WICKEDLOCAL.COM/THE CONCORD JOURNAL |2A | Thursday, JULY 14, 2022 | 3A
Old Concord Chapter DAR restores
Rose Hawthorne fire screen
Inscribed piece links together three famous Concord authors
The Old Concord Chapter (OCC) Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) funded and worked with Minute Man National Historic Park (NHP), and the Friends of Minute Man NHP to have the Rose Hawthorne fire screen restored close to its original state.
Rose Hawthorne painted the fire screen for Harriet Lothrop’s sitting room at the Wayside now owned by Minute Man NHP. The fire screen dedication was held at the Minute Man NHP in Lexington, MA.
The life of Rose Hawthorne and the restoration of the fire screen was discussed at the dedication with Museum Curator Nicole Walsh, NHP Museum Technician Steve Neth, and OCC member Kristina Joyce. The preservation process included reducing the accumulated wax on the wood, reducing the wax on the carved designs, reducing the blanching, stabilize a tear on the back textile, and replace a missing finial.
Rose Hawthorne was the daughter of the famous Concord author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, known for the “Scarlet Letter”, “House of Seven Gables “Tanglewood Tales”,” The Marble Faun” and other titles including a short story collection “Mosses From an Old Manse” written early in his career.
Rose inscribed on the fire screen the following text from her father's short story, "Fire Worship" in “Mosses From an Old Manse”: "Beautiful it is to see the strengthening gleam-the deepening light-that gradually casts distinct shadows of the human figure, the table, and the high-backed chairs, upon the opposite wall, and at length, as twilight comes on, replenishes the room with living radiance, and makes life all rose-color."
In addition to the text from her father’s short story, Rose Hawthorne enhanced the slate fire screen, framed in mahogany, by painting a pine branch in soft shades of green and brown. The slate fire screen was used to keep occupants of the living room shielded from the intense light, glare, and heat of a log fire while still providing heat to the room.
Rose lived with her parents at the Wayside after her parents bought the property in 1852 from the famous Alcott family consisting of writers, educators, and members of the Transcendentalist movement. Rose’s family spent time in Europe from 1853 to 1860 and after her father died in 1864 moved to Europe. Rose Hawthorne wrote “Miss Dilletante” and a book of poems. Rose and her husband, George Parsons Lathrop also an author and editor, bought the Wayside in 1879 so Rose lived at the Wayside again.
The Wayside was later sold to the famous authors and publishers in 1883, Harriet and Daniel Lothrop. Harriet Lothrop’s (not to be confused with Lathrop) pen name was Margaret Sidney. She wrote the series “Five Little Peppers”. Daniel Lothrop was her publisher and published for others too.
Rose Hawthorne Lathrop decorated the Fire screen for Harriet Lothrop’s living room soon after the Lothrop’s moved into the Wayside in 1884. Rose Hawthorne’s fire screen connected three sets of famous Concord authors. The fire screen had Nathaniel Hawthorne’s quote, done by the Rose Hawthorne an author and artist herself, and Harriet Lothrop all together.
The Wayside is also where the OCC DAR was founded on October 12, 1894, by Harriet Lothrop in the same sitting room with the fire screen. Harriet Lothrop also formed the Children of the American Revolution CAR. in her sitting room.
The Wayside with the fire screen among its artifacts symbolizes much of what the town is famous for. Its famous authors, artists and the remembrance of the American Revolution. There is much to preserve here and remember.
For more information on the Old Concord Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution see www.oldconcorddar.org.