The Upton family, the owners of the house from 1883 until 1908, began to offer tours and display artifacts from the house’s history in the 1890s.
The granddaughters of Henry Upton and their friends play croquet on the front lawn of the mansion, c. 1901. Croquet was an adaptation of a game from the 1600s called pall-mall which appeared in England in the 1850s. In the 1860s, it became highly fashionable across the English-speaking world.
Until the mid-1900s, The House of the Seven Gables was required reading in more schools than the The Scarlet Letter, which made it a familiar cultural reference. In 1933, the Chicago Century of Progress Exhibition featured a “Colonial Village” of replicated colonial buildings such as Mount Vernon, Old North Church, and a one-to-one scale replica of The House of the Seven Gables. In the year and a half that the exposition lasted, nearly 50 million people attended, which further spread the fame of the mansion around the country.
Hundreds of thousands of people visited The House of the Seven Gables over the course of the 1900s. Staffordshire plates and tea sets featuring images of the mansion were produced and are now in thousands of homes. The House of the Seven Gables has been photographed and profiled in hundreds of magazines, including National Geographic, Vogue, and Antiques.
Six months after The House of the Seven Gables opened in 1910, the Edison Manufacturing Company released a silent film version of the novel. Edison’s studio and its competitors quickly produced films to meet the demand for the new medium. In addition to The House of the Seven Gables, J. Searle Dawley directed 182 short films between 1907 and 1926. Mary Fuller, who played Hepzibah, starred in 226 films in the same period! While the film is now believed to be lost, four still images from it survive.
Joe May made pioneering silent films in Germany before emigrating to the United States. His 1940 film, The House of the Seven Gables, starred Americans Margaret Lindsay as Hepzibah, Vincent Price as Clifford, and the British actor George Sanders as Jaffrey. It was one of a wave of horror films produced by Universal Studios, which then specialized in low-and mid-budget movies.
Today, Wonder Woman is a globally recognized character and brand. William Moulton Marston, a psychologist from Saugus, Massachusetts, developed her character in the Golden Age of Comic Books (c. 1930 - 1950). In Comic Cavalcade #1, published in December of 1942, Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor foil a group of Nazi saboteurs who seek to destroy The House of the Seven Gables. In the course of the adventure, she uses the secret staircase to surprise her foes. In those early days, the house was more iconic than the hero.
Salem is known internationally for the infamous episode of 1692 when 25 innocent people lost their lives after being falsely accused of witchcraft. In the 1800s, Salem’s dark past inspired numerous works of literature. In 1859, English novelist Elizabeth Gaskell wrote Lois the Witch, which chronicles an English girl accused in Salem. In the mid-1900s, many films drew from Salem’s history, including Maid of Salem (1937) featuring Claudette Colbert as a woman falsely accused, and I Married a Witch, a 1942 comedy about a witch who seeks revenge on her accuser’s descendant. Many students’ first introduction to the witchcraft trials is Arthur Miller’s 1953 play, The Crucible. The rise of contemporary witchcraft in Salem since 1970 has led to new associations in popular culture, such as an episode of the television procedural Rizzoli and Isles and the 2013 horror film The Lords of Salem.