10-30-2005 10-30-2005
Skinner Auctions
Skinner Auctions Boston MA
2300 Boston
October 30, 2005 10:00 AMCalender

Pierce, Franklin (1804-1869)

Auction: Books & Manuscripts - 2300 Location: Boston Date / Time: October 30, 2005 11:00AM


Pierce, Franklin (1804-1869) Autograph letter signed, four pages, May 19, 1864, to his sister (Mrs. Aiken of Andover, Massachusetts), describing the last hours of Nathaniel Hawthorne's life, 8vo, (very good condition).Text in full: "I sent a letter to you, dearest Sister, from Center Harbor yesterday in which my apprehensions for dear Hawthorne were partially expressed. What I said would perhaps prepare you to some extent for the intelligence which may reach you by telegraph before you receive this. We came here yesterday afternoon. At about 9 o'clock Hawthorne retired, & soon fell into a quiet slumber. He changed his position in about half an hour, but continued to sleep - I retired before 11 thinking that he would have a quiet night. I awoke between 1 & 2 o'clock and went to his bed side. (There was a light in my room & a door between it and that of H, which was left open our beds were near each other. He had again changed position, but was laying naturally upon his side with his face toward me and I supposed was in quiet repose. I returned to my bed, but waking between 3 & 4 o'clock I was surprised to observe that his position was unchanged and placing my hand upon his temple found that life was extinct; I sent immediately for a Physician & called Judge Bell and Tom Hilliard who are here at a Term of the Court and occupy rooms near ours - When one observed the disposition of the limbs so perfectly natural, the repose of that noble face with the eyes closed, it was evident that he had passed away without the slightest movement and without suffering - One could hardly realize that he had passed from natural sleep to that sleep which knows no waking - Mr. Hibbard who knew dear Hawthorne has gone to Boston this morning - Poor Mrs. Hawthorne & the children! I am full of sorry of course, but my heart literally aches for them/ Love to all/ Your affect Brother/ Franklin Pierce.
Estimate $7,000-9,000


Nathaniel Hawthorne, Franklin Pierce, Andover, Aiken, Massachusetts, Center Harbor, Tom Hilliard, Physician , Judge , Hibbard, aches