17th Century New England, with special emphasis on the Salem Witchcraft Trials


Site Index



This is a general category for any kind of writing about the period by people today.

Witch City [Link #290]
This site is about a documentary movie about the contemporary merchandising of Salem, MA's history: Salem Witches, Evangelical Preachers, Greed ... and Business as Usual, a non-fiction film by Joe Cultrera, Henry Ferrini, Phil Lamy, Bob Quinn, John Stanton, and May Liao.

Film Views the Pitfalls of Witch City Hype by Ann Driscoll [Link #291]
Review of the film Salem Witches, Evangelical Preachers, Greed... and Business as Usual in The Boston Globe, "Film Views the Pitfalls of Witch City Hype."

Best! Mayflower and Early Families [Link #6]
This is a very cool site -- full of texts of wills and deeds, image scans of actual documents, a bulletin board for discussions, some vital records (Saybrook, CT, and Plymouth County, MA) -- even a couple of "slide shows" about the Plymouth colony and the events in Salem. The site was orginally called "The Massachusetts Enquirer: Mayflower, MA & New England Events, People, Life" -- an interesting attempt to portray colonial New England events as if being reported today -- but the site has been deepened and that has become only part of the site, renamed "The Colonial Gazette" when the site was given a major overhaul in March-May 1999. Thumbs up to the folks at Maddox Interactive for this contribution to the Internet!

Best! Wreck of a Vessel from Phip's Fleet [Link #12]
This site from Quebec details the 1994 underwater discovery, and subsequent exploration and archeological research, of the wreck of one of Sir William Phips' ships, which sank in Bouleaux Cove in 1690 during King William's War, probably in a storm after Phip's defeat at Quebec City by Frontenac. Lots of interesting historical information, maps, underwater photography of the wreck and objects, and explanations about the process of identifying and preserving the artifacts. The entire site is also available in French -- and some of the pages are only available in French. Definitely a cool site! [NOTE: This is the same Phips who would go on two years later to become the royal governor of Massachusetts and who set up and then disbanded the Court of Oyer and Terminer which was responsible for the witch trials and executions in Salem...]

Best! First Nations: Histories [Link #13]
This site provides information about the histories and languages of peoples who lived in North America before European colonization, including:
  • Abenaki -- Maine to Lake Champlain, south to the Merimac Riover, north to Quebec
  • Algonkin -- Ottowa River Basin, between Ontario and Quebec
  • Massachuset -- Valleys of the Charles and Neponset rivers in eastern Massachusetts.
  • Mattabesic -- Western Connecticut
  • Metoac -- Long Island
  • Micmac -- Canadian Maratimes
  • Mohegan -- Eastern Connecticut
  • Narragansett -- Narragansett Bay and western Rhode Island
  • Nauset -- Cape Cod
  • Niantic -- Southern coast of New England
  • Nipmuc -- Central Massachusetts, northern Connecticut and Rhode Island
  • Pennacook -- Merrimac River Valley of Southern New Hampshire
  • Pequot -- Southeastern Connecticut to the Niantic River
  • Pocumtuk -- Connecticut River Valley in Massachusetts
  • Wampanoag -- Southeastern Massachusetts, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket

Best! The Salem Witchcraft Trials by Doug Lindner [Link #181]
This site is so chock full of transcripts of the primary sources -- depositions, warrants, letters, petitions -- you really have to go and explore it for yourself! There are images, including portraits of Samuel Sewall, William Stoughton, William Phips, and Cotton Mather. The brief biographies of various participants are excellent, and the timeline of events very helpful!

Best! Danvers Archival Center: Witchcraft in Salem Village [Link #182]
from the site: "This site was created by the Danvers Archival Center, the local history, rare book and manuscript department of the Peabody Institute Library of Danvers, Massachusetts, with the support of the Electronic Text Center at the University of Virginia. Its purpose is to introduce a major area of Danvers' collections relating to the infamous Salem Village Witchcraft Trials of 1692. This Website is designed to provide accurate general information about these witchcraft events, as well as information on other aspects of Danvers' history. We hope you enjoy browsing our information." Includes a wealth of good stuff from the places where the events happened.

