SALEM — The House of the Seven Gables is pleased to announce a very special lecture to conclude a productive and successful year recognizing the life and legacy of its remarkable founder, Caroline Emmerton. Esteemed author Anita Diamant will speak at The Gables on Sunday, November 27, from 1–2 p.m., about her latest novel, the bestselling “The Boston Girl.” The book’s themes resonate quite profoundly here on Boston’s North Shore.
In “The Boston Girl,” Diamant’s main character, Addie Baum, was born to Russian immigrants in 1900. Addie grew up in Boston’s North End where she and her like-minded Jewish women friends navigated through oppositional forces that required brains, “gumption” and courage to confront.
Addie discovered places close to home where she could prosper. She found comfort and freedom to be herself at the local Settlement House, where she took advantage of the cultural activities and social events that enabled growing confidence and deep friendships. In Salem, Caroline Emmerton was creating just such opportunities for the North Shore’s immigrant population. With proceeds from visitor fees she collected from The House of the Seven Gables that she restored just for this purpose, Emmerton started and ran a Settlement House in various buildings around the historic property.
“I plan to talk about the book and about Addie’s experiences as an immigrant to the United States,” says Diamant. Diamant says she did a lot of research on immigrant life at the turn of the 20th century — the very time that Emmerton started work on The Gables. Diamant’s heartfelt characters, struggling to find work and meaning in their lives, give “The Boston Girl” its emotional veracity. Addie, a young Jewish woman challenging family, tradition and roadblocks, is emblematic of many young women’s struggles in 20th-century America.
“What people respond to most strongly is the notion of family stories, like the one Ava asked her grandmother Addie to tell her,“ says Diamant. Many readers have gone on to ask their own older relatives for their stories. Copies of Diamant’s book will be available for purchase and Diamant will sign books in The Gables’ Museum Store after her discussion.
The cost for the lecture is $7 for the general public; the event is free of charge for Gables’ members. Ferreira Foods will offer pastries and warm drinks in their pop-up café. Register at www.7gables.org, RSVP at email@example.com or call 978-744-0991, ext. 104.
Anita Diamant is the author of twelve books. Her award-winning first novel, “The Red Tent,” published in 1997, is based on the little-known biblical story of Dinah and became a word-of-mouth bestseller. It has been published in more than 25 countries. Diamant also wrote Good Harbor, The Last Days of Dogtown and Day after Night. She’s published six non-fiction guides to contemporary Jewish life as well as a collection of her personal essays, “Pitching My Tent,” drawn from 20 years writing newspaper and magazine columns. She resides in the Boston area with her husband.
About The House of the Seven Gable Settlement Association
The mission of the House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association is to preserve its National Historic Landmark and leverage its power as an icon of American culture to engage diverse audiences and provide education opportunities for the local immigrant community. For more information visit www.7gables.org.