Miss Hawthorne is making a permanent contribution to American letters in her biographies for young people of figures in New England's group of writers. This life of Doctor Holmes should have an adult sale, since there is little available on a man who played an important part in the development of The Atlantic Monthly, as well as making his name a byword through his homely essays and poetry. Perhaps he was not a great figure in literature. But assuredly, he was a vital figure as a man -- and a leader in his profession and a factor in literary history. The bits about the boyhood of Doctor Holmes' son, Chief Justice Holmes, are an important facet of a book that is full of interest.