The Hawthornes

by Vernon hoggins. Columbia University Press, $5.00.
This “Story of Seven Generations of an American Family” is one of those rare instances in which the findings of somewhat specialized scholarly excavation have been fashioned into a readable and human chronicle, written with crispness and gusto. Professor Loggins has, of course, received a considerable assist from the Hawthornes (Hathornes until the novelist adopted the more euphonious spelling), whose family saga is generously charged with the ingredients of drama. The first Hawthorne to settle in Salem (around 1630) became a dreaded magistrate, who, in the name of righteousness, heaped whippings and direr punishments on his constituents; and his son, witch-hanging Justice John, took after him. These early chapters give a very lively picture of the ethos of the Puritan Era and its barbaric cruelties.
A later Hawthorne, Daniel, sea captain and privateer, is honored in ballad for his exploits against the British. Of the novel ist’s three children, the son wrote forty books which made more money than his j father’s, and eventually was involved in a commercial scandal which landed him in jail. One daughter suffered much from unrequited love, and the other joined the Dominican Order. The section on the great “ romancer ” himself adds new material to the record.