Occasional observations—scholarly, impressionistic and materialistic—-of a history professor fortunate to live in one of  America’s oldest and (I think) most interesting little cities:  Salem, Massachusetts.  Somehow, I’d like to tie all of my favorite things together:  history and historic preservation, architecture, design and decoration, gardening, shopping and everyday curiosities.  Feel free to email me with your comments and suggestions at daseger@comcast.net.

97 responses to “About

  • Carol Hedstrom

    Donna, this is fabulous. How did you find the time????

    • Deborah Greel

      Hi Donna,

      We are really excited about the Vintage Market beginning this weekend. I wanted to mention the partnership with the City to bring this market to fruition. As the Public Art Planner, the City seeks to engage spaces in our downtown with festivals and events such as the market. I’ve loved working with Carol, Stacia and Becky and it has created, what I hope to be a market that will continue for years. The idea came out a meeting about Artists’ Row and the desire for vintage businesses to have a space of their own so a pop up was created last fall. I hope to see you Saturday!

  • Steve

    I just wanted to stop by and say hi. I’ve seen via my traffic feed that people were visiting me from your website so I thought I would check it out. I’ve really wanted to get up to explore the houses of Salem a little more but I’ll probably wait until spring. Best of luck with “Streets of Salem.” I’m looking forward to seeing more. Best, Steve

  • John Goff

    Donna–this is great! Happy New Year and THANK YOU for posting all you post. I especially like your mixture of fun (and historic) visuals with the text and thoughts…you’ve caught the “tease” quality of historic artifacts that challenge and entice us to want to know MORE! 😀

  • Stacia Conklin Kraft

    Oh, just read your bit on cards. I love it. You have to come see my second floor bath which I decoupaged with antique cards. What do you do with your cards?

    • daseger

      Hey Stacia, Happy New Year! Unfortunately I do nothing with my cards and all the scraps of paper I collect because I can’t get past my historian’s urge to preserve—to they just sit in a folder, probably deteriorating….

  • Debra Glabeau

    What a rich and beautiful tribute to the city. It’s great.

  • Dave

    What a fantastic and interesting website. Thanks for bringing it to life.

    • daseger

      Thank you, Dave. And thanks also for all the work you’ve done on your beautiful house. I remember seeing it before you bought it, and thinking “that house has potential!!!” You’ve certainly realized it. I’d love to do a post on it sometime.

  • julia

    Interesting site Donna – I shall return! and thanks for comment on my blog.

  • Jeanne

    You have a picture on your site of the first/front page of the Inventory of George Corwin. Will you please tell me how I can get permission to use this picture? It is for historical study purposes. I will not be selling it or copying it for anyone else. I will use it as a point of reference when speaking about George Corwin. Please send your message to my email address as stated above. Thank you.

  • Katie Hutchison

    Hi Donna, I just discovered your delightful blog. I’m a Salem neighbor, residential architect, design writer and fine-art photographer. I produce House Enthusiast an online magazine exploring house, garden and related creative arts in New England. Here’s the link http://www.katiehutchison.com/house-enthusiast/. Our online ventures share some common themes. It would be fun to grab a coffee some time to discuss our related interests. Hope to hear from you. Cheers!

  • Nina Anderson

    I am tagging “The King of Cats” as Elwe. He was named after a Tolkien character, (I believe he was an Elven king),during our son’s obsession with all things Lord of the Rings. :)N

  • LF

    Hi — the 1710 letter from William Good reproduced in your blog is owned by the Cornell Witchcraft Collection, #4612, box 3, folder 4. Thanks for mentioning it, and congratulations for your excellent web site! LF, Curator, Kroch Library.

  • aappathachchiya

    what a wonderful blog you have. loved the medieval maps and cats especially

  • Nelson Dionne

    Good Day Donna; I’ve been collecting Salem “junque” for 40 years now. The more Salem history I see, the more I am convinced we live in a very special place! I now specialize in Salem’s “Industrial Century”. ( roughly Civil War to the Viet Nam War ). This period has been overlooked by historians, yet the material& stories I have found are fantastic. It says something about the depth of the city’s history that it’s possible to have a hundred historians researching the city,and they will rarely overlap each other. I ave an estimated 10K pages of Salem history & photos in my files & I feel I have just begun to scratch the surface !

  • daseger

    Nelson, I am familiar with your work and I totally agree with you! Thanks for stopping by. If you have any suggestions or corrections, please shout out–and also if you ever would like to write a guest post.

  • Anyes Kadowaki Busby

    Hello Donna,
    Thank you for stopping by the Dusty Victorian. Your blog looks like its right up my alley. I will return soon.
    Au plaisir,

  • Secret Gardener

    I think this blog is lovely, and because I don’t see a way to contact you privately -I’ll ask you here: May I put a link to it on mine [secretgardening.wordpress]?

