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Collections & Archives

OVERVIEW

The House of the Seven Gables has a rich collection of objects and archival material from the late 1600s to the present. Our collection particularly 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.

 

Our collection is comprised of archives, a library of books, and objects like furniture, decorative items, and paintings to name a few. Much of our archival collection and many of our books are now available online, as is a selection of our object collection. See below for links to our online collections. We also offer a sampling of our archival treasures to scroll through.

SAMPLING OF THE ARCHIVES

The Sampling of the Archives collection includes:

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne papers related to his life, work and family (Hawthorne Family Papers).
  • Caroline Emmerton papers related to the site and the museum and Settlement Association she founded here (Caroline Emmerton Papers.)
  • Family papers – Papers relating to the families who occupied the buildings owned by The House of the Seven Gables throughout their histories (Upton Family Papers, Elizabeth Upton Haywood Eaton Collection).
  • Settlement Association papers – materials related to the history and operation of the Settlement Association (House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association Records).
  • Book collection – including first edition Hawthorne works, books owned by Susanna Ingersoll, and many others.
  • Photographs/oral histories/slides/films relevant to the site and its history.
  • Postcard Collection.

ARCHIVES ONLINE

Archival materials include family papers, personal correspondence, ephemera, and business records. These have been arranged and described into collections.  Research guides (also known as finding aids) place these collections into a broader historical context. Guides are currently available online for the following collections:

  • Caroline Emmerton Papers.
  • Elizabeth Upton Haywood Eaton Collection.
  • The House of the Seven Gables Postcard Collection.
  • Hawthorne Family Papers.
  • House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association Records.
  • Upton Family Papers.

Collection guides also provide a list of materials in each collection, including items that aren’t available (or only partially available) online. Users can explore a digitized sampling of collection items and request more information to conduct further research.

When scrolling through our collections, collection guides will appear first as “A Guide to the (Collection Title),” followed by collection items. Users may also search the catalog by keyword.

LIBRARY ONLINE

An online catalog of The House of the Seven Gables’ library collection is now available for online browsing. Many of the books are rare first editions or have some historical connection to The Gables. All have individual records, though some are notably part of collections. Collections include Hawthorne’s Works Series, Ingersoll-Connelly family books, and Ulysses S. Grant’s personal collection of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s works.

COLLECTIONS ONLINE

The House of the Seven Gables has a rich and varied collection of objects dating from the 1600s to the present, including Nathaniel Hawthorne’s desk, portraits of noted residents of the house, a doll house built by Settlement woodshop students in the 1950s, a rare painting by Sophia Peabody (later Hawthorne), and even a mysterious 18th century clock made in Antiqua. The online collections catalog includes mostly furniture, paintings and prints that have graced the rooms of The Gables over the years. View images and information on collections objects, including object descriptions, creator, place of origin, materials used, and dates. Other collections objects will be added to the online catalog as they become available.

DONATIONS

The House of Seven Gables Settlement Association welcomes offers of donations to our collections and is grateful to be considered by donors. All gifts to our collections and archives must first be approved by the collections manager who will provide the donor with legally mandated paperwork to be completed prior to receipt of the material.

The Museum has limited storage, so is only able to accept items related to: the families that have lived and worked here; the site and buildings; the Derby Street neighborhood and associated Settlement work; and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work, life and family.

Please do not send or leave donations without first contacting Collections Manager Susan Baker at sbaker@7gables.org.

If you wish to use or reproduce materials from the collections or archives for any reason, please contact Julia Wacker, Marketing Department, at jwacker@7gables.org, who will inform you if there are any restrictions on a case-by-case basis.