Scarlet Letter

Christie's to auction copy of Hawthorne masterpiece

In Massachusetts, the Natick Historical Society hopes to get 250-thousand dollars for a rare copy of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter." The oldest known copy of Hawthorne's masterpiece is among 18 rare documents the historical society will auction off Thursday at Christie's in New York. That's not bad for a book that spent 118 years in a drawer before a trustee finally recognized its significance. Also on the block: letters from presidents Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams and James Madison. The Hawthorne manuscript is the crown jewel of the collection. It was donated to the historical society in 1886.