ABSTRACT

This article examines the architectural history of the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, the seventeenth-century Salem home long believed to have inspired the setting for Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables (1851). I focus in particular on the extensive renovations undertaken in the early 1900s by Salem philanthropist Caroline O. Emmerton, who, with the help of influential Colonial Revival architect Joseph Edward Chandler, sought to restore the mansion both as an historic house museum that would bring Hawthorne's novel to life and as headquarters for the charitable work of Salem's new immigrant-focused Settlement Association. Central to the novel, but notably missing from the restored house, is the large arched window through which Clifford peers out at the street. My article considers the significance of this missing window for a more thorough understanding, not only of Emmerton's renovations, but also of the architectural imagination of Hawthorne himself. Through this comparison, I argue that Hawthorne's novel, often considered racially conservative, shows itself surprisingly open to a polyglot future, a far more progressive take, in the end, than Emmerton's own.

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