Beginning in August 2022, I’ve had the pleasure of working as an archivist at The House of the Seven Gables. My primary purpose has been to arrange and describe the museum’s archival collections to make them more accessible to researchers and staff. I’ve grouped together individual items including manuscripts, drawings, correspondence, scrapbooks, and photographs by common creators, thereby placing them in a broader historical context. The collections I’ve cataloged present a fascinating history of homes, continually restored and repurposed (in one case, even immortalized in literature), and the vibrant lives of the people who’ve inhabited them.
These items date back to the late 1600s when the Hawthorne family name was still Hathorne, and the signature on business records belonged to infamous Salem Witch Trial judge, John Hathorne. They move through centuries, capturing aspects of the personal and political lives of Nathaniel Hawthorne, his wife Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, and their children. And then later owners of the Gables, Elizabeth and Henry Upton, who opened their home to the public and left a lasting legacy of music and artistry.
We have documents that showcase the beginnings of the museum’s charitable work as a Settlement Association. Featuring not only articles of incorporation, but also the hand-written essays of the Association’s founder, Caroline Emmerton. Of course it would be impossible to highlight every item and its significance here, but we look forward to sharing many of them on our website in the near future.
Erin Pucko, Archivist