Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2015

Publication Title

Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies


Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mary Hallock Foote, American literature, novel, illustration, graphics, gender studies


It took 28 years after Nathaniel Hawthorne published The Scarlet Letter in 1850 for Mary Hallock Foote to render drawings for one of the novel’s first illustrated editions, which was probably the first ever to be illustrated by a woman.(1) It took 130 years after the publication of Foote’s illustrated edition in 1878 for Project Gutenberg to digitize and disseminate Hawthorne’s novel with Foote’s illustrations.(2) It has taken seven years for Hawthorne scholarship to commence addressing and examining Foote’s edition, and theorize what her drawings suggest about the act of seeing, for the heroine’s audiences in the book, and for the author’s audiences reading the book.(3) This essay is one of the first to seek to recreate this 1878 dialogue between a male author and a female illustrator, and to assess how it implicitly alters the conversations within Hawthorne’s novel, about how men and women like Arthur Dimmesdale and Hester Prynne see one another, as well as how they each cope, in turn, with being seen.


Special Issue: Illustration and Gender: Drawing the Nineteenth Century

Original Published Citation

Sonstegard, Adam. "Mary Hallock Foote: Reconfiguring the Scarlet Letter, Redrawing Hester Prynne." Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, vol. 11, no. 2.


Publisher's PDF