Collections and Archives
The House of 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, 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 of furniture, paintings, and prints, and diverse and plentiful decorative arts reflect over 350 years of history at the site. Some of our finest pieces are on exhibit, but many others are kept in collections storage.
In 2020 The Gables received support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The funding supported an inventory process, improvements to storage, and digitization for select segments of the historic archives.
The archival collection includes:
- Nathaniel Hawthorne Papers related to his life, work, and family
- Caroline Emmerton Papers related to the site and the Settlement Association she founded here
- Family papers – papers relating to the families who occupied the buildings owned by The House of the Seven Gables throughout their histories (late 1600s to early 1900s).
- Settlement Association Papers – materials related to the history and operation of the Settlement Association
- Book Collection – including first edition Hawthorne works, books owned by Susannah Ingersoll, and many others
- Photographs/Oral Histories/Slides/films relevant to the site and its history
- Institutional Records – papers related to the operations and institutional history of the museum, property, and store.
Access and Use
The House of Seven Gables Settlement Association welcomes requests for further access to its collections. Visitors to the collections must make an appointment and will be accompanied by a staff member at all times. Call 978-744-0991 to contact the Collections Manager if you have any questions or wish to make an appointment.
Many of our object collection and some limited archival objects are exhibited in the historic houses on the property. We also showcase material from the collection in temporary exhibitions located in the Visitors Center.
Donations and Bequests
The House of Seven Gables Settlement Association welcomes offers of donations and is grateful to be considered by donors. All gifts 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.
Do not send or leave donations without first contacting the Collections Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling us at 978-744-0991.
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.
Preventative Care and Conservation
The House of Seven Gables acknowledges its legal and ethical responsibility to provide prudent care and protection for its collections, which are part of a common cultural heritage preserved now and in the future for the benefit of the public.
The environment is a critical factor in the long-term health of the collections. Continued improvement of environmental conditions is a priority for collections both in storage and on exhibition, recognizing the limitations inherent in the historic buildings of the institution. Environment refers to temperature, humidity and light levels, pest activity, dust and pollution levels, and housing issues. Regular monitoring and preventative cleaning and maintenance are required.
Rights, Permissions, and Reproductions Policies
The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association provides case-by-case fee-based access to its holdings for educational, personal, and some commercial use, provided that ownership of the materials is properly cited. Written permission of the copyright holders and/or other rights holders is required for publication, distribution, reproduction or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use. The publication includes, but is not limited to, print, film, slide presentation, video, television, and electronic transmission. Transmitting an image or file on the Internet is equivalent to reproducing and distributing that image in print.
Materials held by The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association may be protected by U.S. Copyright Law and/or by the copyright laws of other countries. Copyright law protects unpublished as well as published materials. For web sites and digital files originated by The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association, we retain all rights, including copyright, in all data, images, and text.
If someone uses either published or unpublished materials from our collections in a publication, they must first determine whether the work has passed into the public domain and is no longer under copyright protection, or find the copyright holder and get permission to reproduce the material.
Other than use for personal, educational, or non-commercial purposes, each collection or type of material from The House of Seven Gables Settlement Association may have different copyright or other reproduction restrictions placed on it.
If someone wishes to use or reproduce materials from the collections or archives for any reason, the Marketing Department will inform the individual or organization if there are any restrictions on a case-by-case basis.