    Thank you for it.

  • Christopher Moore

    So glad you liked my tea towels! Lots more coming soon, as well as lots of other exciting products…… The new much more comprehensive website will be up by the end of January 2012, and I will also be starting a blog in the New Year. Look forward to visting yours regularly?!
    Happy New Year.
    Kindest regards
    Christopher Moore

  • Leanne 'Baumgarten' Schild

    I saw your presentation today for the “Woman’s Friend Society” luncheon and was completely fascinated. You gave a wonderful presentation. And I’m so glad you mentioned this blog because I love Salem history and am thrilled to now know about it. Can’t wait to read more! Thank you!

  • aalid

    I stumbled upon you because of your map post and stayed a while – a long while – your blog is wonderfully absorbing.

  • The Heart Duality Part 1 « Academic Orchid

    […] browsing the WordPress’ recently pressed sections and came across this awesome blog called Streets Of Salem. They posted two heart map pictures one of a woman’s and one of a man’s. I had to add […]

  • BlanketandBone

    Have had a lovely time reading through your blog today – really interesting and well written and full of great images too! I hope you don’t mind but I have taken inspiration from you and also posted the heart maps, as I thought they were so beautiful and interesting – have linked to your blog 🙂 Thanks for cheering up a rather grey day!

  • amonikabyanyuvva

    Hello there, I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Find out more here
    I hope you keep inspiring me with your blog, thanks for brightening my days!

  • Secret Gardener

    Hi –I’ve slowly wound my way backward from some visitors who were referred to my blog from yours–to find that you’ve mentioned SG to your readers. Thank you. I’m grateful. and I’m genuinely honored–
    (I think a portion of my visitors are taking the advice of wordpress & visiting a little arbitrarily in hopes of drumming up some traffic [in my case–fairly meager traffic, I’m afraid.] When I visit theirs to see whether we have anything in common–I can imagine that perhaps we share a tag or two.)
    (Whereas) I’m kind of stunned by the blogs I’ve linked to –yours, gardenhistory, bibliodyssey, bobandmary’s journal … The knowledgeability, the range of interest, the articulate enthusiasm, the beauty, and a more indefineably recognizable perspective on the details of the world–and the wonder of it–that I take to heart. In other words -I sort of cherish you all secretly as friends who don’t know how much you matter to my not feeling alone in it all. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that I have the artistry to express the overwhelming gorgeousness & preciousness & fragility of the world, & am reduced to making this blog my commonplace book of found images & quotations–and admiring those of you who express yourselves brilliantly. (And, um, as you see–am afraid I may be the one who falls into the ‘earnest’ category. I think it reflects a lack of comfort in using my own words–and yet, somehow, I’ve managed to imbue the SG assemblage of other people’s work with it too. Oh well. I count on my discriminating friends to take it for what it’s worth.)
    Now–does being on a list introducing us to your readers come with any responsibilities of its own? I only wish I did wield the influence to bring the attention they deserve to the blogs I love …
    Thank you, d. a. seger of streets of salem

  • Vividhunter

    Thanks for your great blog. I’ve nominated Streetsofsalem for the One Lovely Blog award at http://procrastinationdiaries.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/first-blog-award-ever/

  • Beth M

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! Now I can say I followed you before you got famous. 🙂

  • theirishaesthete

    Dear Donna,
    Thanks for swinging by my blog recently, and delighted you liked what you saw there. I am in the US often, promoting the work of the Irish Georgian Society of which I am vice-president. In case you are in Palm Beach next month, I shall be there giving a talk…
    Best wishes,
    The Irish Aesthete

  • Khaula

    Your blog is extremely interesting! I plan to become an avid reader from hereon! 😀
    And you are a very talented writer! 😀

  • ottomandandy

    Keep up the good work

  • Good Golly Miss Molly

    What a great site. I lived just across the bridge in Beverly for a few years and I miss that part of the world. I was looking for Valentine’s and found your wonderful post – I’d never heard of “vinegar Valentines” but find them delightful now.
    All best,
    Molly Cook

  • rimassolosailingaroundtheworldm

    Thank you so much for blog. Please stop on my blog and FACEBOOK soon I am leaving solo around the world in very a tiny sailboat San Juan 24-foot. Now I am In Astoria,Or for one week very peaceful town and very very friendly people.

