SALEM — Sophia Peabody Hawthorne is popularly known for the loving and supportive relationship she had with her husband, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Sophia and Nathaniel’s love letters, beloved by romantics around the world, attest to an enduring passion between the two. But there is more. Sophia, one of history’s most celebrated muses, was also one of its most fascinating. Historian Patricia Dunlavy Valenti — also Sophia’s biographer — appears at The House of the Seven Gables to present a highly anticipated lecture on Sophia on Friday, May 18, at 6:30 p.m. Sophia broke with tradition. After her husband’s death, she strayed far beyond her 19th-century New England roots to become an intrepid traveler and an expatriate. Her capacity to appreciate foreign cultures and her decision to leave her native land permanently are topics that raise a question with contemporary relevance: What exactly does it mean to be an American? The public is invited to this special evening. The event is free for members of The House of the Seven Gables and for educators registered for the concurrent three-day professional institute. General admission to the lecture is $10 and reservations are strongly recommended. To reserve a seat, visit www.7gables.org, contact email@example.com, or call 978-744-0991, ext. 101. Patricia Dunlavy Valenti will chat with guests and sign her books, Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, A Life, volumes I and II, following the lecture.