OPEN DAILY 10:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.

Celebrating our Founder’s Birthday Month

April is an auspicious month at The House of the Seven Gables. Our founder, Caroline Emmerton, was born on April 21, 1866, on Summer Street in Salem to George Emmerton and Jennie Bertram Emmerton. Both the Emmerton and Bertram families were wealthy, having made large fortunes in the early 1800s Salem maritime trade. They were also very charitable – Caroline’s grandfather, Captain John Bertram, gave $25,000 in 1873 to build Salem Hospital. His heirs donated his mansion on Essex Street for use as the Salem Public Library. Jennie Bertram Emmerton was well known for her charitable work with the Salem Society for Higher Education for Women and the Old Ladies’ Home. Jennie and her father purchased the Woman’s Friend Society’s Emmerton House for them.

Caroline followed in her family’s footsteps. While she is most famous for her restoration of The Turner-Ingersoll Mansion and the creation of The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association, she was involved in many charitable movements in Salem. In her lifetime she established multiple baby weighing stations that allowed parents to track the health and development of their children, an important step in lowering infant mortality rates. The weigh stations led to a collaboration with Aroline Gove to found the Lydia Pinkham Memorial Clinic on Derby Street, providing free services to children, young adults, and mothers. Caroline was a founding member of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA), now Historic New England. She was a director of the Seaman’s Widow and Orphan Society, and of the Family Service Association (formerly Salem Welfare Society). Caroline served as a trustee of the Plummer Farm School, a boy’s reform school and orphanage. She played an active role as part of the Salem Fraternity Board of Directors, and taught classes there as well. Throughout the First World War she funded many War Chests, Liberty Bond drives, and Red Cross drives.

156 years after her birth, Caroline’s dedication to serving the community still drives our work. The House of the Seven Gables has been a center of Salem’s community for over a century – sharing a rich history with visitors from around the globe and providing educational resources for people in greater Salem. We continue to build community through tours, special programs, settlement classes, publications, and events.

Happy birthday, Miss Emmerton. May your legacy of service and community in Salem continue for many years to come.

Date: April 21, 2022

Author: Holly Watson

Share on social media!