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Literature Related to Other Salem Houses

Literature Related to Other Salem Houses

E.H. Derby House, 168 Derby St., next to the Salem Custom House
E.H. Derby House, 168 Derby St., next to the Salem Custom House (photography by Aaron Toleos)
    • Elias H. Derby (1739-1799), a prosperous merchant of the eighteenth century, grew up in the house at 27 Herbert St. (Richard Derby House/Derby-Ward House) built for his father, Richard (1739-1799), a successful sea captain and ship owner, in 1738. In the Custom House chapter of The Scarlet Letter Hawthorne refers to E.H. Derby as "King Derby." (courtesy of the Ohio State University Press)

    • The Simon Forrester House at 188 Derby St. at the corner of Hodges Court was the home of Simon Forrester, a prosperous merchant, in 1791. The house is located next door to the Custom House and was convenient to the Central Wharf. Forrester, of Scotch Irish ancestry, was brought to the U.S. by Captain Daniel Hathorne (1731-1796), Hawthorne's grandfather, who married Rachel Phelps, Nathaniel's first cousin. Forrester became wealthy during the Revolutionary War, but his reputation is tainted by stories of his alcoholism. Hawthorne inserts Forrester into The Custom-House Sketch, calling him "old Simon Forrester." (courtesy of the Ohio State University Press)

  • "Grimshawe" and "The Dolliver Romance" The Peabody House (aka Grimshawe House) at 53 Charter St. is where Grimshawe and his wards, Ned and Elsie reside in "Grimshawe" and where Dr. Dolliver and Pansie reside in the "The Dolliver Romance." Both are unfinished works of Hawthorne's last years.

  • The House of the Seven Gables
    • The Philip English House, built in 1683 at the head of what is now English St., not far from Collins Cove, was a house of many gables thought by some to be the house of Hawthorne's novel, The House of the Seven Gables. Called "The Great House," it was considered the most lavish home in Salem of that time. Philip and his wife, Mary, lived here in 1692 when they were accused of witchcraft. Initially imprisoned in the Cart and Wheel Inn in Salem, they were moved to Boston in June and placed under house arrest after the intervention of friends. Allowed their freedom during the day in Boston because of their upper-class status, they fled on a ship to New York in August before their trial in Salem. A secret garret room that was discovered when the house was razed may have been built after Philip and Mary returned to Salem as a hiding place should it ever be needed.

    • The Gardner-Pingree House, 128 Essex St., was built by Salem merchant John Gardner, Jr., in 1804-5, and in 1811, because of financial difficulties, he sold the house to Nathaniel West who sold the house three years later to Joseph White. It is here where Captain Joseph White lived and was murdered in April 1830, an event that shook the town of Salem and one which intrigued Hawthorne. Some scholars see the influence of this trial on The House of the Seven Gables.

  • "Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe" Some scholars believe that the murder of Captain Joseph White (1748-1830) and the subsequent trial also influenced Hawthorne's writing of "Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe." Captain White was murdered in the Gardner-Pingree House at 128 Essex St. where he lived.