Nathaniel Hathorne was born on July 4th in 1804 in Salem Massachusetts. One of Nathaniel's ancestors was known as one of the harsher judges in the Salem Witch Trials. Because of this, Nathaniel later added a "W" to his last name.
Hawthorne's love of reading and writing was developed at a young age. He apparently suffered from a leg injury which left him immobile for some time. He buried himself in books. With some help from his family, he attended Bowdoin College. During college, he befriended Franklin Pierce and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. After college, he returned home and self published several stories.
After a move out of Salem, he became quite successful. He became friends Herman Melville, who later dedicated Moby Dick to him. Hawthorne also wrote The House of Seven Gables and Tanglewood Tales and The Scarlet Letter.