Learn more about Pierce & Hawthorne


Nathaniel Hawthorne & Franklin Pierce, 1852, by George Healey
George J. Mitchell Dept. of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College

Pierce and Hawthorne were best friends for most of their lives. Pierce was the inspiration of one of Hawthorne’s characters in his first novel, Fanshawe, and The Life of Franklin Pierce was Hawthorne’s only work of non-fiction. Many of Hawthorne’s friends, including Henry Longfellow and Ralph Waldo Emerson, were outspoken abolitionists and never understood why Hawthorne wasn’t against slavery. They all blamed it on his relationship with Pierce.

After writing the campaign biography, Pierce gave Hawthorne a plum political appointment as Consul to Liverpool – sending Hawthorne to England and Italy for most of the 1850s. When Hawthorne died in 1864, only Pierce was at his deathbed.