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!