Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts, the son and grandson of proud and prosperous New England seafarers. But Nathaniel's father died, and he lived in genteel poverty with his widowed mother and two young sisters in a house filled with Puritan ideals and pride for past prosperity. His boyhood was, in most respects, pleasant and normal. In 1825, he graduated from Bowdoin College (Brunswick, Maine), and he returned to Salem determined to become a writer of short stories. For the next twelve years he struggled to master his craft and finally secured some small measure of success with the publication of his Twice-Told Tales (1837). He married Sophia Peabody in 1842 and their relationship was a happy one. The Scarlet Letter (1850), which brought him immediate recognition, was followed by The House of the Seven Gables (1851). After serving four years as the American Consul in Liverpool, England, he then traveled in Italy and returned home to Massachusetts in 1860. Depressed, weary of writing, and failing in health, Hawthorne died on May 19, 1864, at Plymouth, New Hampshire.