The Old Manse is a place I have touched on at different times in my entries. I realize I had yet to take a photo of the place or perhaps avoided it because it is one of the most photographed places in Concord. However I took the plunge on a day that I felt best revealed its vibrancy despite the somber colors and lack of overt grandeur.
It is simply a crossroads of history here in Concord, Ma. A place that saw more than one brilliant mind. Home to Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne at separate periods in the 19th century. It also welcomed Henry David Thoreau who upon Hawthorne’s wedding to Sophia Peabody gifted a garden that still stands active today in an extremely precise recreation.
Sophia Peabody herself was an acclaimed artist of the era and 1/3 of a group of sisters (not the Alcotts) that were at the forefront of the Transcendentalist movement. A great read to understand the landscape of this time through notable females of the period is The Peabody Sisters,. Sophia by all accounts a beautiful but frail young women became a talented artist in the Boston area. Often certain of short life, it was Nathaniel Hawthorne who lifted her spirits and energized her. During their time at the Old Manse Nathaniel and Sophia would etch their poetic love for each other in the glass panes that still stand in the house today and can be easily read. You feel as if you’re looking in on a private moment, while not so unusual in our day and culture, it does, in this case, maintain a certain specialness when you see it in person.