  • rickouellette2013

    As a Salem native, your site was a welcome surprise and a real delight to discover. I think I came here first thru news of the razing of St. Joseph’s. My late grandmother used to live across the street from there and whiled away many an afternoon on a bench in the little triangular park between the two. She was of Polish background and called it the “French church” even after attending there for many years, adjacent Harbor St. was then considered a French-Canadian neighborhood. Another era since ended.
    Also loved your posts on the carriage houses and double houses. People and their places are inextricably linked and it looks like you struck a good chord with a lot of other people. I looked forward to seeing what else you have coming.
    All the best,
    Rick Ouellette

  • jcmarckx2009

    Hi there. I’m sure you already get a lot of these, but I went ahead and nominated you for the Sunshine Award. I got the nod, and I wanted to pass it on to some of my favorite bloggers. You were one of the first that came to mind. Anyway, you don’t have to do anything if you aren’t in to that sort of thing, but I wanted to let you know! http://jcmarckx.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/because-of-my-sunny-disposition/

  • Katherine Greenough

    Hello Donna, I really enjoyed meeting you at the Wallpaper lecture in early April, and I have a question for you and your followers. I’m not sure how to post this, so feel free to pose the question on this blog and others you know of.
    I recall we discussed how the beautiful church on Chestnut St. burned in 1903. The church had a steeple and a bell that, I assume, might have survived the fire. Do you know if they did and if so, where are they now?
    It would be wonderful to have some remnant of that lovely structure.
    Thank you, Kathy Greenough

    • daseger

      Kathy, it was so nice to meet you as well. I’ve posted about the McIntire Church several times, and in doing so have run into several pictures of its various surviving “parts”, which I believe are at the PEM. But I don’t remember seeing a steeple, or a bell. Let me check into it some more and maybe some others will weigh in. Donna

  • dnikias

    Thanks for checking out my blog and the positive feedback!

  • philandre

    What a great blog. It’s quite unusual to engage with one that examines one place (for most of the time) in such detail. I feel as if I’m getting ever closer to the essence of a fascinating city (sadly, a city I’ve not visited, being a Brit who has to ration trips from across The Pond) step by delightful step. And how interesting that, of all my posts on “In search of unusual destinations”, it’s Barrow-in-Furness that caught your eye! Many people tried to forbid us from going. Silly billies! Their loss. Your interest has to be linked to your professorial sense of history (I’m afraid all I dabble in is teacher education and some stuff about what we call Religious Studies)! Phil.

  • Jay Kubik

    I have 3 different prints of books, including Moby Dick, produced by Harris-Seybold Company in the 1950’s when I was a Harris employee. They have been framed and now in storage in CA with my son. Is there a value to these prints? jayghkubik@yahoo.com

  • elisateheran

    Great blog and great job 🙂

  • Dee Cote

    Hello Donna,
    We’ve never met, that I know of, however I found your blog post researching the Thomas March Woodbridge House, of which I am very interested in purchasing. And then of course, I got onto your most excellent blog, and wouldn’t you know, you posted another property of which I am the ‘prospective buyer’ (it’s in probate, the heir being a friend of mine), 4547 Turner St! I grew up in Salem, and love the architecture here. I have renovated and restored many buildings in Salem, some very old to late Victorians, they all have a story to tell. In any case, I have spent all morning reading your blog, I am fascinated by your knowledge and curiosity. Great postings, I am a fan. Would love to meet you someday, have coffee and talk old houses. Keep posting!

  • Brittany

    Former student and stumbled across your blog on Pinterest of all places. (What a rabbit hole and time waster. You’ll be happy to know however, you were linked on the popular page…now I can at least ‘waist time’ enriching my mind reading this blog instead!) I’m still on the north shore often and somehow have still forgotten what a gem Salem is! Hope all is well with you and yours! Even years later your classes are a bright spot in my academic career.

    • daseger

      Hey Brittany,

      I think I have you pegged even without your last name! Great to hear for you and your lovely comments have made my day–hope you’re doing really, really well.

  • Brian Bixby

    Hello, I’ve nominated you for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award,” which you well deserve, literally. The post where I nominated you, which includes the conditions for accepting the award, should you choose to participate, are here: http://sillyverse.com/2014/01/07/accepting-the-very-inspiring-blogger-award/
    Thanks for a good read!

  • Tom

    Hello, I have recently started reading your blog and I love it. I was wondering if you have any information on Ralph Browne or George Elmer Browne, or if you could recommend a resource for finding information on them. I can find basic details about them online but not much else.
    Thank you!

  • Tom

    Sorry, I tried to E-mail the details to the address listed but it was bounced back. Ralph invented the magnetic sea mine in WWI and his brother was a painter on the north shore. I have heard some interesting stories about him but haven’t been able to find anything concrete.

  • Fran Jurga (@franjurga)

    I can’t believe that I just found your blog. I’ve made up for lost time by reading voraciously for an hour or so.

    I’ve captured your RSS and will try to keep up and go back into the archives simultaneously! Finding a new (to me) blog like yours is like exploring an old house–so many layers, so much to do, so many ideas!

    I live (sort of) nearby, in Gloucester, though it sometimes seems light years away. Some days, when the train stops in Salem, I want to get off and can’t explain why…

    Thanks for inspiring me once again about Salem, and blogging with the brain switched on. I juggle two blogs of my own, but that’s another story!