This site includes the portrait of Rev. Samuel Parris, with information about the circumstances of its discovery, and its dimensions The image is black-and-white, however, and seems to be a mirror image of the the real thing. See a version of this image at my site:

Best! Common-Place: The Interactive Journal of Early American Life by Jane Kamensky & Jill LePore, editors [Link #229]
A terrific site for anyone interested in high-quality scholarship about early America. Editor Kamensky, of Brandeis University, is the author of Governing the Tongue: The Politics of Speech in Early New England, and Jill LePore, of Boston University, is the author of The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity -- both must-have's on my bookshelf. This site includes features by New England's most-noted scholars on Early America, from Steven Nissenbaum to Joseph Ellis, reviews, column about new exhibitions & archives, a forum for school teachers and professors to discuss approaches to how to teach historical materials, an 'Ask the Author' interview, and a discussions board, The Republic of Letters. From the site: "Not a traditional scholarly journal...we range across interests and disciplines, from art history to archaeology, from politics to parlor manners." Definitely not one to miss!

Best! Covenant -- A Coin with Two Sides: The New England Antinomian Controversy by Paul Schaefer (D. Phil., Oxford), Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania [Link #251]
An excellent essay describing the development of Antinomianism in New England in the 17th century, and why it chafed at the Puritan so much. (May require a subscription to the site to read the full article.)

Best! Goody Cole and Jonathan Moulton by John Putnam Demos [Link #261]
Excerpts from "Entertaining Satan : Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England", pp. 319-339, Chapter 10, the case of Goody Cole and Jonathan Moulton. Should encourage you to buy the book itself -- a must-hove on the bookshelf of anyone interested in witchcraft accusations in that period.

Best! Cases of Conscience concerning evil SPIRITS Personating Men, Witchcrafts, infallible Proofs of Guilt in such as are accused with that Crime. by Increase Mather [Link #269]
The full text of this rare book from 1693 about witchcraft, in digital image format. Superb!

Best! Forum: Salem Repossessed by William and Mary Quarterly [Link #374]
Vol. LXV, No. 3, July 2008, of the William and Mary Quarterly contains articles by Margo Burns & Bernard Rosenthal, Richard Latner, and Benjamin C. Ray, introduced by Jame Kamensky, with comment by John Demos, Mary Beth Norton, Carol F. Karlsen, Sarah Rivett, and Paul Boyer & Stephen Nissenbaum. Individual articles are available in PDF format as they appeared in the journal, but requires a subscription to JStor.

The Port Royal Earthquake (Port Royal, Jamaica earthquake, June 7, 1692) by Larry Gragg [Link #380]
Gragg described the 7.5 earthquake that shattered this port town in Jamaica in 1692 and reviews the complex lessons that preachers of the period drew from the event.

The History of Hannah Dustin/Duston and the Genealogy of the Cheney Family [Link #3]
This site contains information regarding the Dustin/Duston, Cheney and select kindred families of early New England. These two well documented families connect through the marriage of Hannah Dustin and Daniel Cheney II. Hannah Dustin Cheney was the daughter of the famous Hannah Dustin of which this site is named. There are thousands of descendants found throughout the United States today.

Putting the Pieces Together... The Puzzle of Salem by Eric Miller [Link #14]
This essay speculates that the causes of the events in Salem Village in 1692 were the result of the interaction between village factionalism, an historical tradition of witch hunts, changes from agrarian to mercantile economy, and ignorance of psychological problems. It is heavily based on the work of Boyer and Nissenbaum, but the bibliography includes eleven sources.

Judging Hannah by Sybil Smith [Link #15]
Article about Hannah Dustin, from Yankee magazine; January, 1995; page 50

Historia: Salem in 1692 by Chris Schlect [Link #16]
Summary of the events in four parts:

What about witches? [Link #18]
Account of the events, from the tourist website provided by the Town of Salem.

