Plenty of remarkable women have contributed to Salem’s history over the years. This year, 2021, we live in a Salem that has a woman at the helm, Mayor Kim Driscoll.
Here are four women in Salem’s history whose stories we tell often:
Mary Spencer created the Gibralter, believed to be America’s first commercially produced candy, which is still sold at Ye Olde Pepper Companie.
Caroline Emmerton purchased The House of the Seven Gables, turned it into a museum, and use the profits from the museum to fund her Settlement House, which provided training for immigrant girls, boys, and adults.
Charlotte Forten was Salem State University’s first African American graduate and a talented writer and activist.
Elizabeth Peabody opened the first Kindergarten in America.
Bessie Phillips establish the Stephen Philips Memorial Trust House as a museum to be enjoyed by all, which today is part of Historic New England and the only home on Chestnut Street that is open to the public.
The 14 innocent women who were hanged during the Salem Witch Trials, accused of practicing witchcraft, are perhaps the inspiration for many of the bright and strong women who have led Salem ever since. We remember Bridget Bishop, Martha Carrier, Martha Corey, Mary Easty, Sarah Good, Dorcas Hoar, Wilmott Redd, Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, Rebecca Nurse, Alice Parker, Mary Parker, Ann Pudeator, Margaret Scott, and Sarah Wildes.
For more information on the historic women of Salem, explore the Salem Women’s History Trail.