"The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne is set in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which is present-day Boston, Mass. It takes place in the middle of the 17th century.
While no specific date is cited in the novel, it is presumed that the events take place in the mid-1600s, following the settlement of the Puritans in the New England area of the United States. By the 1640s, approximately 25,000 Puritans made their home in the Massachusetts Bay Colony where "The Scarlet Letter" is set. Although the location of the story is in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Hawthorne wrote the novel in the Salem area in the 1840s.