The Governor Bellingham-Cary House (GBCH) was illuminated in red during the first annual Scarlett Soirée on November 4. The evening’s theme celebrated the appearance of Massachusetts Governor Richard Bellingham in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 romance, “The Scarlett Letter.”
“We decided to incorporate the story into our annual fundraising event in a nod to Governor Bellingham’s inclusion in a novel that has been read by hundreds of millions of people worldwide; as well as his connection to the history of Massachusetts,” explained Matt Frank, Governor Bellingham-Cary House Association trustee.
Governor Bellingham was one of the first investors in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and took office in 1641, until his passing in 1672. Hawthorne mentioned him as an authority figure in his fictional book, set in 17th century Boston, where Governor Bellingham owned a home on what is now Tremont Street.
The interior residence was described by Hawthorne during a pivotal scene in which protagonist, Hester – who bore the “A” patch on her clothing to signify herself as an adulterer — pleads with Governor Bellingham to intervene in the custody of her daughter, Pearl.
Attendees of The Scarlet Soirée were encouraged to embrace red shades in honor of “The Scarlett Letter,” and autumn season. Bellingham-Cary House guests donned crimson gowns and pearls, and enjoyed hor d’oeuvres during the elegant affair.
“It was a great time. Everybody had fun. My favorite part was that everyone got into theme. People brought the energy,” said Frank, who wore a red paisley blazer and matching bowtie. “We were able to decorate the house without taking away the history. We’re lucky to have such an engaged board and members of the community who love the house. We made more money on this event than any other event by double. We hope to keep on doing it.”