  • Gordon Harris

    Hi, Donna, thanks for the great articles. I have an rss feed on my blog, Stories from Ipswich and the North Shore, that takes my readers to your most recent articles. Visit https://ipswich.wordpress.com/

    Gordon Harris, Ipswich town historian

  • Marco

    Love it! I’m gonna read the past ones as well!

  • PK Read

    Beautiful blog! Glad my search for a map led me to your corner of the web!

  • Stephanie

    I’ve been following your blog for a while and really enjoy it. I have a question for you. A friend will be coming for a visit in June and wants to visit Salem. We have a tradition of taking walking tours in places we visit. But we don’t want to end up on a hokey witchy tour. Do you have any suggestions for walking tours?

    • daseger

      Thanks Stephanie and good question! There are so many hokey tours in Salem; it’s really unfortunate. There is one “Salem 101
      tour that looks ok: http://events.salem.org/event/salem_101_general_history_walking_tour#.VVNyIpNbjSE. But if I were you I’d put together my own tour, focusing on the McIntire Historic District, Salem Common, and the Derby Street area. You can pick up maps at the Salem Maritime Visitor Center on Essex Street, and consult Destination Salem for other resources. Salem is not spread out, you can cover these areas in an afternoon. By all means just walk up and down my street–Chestnut–right in the middle of the McIntire District–it’s really beautiful (I must admit). Go to the Peabody Essex Museum, and have lunch in their garden if you can!

      • Stephanie

        Thanks so much. This is really useful. I have a membership for the PEM. My husband and I discovered it several years ago and it’s become our favorite. We live near Portland and make frequent day trips to the PEM.

  • Ulrich Linnemann

    Hello Donna,

    interesting blog with interesting themes … just a drop-by by chance.

    Best wishes from Germany

    Ulrich Linnemann

  • Mark Nystedt

    unpublished photo of elderly Hawthorne for sale on eBay. $1500.

  • Norm Corbin

    Hi, I enjoyed your information on Castle Hill very much. I grew up in there with lots of French-Canadian cousins. My grandparents were very involved with the construction of the original Saint Anne Church. I have an article from the Salem News in the early 1900’s that might be of interest to you. Norm Corbin

  • Norm Corbin

    What is the best way to send you the information I have?

  • M Nora O'Donoghue Dooley

    I believe much of the problem originated
    with a lack of appreciation for the history of the area by the denizens.

    Also a haphazard approach of instruction by the educational establishment appeared to emphasize the negative. Faculty from outside the
    area began the remedy.

    The first thing I did upon returning to the area after a long absence, was to become a member of the PEN and visit
    all the historic sites.

    These sites are a great review and incentive to visit once again.



  • James Little

    Hi Donna,
    Love your coverage of Salem! I read some great work on Philip Little who is my great grandfather. I am visiting Salem with my wife and 2 kids July 17th thru July 20. Would love to get together and hear your local take on Philip Little. We are meeting with the Peabody Essex on 18th or 19th to share Philip Little sketchbooks and digitilized film on Philip Little at 10 Chestnut Strret from early 1930’s. Would love to share and see his old studio location and house. Let me know if you might have time. All the best-James Little

    • daseger

      Hello James! Love your great-grandfather’s work and I understand that he served on several Salem boards as well. That is a terrible week for me as I’m teaching a one-week institute every day from 8:30 to 4:30 but I might have some time after that. Thursday night there’s a big Proctor’s Ledge symposium that I am moderating at the Salem Visitor’s Center. The new memorial is being dedicated teh day before–it’s a big week for Salem. In any case, his house is located kitty corner across the street from mine, at 10 Chestnut, and his studio is on Salem Harborl

  • Lisa

    Does anyone know if a chart is available for the Sarrah Ann Pollard sampler?

  • Fran Jurga

    Hello, I took some time today to catch up on your blog. I still am amazed at the breadth of topics you cover and how well you do it! I had a good chuckle over your story about the cottage in Jaffrey–how could you resist? Still hope to meet you sometime, let me know if you ever come to Gloucester!

    All best,

  • Deb at The Front Door Project

    Just stumbled across your blog as I draft my own post about a visit to Salem! Very well done!

  • Deb at The Front Door Project

    And I’m so envious you live on Chestnut St! I was swooning at those homes when I was there!

  • Roxanne Holcomb

    If you return to the Brandywine Valley, I would be very happy to spend a day or part of a day driving the back roads, showing you where the locals live and go, visiting some of the still-operating colonial inns. It is truly a fascinating place to grow up. You may contact me on FB at Roxanne Adams Holcomb

  • Hearts in Hands – Helen Cann News

    […] or a lover. You can see some lovely historical examples on this great little blog by Donna Segar here alongside some other fascinating information about hearts and hands in […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: