Presentation Copy of Hawthorne’s Tales of the American Revolution for Children
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Liberty Tree: with the Last Words of Grandfather’s Chair
Boston: E. P. Peabody, 1841
32mo. Original green cloth, black paper label lettered in gold. Small hole at spine, label rubbed, front hinge cracked but holding. Half morocco case.
First edition. A rare presentation copy inscribed by Hawthorne to his uncle on the title-page: “To John Dike with the author’s remembrance” and additionally signed by Hawthorne at the end of the preface.
The narrator of Hawthorne’s Liberty Tree is Grandfather, who regales the listening children with historical tales, assisted by the prop of an old chair that, he imagines, once held a variety of great figures. Grandfather speaks proudly of the American Revolution—“The world has seen no grander movement that that of our Revolution, from first to last”—and focuses on events of the Revolution in and near Boston, including the Stamp Act, the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, and the coming of General George Washington.
This book was published by Hawthorne’s future sister-in-law, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody. Hawthorne was close to the recipient of this copy, his uncle John Dike, a merchant who lived in Salem. Hawthorne later sent Dike copies of The House of the Seven Gables, A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls, and The Blithedale Romance.
When this copy sold in Gribbel’s 1941 sale, the auction catalogue noted: “This is believed to be the first copy of this work bearing an autograph presentation inscription by the author, to appear at public sale in America”—we have not located another.