Although he was known for many short stories, Nathaniel Hawthorne‘s first novel, The Scarlet Letter, was first published on this day in 1850. It was one of the first mass-produced books in the United States and sold more than 2,500 copies in the first ten days.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts on July 4, 1804 and died in New Hampshire in 1864 at the age of 59.
In 1891, about 30 years after Hawthorne’s death, Daniel Low, a silversmith and jeweler from Salem, designed a souvenir spoon in honor of Hawthorne. Low is credited with starting the souvenir spoon collecting craze with his Salem Witch spoon, which was released earlier the same year.
The spoon has Nathaniel Hawthorne’s signature running up the handle and at the top is his portrait, which looks like it could be a replica of the photograph taken by Matthew Brady around 1860. It reads “Salem” underneath.
The back of the handle has a list of Hawthorne’s most popular novels and short stories: The House of the Seven Gables (1851), The Scarlet Letter (1850), The Marble Faun (1860), and Twice Told Tales (1837).
On the back near the base is the silver mark of the William B. Durgin company, along with Daniel Low’s designer stamp.