The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 [Link #19]
Account of the events, from the Salem Witch Museum.

Pilgrims and Puritans: Background. Context and Developments by A. Nadine Burke [Link #20]
Included in the course material for Literature 271: American Literature I -- Literature until 1865, Delta College, University Center, MI, Winter, 1997, by A. Nadine Burke. There are a few paragraphs about the Salem trials in the middle of this document.

Robert Calef, 1700, Opposer of Witch Trials [Link #21]
Short profile of the author of More Wonders of the Invisible World, an attack on Cotton Mather's Wonders of the Invisible World.

The Seventeenth Century: Echoes of the Renaissance and Reformation by Walter Fuller Taylor [Link #22]
These are lecture notes are based on Professor Walter Fuller Taylor's notes and lectures.

Biography of Rebecca Nurse by Allan Gilbertson [Link #110]
A short biography of Rebecca Towne Nurse, executed July 19, 1692 in Salem for witchcraft, with citations.

The Pocahontas Myth - Powhatan Renape Nation - the real story, not Disney's Distortion by Chief Roy Crazy Horse [Link #113]
from the site: "In 1995, Roy Disney decided to release an animated movie about a Powhatan woman known as 'Pocahontas'. In answer to a complaint by the Powhatan Nation, he claims the film is 'responsible, accurate, and respectful.' We of the Powhatan Nation disagree. The film distorts history beyond recognition. Our offers to assist Disney with cultural and historical accuracy were rejected. Our efforts urging him to reconsider his misguided mission were spurred. "

Currency and Banking in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay by Andrew McFarland Davis [Link #117]
from the site: "Davis's two volume treatise on the currency history of colonial Massachusetts was the best piece of historical research done on colonial currency during his generation. Originally published in 1900, it was republished by Augustus Kelley in 1970. Volume one of the set covers currency, while volume two covers banking. Converting the work to electronic text is a major job, which has only just begun." The first eight chapters from the first volume, on banking, are currently available at the site. The number of chapters has increased since I first found this site, so more may be in the works.

Best! The Significance of Wampum to Seventeenth Century Indians in New England by Lois Scozzari [Link #139]
Well-documented short paper,which was originally published in The Connecticut Review, by a graduate student in American Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut.

Puritanism in New England by David Cody [Link #140]
Short introductory essay about the migration to New England by the Puritans.

Cooking in New England [Link #141]
From the Diner's Digest, a brief essay about what early colonists in New England cooked and ate.

Schooling, Education, and Literacy in Colonial America [Link #158]
Nice site with information about education in colonial North America before 1700. Lots of images of horn books, primers, and maps.

Canada's Playing Card Money: A historical parabola on inflation and deficit spending [Link #159]
Nice summary of the history of the history of the switch from coins to paper money.

17th Century Musket Drill [Link #166]
Illustrated instructions on how to fire a 17th century musket. From The Journal for Military Miniature Enthusiasts

16th & 17th Century Coifs [Link #168]
Illustrated info about women's embroidered "coifs" of the period.

History of the United Church of Christ (Congregationalism) [Link #171]
Nice summary from the UCC site about the 17th century New England roots of Congregationalists.

Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings by Bill Carson [Link #196]
Adobe Acrobat ReaderThis is a very interesting site about Puritan sermons, and includes many sermons by Samuel Willard, who Carson describes as the "pastor of Old South Church in Boston, President of Harvard College, and in some ways might be considered the Last of the Puritans. His magnum opus, A Compleat Body of Divinity, was the largest book ever printed in New England at the time, and it's my all-time favourite uninspired book. It gives me great pleasure to share some of Willard's wonderful sermons with you, and I hope you benefit from them as I have."

Most of the sermons are in PDF Image format.

