in his book Hawthorne (do a Find for "Note-Book" once you open it) discusses at length his interpretation of the Note-Books. He puzzles as to just what Hawthorne's purpose was in writing them. There are obvious notes that were later developed into much different and better stories. But perhaps it is just as well that one of Poe's newly invented police detectives did not get the chance to examine them for clues while Hawthorne was still alive!


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Use as in ?Help? page citation guide.

Eldred, Eric. &quot;American Note-Books of Nathaniel Hawthorne&quot; <br />
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;1999. 23 Oct. 1999. <br />
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Eldred, Eric. "American Note-Books of Nathaniel Hawthorne."

     1997. 23 Oct. 1997


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