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Sampling of the Archives

The Sampling of the Archives collection focuses on the people who have lived and worked at the site, the history of the buildings and grounds, our founder Caroline Emmerton, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s life, family and work, and the Settlement Association founded here in 1910 to support the immigrant communities living in the neighborhood. Click on one of the links below to explore.

Caroline Emmerton

Caroline Emmerton (1866 – 1942) was a Salem-born philanthropist and social activist. She founded The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association in 1910. Her mission was to use proceeds from tours of the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion to create educational opportunities for Salem’s immigrant communities.

Our Emmerton collection consists of photographs, newspaper clippings, portraits and the only known handwritten manuscripts, tour outlines and descriptions of the site.


Ephemera tends to be a catch-all term for souvenir items. At The Gables, our ephemera collection holds many examples of collectables, postcards and memorabilia related to museum.

Hawthorne Family

The Hawthorne Family collection contains manuscripts, letters, documents, etc. concerning Nathaniel, Sophia, and their children. Many of these pieces are rare and unique to our museum. As such, they may only be views upon request.

Structures and Grounds

The House of Seven Gables Settlement Association site is a National Historic Landmark District; our campus includes six historic buildings. The building’s construction dates span from 1655 to 1830, and represent three distinct architectural styles still present in Salem.

Three of the structures on our site were moved to their current locations for preservation. They are the Hooper-Hathaway House (1682), the Retire-Beckett House (c.1655), and the Nathaniel Hawthorne Birthplace (c.1750). The Turner-Ingersoll Mansion (1668) – also known as The House of the Seven Gables – is the only building on its original foundation. At the center of the campus is the Seaside Gardens, also part of our landmark designation.

This collection from our archives contains photographs, drawings, blueprints, and plans of our historic structures and gardens.

The Settlement Association

The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association was founded by Caroline Emmerton in 1908 as a “settlement house.” Settlement houses were places where social workers would “settle” among immigrant communities, hoping to share knowledge and American culture with the aim of helping their recently-arrived and lower-income neighbors. Settlements often provided services such as daycare, education and healthcare to improve the lives of the poor. They also served as first-hand experience for middle- and upper-class social workers learning how the poor live in America.
The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association has played an important role in the historic Derby Street neighborhood. In the early 1900s, immigrants from Poland, Ireland, Italy and other countries came to work in Salem’s factories. Emmerton’s settlement classes provided much-needed support for the working families who lived in this neighborhood. This dedication to the community and the welfare of immigrants is still at the heart of the House of Seven Gables Settlement Association’s mission.


Since the turn of the century, tourism has been an important part of Salem’s life and economy. Most of this industry revolves around the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692, but as early as the 1880s people were visiting Salem its literary significance and beautiful architecture.

This is a sampling of some of our archival holdings related to tours and tourism. It includes handwritten tours of the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, postcards featuring Salem through the years, and guestbooks from the museum.

Upton Family

Elizabeth Cate Upton (1840-1909) purchased the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion in 1883 and lived in the house with her family until 1908 when they sold the site to Caroline Emmerton. The Uptons were the last family to call the “House of Seven Gables” home, and the first to offer tours of the building. An artistically-inclined family, they also taught music, oration and dance in Salem. Ida Upton Paine, an artist, created the “Witch Cup,” one of the first witch souvenirs sold in Salem.

These images may only be used for educational or personal purposes, unless receiving prior written permission from the House of the Seven Gables. The images are not high-resolution and represent only a fraction of the collection. If you need permission or a higher-resolution image please email the Marketing Department. If you would like to arrange access to more of the collection, please email the Collections Manager.