Home            Contact Salem Focus at   salemfocus@comcast.net


Text Box: Caroline Emmerton  (1866-1942)
Caroline Osgood Emmerton of Salem was named "Person of the Century" (The 20th Century) by the Salem Evening News. Caroline Emmerton, a philanthropist and preservationist, was inspired by Jane Addams, founder of Hull House in Chicago. Emmerton established a settlement house in Salem in 1910, the purpose of which was to provide a neighborhood center for Eastern European immigrants who worked in the textile mills and tanneries in Salem. The center provided classes in English, cooking, sewing and arts and crafts. The philosophy behind the settlement house reflected the new thinking of the time about poverty. Traditionally it was believed that poverty was a moral problem of the needy person. The new thinking was that poverty was a societal problem affecting everyone; not just the impoverished. The new settlement houses served as places where people from every stratum in society met for educational and recreational activities. 
To support and expand the services of her settlement house, Emmerton purchased the Turner-Ingersoll House, the house that inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne to write the novel The House of the Seven Gables. The historic mansion housed social workers and became a museum by opening its doors to the public. As the years went by several historic homes were moved to the grounds including the house in which Hawthorne was born. The House of the Seven Gables is on the National Register of Historic Places.