Dustin Genealogy by John Warner Barber [Link #224]
Includes a section "From 'Historical Collections, Being a General Collection of Interesting Facts, Traditions, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, &c., Relating to the History and Antiquities of Every Town in Massachusetts, with Geographical Descriptions' by John Warner Barber, published 1839 by Dorr, Howland & Co."

Dance with the Devil by Roxy Surf [Link #231]
An interesting story based on the Salem trials. Not to be taken as fact, however.

Revenge in the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria: The Putnam Family and George Burroughs by Anastasia Karson [Link #241]
This essay is from The Student Historical Journal 1998-1999 of Loyola University, documenting the Putnam family's grudge against George Burroughs, their former minister, who was ultimately accused, tried, and executed for withccraft in 1692.

America's Christian Leaders: Anne Hutchinson by Jay Rogers [Link #248]
Information about Antinominist Anne Hutchinson, who was tried for blasphemy in Boston, and fled to Rhode Island.

Anne Hutchinson: American Jezebel of Woman of Courage? by Rachel Buckingham [Link #249]
Well-researched high school paper about the outspoken Anne Hutchinson.

Confessions of a Harvard-Trained Witch Hunter: An Analysis of Judge Samuel Sewall's Confession of his Role in the Salem Witch Trials by G. Joseph Gatis [Link #254]
Adobe Acrobat ReaderAn interesting, lengthy, discussion of Samuel Sewall's brief apology for his role in the Salem witchcraft trials, with many references cited. [PDF]

The Crucible and the Classroom: An Examination of Arthur Miller's Technique of Dealing with the Devil by George M. Ella [Link #255]
This essay carries the alternative title: "The Devil and Arthur Miller." The author looks at Miller's play from a theological perspective, and along the way does look at the historical inaccuracies of the play and what Miller's artistic license is up to. An interesting point made here: that Rev. Hale in the play represents the real-life Rev. Cotton Mather in the historical events (just as Miller's Danforth examining Martha Corey was John Hathorne in real life.)

No Finality in Fells Acre by Bernard Rosenthal [Link #256]
Essay describing the commonalities between the Fells Acre Day Care Case and the Salem witchcraft trials, by the author of Salem Story.

A Sketch of Bridget Bishop by Mai-Linh Gonzales Westwood [Link #257]
This winning essay about Bridget Bishop, one of the people hanged in Salem in 1692, appeared in The Student Historical Journal, 1990-1991, of Loyola University.

Narragansett Stalking Horse: The English Role in the Pequot War by Clayton E. Cramer [Link #259]
Discussion about the motivations behind the so-called "Pequot War" between the English in Connecticut and the Narragansetts. Well-cited.

Teacher Serve from the National Humanities Center: Divining America: 17th and 18th Centuries [Link #266]
A variety of essays designed to help teach early American history, many emphasizing the importance of religion in the daily lives of the people:

Spirits, witches, & Science: Why the Rise of Science Encouraged Belief in the Supernatural in 17th-Century England by Richard Olson [Link #315]
An examination of the revival of belief in witches and other spirit phenomenon among British intellectuals post-1660 and the relationship of such beliefs to the rise of modern scientific attitudes. From Skeptic vol. 1, no. 4, Winter 1992, pp. 34-43.

Best! The Carey Document: On The Trail of a Salem Death Warrant by Bryan F. Le Beau [Link #287]
Many forged death warrants from Salem have appeared over the years, purporting to be authentic. This is a fascinating essay about how one such document was proven to be a fake, and includes a large scanned copy of the forgery and citations. From the site: "In 1989 the children of a recently deceased prominent Nebraska attorney and political figure, who had graduated from the Creighton University School of Law, gave the university what purports to be [a death warrant for one Martha Carey, dated Salem, Massachusetts, June10, 1692]. What follows is what I discovered in the process of authenticating that document." Le Beau is the author of The Story of the Salem Witch Trials: "We walked in clouds and could not see our way" (Prentice-Hall, 1998), and is a professor of history at Creighton University.

Links in this Category = 47

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This page was last updated Feb. 15, 2009 by Margo Burns, margoburns@gmail.com