Date of this Version
Documentary Editing: Journal of the Association for Documentary Editing, Volume 32: 2011 ISSN 0196-7134
For Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, living and writing were virtually synonymous. An inveterate letter-writer and journal-keeper, she was among the first American women to document her travels abroad. In December of 1833, Sophia Peabody departed for Cuba; she spent the next eighteen months on a coffee plantation, where her older sister Mary was a governess. In 1853, Sophia Hawthorne left the United States again, this time with her husband, Nathaniel Hawthorne, who assumed the post of United States Consul at Liverpool. During the subsequent seven years, Sophia traveled throughout England and Scotland. She and her daughters, Una and Rose, also journeyed to Portugal, where they resided in the home of long-time friend John Louis O’Sullivan, United States Consul at Lisbon. She then returned to England for a year before traveling through France in advance of an extended stay in Italy. Sophia’s record of her travels survives in approximately two-thousand manuscript pages. This significant contribution to nineteenth-century travel literature has begun to receive the scholarly attention it so richly deserves. Sophia’s transcendentalism infuses her observations of foreign, sometimes exotic, landscapes, and her accounts of travel regularly weave drawings with sentences to create visual/verbal representations of nature, architecture, art, and people.