Open Winter 2022

Salem Confidential

Curator Elaine von Bruns has assembled an astonishing exhibition of the Salem Athenaeum’s seldom-seen art and books that tell surprising stories about Salem people.

The tantalizing tidbits and tales within must be seen to be believed!

  • Early prints (1883) of the artists, Frank W. Benson and Joseph Lindon Smith
  • Pamphlets written by a Salem-born author with a famous name promoting a fraudulent investing scam in the 1910s
  • A literary hoax about witchcraft which was a best-seller in the 1840s
  • Rare 1830 pamphlet about the murder of Capt. White and the sensational trial.
  • Hawthorne’s signature on a Custom House document
  • Sheet music for The Wreck of Hesperus, a cantata based on Longfellow’s poem and set off the coast of Gloucester.
  • Sheet music for Puritania, an opera about a Salem girl accused of witchcraft.
  • Rare books by Salem abolitionists