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Happy Birthday, Miss Emmerton!

Today is Miss Caroline Emmerton’s 154th birthday.

Some fun facts about the birthday girl:

  • Emmerton’s family valued community service. Her grandfather, Captain John Bertram, gave $25,000 in 1873 to build Salem Hospital.
  • Captain John Bertram’s heirs donated his mansion on Essex Street to Salem to be the public library.
  • Emmerton herself was a board member at the Carpenter Street Home, a shelter for orphaned children, and at Historic New England. Emmerton was a founder of the Salem Fraternity, the first Boys and Girls Club to be established in Massachusetts.
  • Caroline Emmerton purchased the Turner-Ingersoll mansion in 1908. Emmerton continued to focus on saving threatened Salem buildings in her lifetime. The Hooper-Hathaway House (1682) was moved to the property in 1911. The Retire Becket House (1655) was saved in 1924. Today’s museum campus is a reflection of Emmerton’s dedication to preservation.
  • Emmerton used proceeds from museum visitors to fund The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association which offered immigrants a variety of services including classes, medical care, and recreational opportunities. The organization is one of 50 settlement houses that still operate today!

“If, as is generally conceded, the settlements do the best Americanization work, should not this settlement excel whose home is the ancient House of Seven Gables, the foundations of which were laid by the first immigrants who came here long ago, strangers in a strange land?”

Date: April 21, 2020

Author: sperling

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