June 30, 2015

1702 UNITED STATES (Massachusetts) - House of the Seven Gables in Salem

The House of the Seven Gables is a colonial mansion in  Salem, now a non-profit museum, became famous due to Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1851 novel with the same name. The earliest section of the house was built in 1667 for Captain John Turner,  the son of a former indentured servant from England who became a successful hat and shoe merchant. A few years later, Turner expanded the building, which remained in his family for three generations. When he died in 1680, he was one of the wealthiest men in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, with six homes, 200 acres of land and several ships working in Salem’s thriving maritime trade.

In the first half of the 18th-century, John Turner II remodeled the house, adding wood paneling and sash windows, which are preserved as very early examples of Georgian decor. In 1782, after John Turner III lost the family fortune, the house was acquired by the Samuel Ingersoll (a ship captain who served as a colonel in the American Revolution),  who remodeled it again. Their relative Nathaniel Hawthorne, was occasionally entertained in the house by his cousin Susannah Ingersoll, Samuel's daughter, who probably inspired the Hepzibah Pyncheon character in the novel.

By Hawthorne's time, the house had only three gables, but his cousin told him the house's history, and showed him beams and mortises in the attic indicating locations of former gables. Horace Ingersoll, Susanna's adopted son, told Hawthorne a story of Acadian lovers that later inspired Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1847 poem Evangeline. After Susannah’s death, Horace inherited the house, but he squandered her fortune and sold it in 1879. Nonetheless, by 1870 a Salem guidebook had already identified the building as The House of the Seven Gables.

In 1908 Caroline O. Emmerton, a Salem philanthropist, bought the house and restored it from 1908 to 1910 as a museum. Boston architect Joseph Everett Chandler supervised the restoration, which among other alterations reconstructed missing gables. In some cases historical authenticity was sacrificed in the interest of appealing to visitors, who expected the house to match the one Hawthorne described in his romantic novel. The Nathaniel Hawthorne Birthplace is now immediately adjacent to the House of the Seven Gables, and also covered by the admission fee. Although it is indeed the house in which the writer was born and lived to the age of four, the house was sited a few blocks away on Union Street when he inhabited it.

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of Wedding series, about which I wrote here. The second stamp is part of a series of five, issued on January 6, 1994 to commemorate the 17th Winter Olympic Games, which held in  Lillehammer, Norway, between 12 and 27 February 1994.

The last stamp, dedicated to Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980), is part of the series Legends of Hollywood, about which I wrote here. Hitchcock was an English film director and producer, often nicknamed "The Master of Suspense", who pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, renowned as England's best director, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood in 1939 and became a US citizen in 1955. Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films in a career spanning six decades, and the magazine MovieMaker has described him as the most influential filmmaker of all time.

House of the Seven Gables - Wikipedia
The House of the Seven Gables - Official website
A 1600s House, Fabled, Gabled and Full of History, by Wendy Moonan - The New York Times official website

Sender: Emily
Sent from Salem (Massachusetts / United States), on 21.07.2014
Photo: William Johnson / 1995

No comments:

Post a Comment