Emmerton, Caroline O.

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  • Caroline Emmerton (1866-1942) was born into a Salem family long known for its philanthropic work. She began her public service career when she was in her late 20's. She served on the boards of many local social service agencies, including the Seaman's Widow and Orphan Society and the Plummer Home for Boys. She was especially interested in services for the newly immigrant population of Salem.
  • Her two great accomplishments were the restoration and organization of the House of the Seven Gables and House of the Seven Gables Settlement and her attentions to the Salem Fraternity, now the Boys and Girls Club.
  • Emmerton organized the Settlement in 1907 and the following year bought and restored the House of the Seven Gables. Tourist admission from the house helped pay for youth programs at the Settlement. She also oversaw the acquisition and restoration of the Hooper-Hathaway and Retire Becket houses.
  • The Salem Fraternity boys club occupied much of Emmerton's attention in the 1920's and 30's. She served as director and helped them buy a camp in Rowley.
  • In 1999, Emmerton was named "Person of the Century" by a Salem Evening News panel of local historians.
  • Emmerton was also a founder of The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.
  • Emmerton died March 17, 1942. She is buried at Harmony Grove Cemetery. In her obituary in the Salem News, it called her “one of Salem’s Best Beloved Citizens” and noted that she “gave freely of her time and money for the benefit of underprivileged children and adults, winning the admiration and respect of the entire community.”

See Also

  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - Emmerton, Caroline O.
  • "Miss Caroline O. Emmerton passes away," Salem Evening News, Mar.17, 1942. p.1
  • "Exhibit celebrates 90-year relationship between House of Seven Gables, Settlement House" Salem Evening News, Mar. 20, 1998, p. C1
  • "Caroline Emmerton, a Woman Ahead of Her Time," Salem Evening News, Dec. 29, 1999., p.1