|Hawthorne statue, Salem, MA|
Today is the 207th birthday of Nathaniel Hawthorne, to whom Melville inscribed Moby-Dick.
Born in Salem, Massachusetts (at 27 Union Street, where there is no historical marker!). He grew up, went to college, married the girl next door (around the corner, really, at 105 Essex Street, where there is a marker), became a big-time writer, was appointed U.S. consul in Liverpool, and was buried in Concord.
Along the way, Melville latched onto him as a mentor. Hershel Parker, in his biography of Melville, 2nd volume, wrote, "By understanding Moby-Dick as a great truth-telling allegory, Hawthorne had proved himself the ideal audience of one."
Thanks and happy birthday, Mr. Hawthorne.
PS - If you're walking around Salem, stroll down Mall Street and look at #16. Years ago when I lived nearby, it had a sign stating that Hawthorne lived there while he was writing The Scarlet Letter.