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

 

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Museums, Libraries, Memorials & Historical Societies

There are a lot of places around New England which have historical collections and exhibits about the 17th century. This is not a definitive list, but includes a lot of the hilites.

Best! New England Historic Genealogical Society: American Ancestors [Link #58]
Bar none, this is the most best library for researchers on New England Geneaology. The revised website has a variety of searchable databases, including:

Best! Plimoth Plantation [Link #59]
This is a terrific site with lots of good information, primary source materials, and images about the first settlement in Plimoth, MA.

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:

North Andover Historical Society [Link #377]
The NAHS is "a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving our local heritage and bringing it to life through children’s programs, guided tours, lectures, workshops, craft demonstrations, exhibits, architectural walking tours and publications." Check the website for information about a current calendar of events and times to visit their historic buildings, including Parson Barnard's house (1715).

Rebecca Nurse Homestead [Link #10]
A nice profile of this 17th-century house in Danvers, MA, with several photographs. From the site: "Today the house includes three restored rooms with period furnishings of the 17th and 18th century, together with the out buildings and exhibition areas. The house is open to the public from June 15th to October 15th, Tuesday through Saturday from 1:00 to 4:30 and Sundays from 2:00 to 4:30, or by appointment throughout the year by calling (617) 774-8799. Admission is $1.50 for adults and $.75 for children under 16. To reach the Nurse homestead from route 128, take exit 24, north on Endicott Street, right on Sylvro Street, then bear left on Pine Street."

Best! Cornell University Library Witchcraft Collection [Link #321]
from the site: "Cornell's Witchcraft Collection contains over 3,000 titles documenting the history of the Inquisition and the persecution of witchcraft.... The most important materials in the Witchcraft collection, however, are the court records of the trials of witches, including harrowing original manuscript depositions taken from the victims in the torture chamber." Many of the texts are available on-line!

Salem Witch Trials Memorial [Link #41]
Several pages with pictures of the memorial to the people executed, created for the 300th anniversary of the event.

The Peabody-Essex Museum, in Salem, MA [Link #56]
Most of the surviving documents from the trials are housed here, a handlful on display in the Essex Street Building in an exhibit called "Days of Judgment: The Salem Witch Trials of 1692," although this website doesn't have very much available about them. I've included a link here as a plug for the museum because of the wonderful work they do, preserving the primary sources of the events.

The Salem Witch Museum [Link #57]
Yes, the one right in Salem!

The Mayflower Society [Link #60]
Basically contains only information on how to contact this historical/genealogical society. The most information at this site is listed under the Canadian Society of Mayflower Descendants.

Connecticut State Library: History and Genealogy [Link #61]
This library has a lot of resources, although most listed are items in their collection, not available on-line, but these valuable ones are:

Powhatan Renape Nation American Indian Museum [Link #114]
The only Indian owned and operated museum in New Jersey. PO Box 225, Rancocas, NJ 08073. The museum is open Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment (call 609-261-4747 to make an appointment), and Saturdays from 10:00am - 3:00pm. No appointment is necessary on Saturday.

Salem Wax Museum [Link #115]
Site for the hokey wax museum in Salem, MA.

Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center [Link #133]
from the site: "The world's largest and most comprehensive Native American museum and research center offers an array of engaging experiences for young and old, from life-size walk-through dioramas that transport visitors into the past, to changing exhibits and live performances of contemporary arts and cultures. Four full acres of permanents exhibits depict 18,000 years of Native and natural history in thoroughly researched detail, while two libraries, including one for children, offer a diverse selection of materials on the histories and cultures of all Native peoples of the United States and Canada."

Historical Deerfield Massachusetts [Link #137]
from the site: "Historic Deerfield is a museum of New England history and art within the carefully preserved 329 year old western Massachusetts village of Deerfield. Each year thousands of visitors come to Deerfield to see a collection of 18th and 19th century houses and the Flynt Center of Early New England Life filled with some of the great decorative arts treasures of early America. The buildings and the objects in them are set in The Old Deerfield National Historic Landmark - a thousand acres of rich farmland surrounding one of New England's most beautiful and unspoiled villages. Deerfield is truly the New England travellers hope to find!"

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe [Link #138]
The Mashpee Wampanoags' official website for tribal news and events.

Witch Dungeon Museum [Link #143]
The Witch Dungeon Museum in Salem, Massachusetts -- from the site: "The mood is set from the moment you enter the Witch Dungeon Museum. You are there - in Salem Village in 1692, and you are guaranteed a unique educational experience with a chill or two. You'll experience the acclaimed performace of a Witch trial adapted from the 1692 historical transcripts. Professional actresses in repertory reenact the electrifying scene followed by a tour of the Dungeon."

The New England Pirate Museum: An Historical Adventure for Young & Old [Link #144]
from the site: "The unique and little-known history of New England sea-robbers comes alive at the Pirate Museum. Relive the adventures of Captains Kidd and Blackbeard, who roamed freely offshore plundering merchant ships. Participate in an educational, historically accurate and entertaining, live walking tour with a qualified guide who encourages student participation and questions. The tour starts in our artifacts room with authentic pirate treasures. Then you'll stroll through a colonial seaport, board a pirate ship, and explore an eighty foot cave, where you are sure to encounter some of those 17th century rascals face to face. Join us at the Pirate Museum to learn more about New England's adventurous sea-robbers. Curriculum packets are available. Inquire about our educational pirate visiting your school. Seasonal - May through November. "

Society for Seventeenth Century Music [Link #163]
This organization and its journal primarily deal with European music of the 17th century.

The Cavalier Association by Mark & Jennie Gist [Link #167]
A group of 17th century military reenactors.

The Associated Daughters of Early American Witches [Link #174]
A National Society incorporated in the State of California, with membership by invitation only. From the site: "A woman must be at least sixteen years of age and able to prove descent from an ancestor or ancestress who was accused or tried or executed for the practice of witchcraft prior to 31 December 1699."

Massachusetts Historical Society [Link #191]
Website of the Boston-based Massachusetts Historical Society, a major resource library for any serious researcher, and another example of why a library is better than the Internet for research. From the website: "The Society's library collections cannot be matched either in scope or depth by those of any similar institution. The area of primary interest is the manuscript collection of approximately ten million pieces (more than 3,000 separate collections) of personal papers and institutional records. Here, the serious reader may find such valuable resources as the diary of seventeenth-century witchcraft trials judge Samuel Sewall, the papers of Paul Revere and the Adams family, and even the private writings of Thomas Jefferson (including his farm and garden books as well as most of his architectural drawings)."

American Antiquarian Society [Link #192]
The website for the American Antiquarian Society, "an independent research library focusing on American history, literature, and culture through 1876."

The Piscataqua Pioneers Collection [Link #201]
This contains no actual documents, but is a list of what is in "The Piscataqua Pioneers Collection," a special collection at the Dimond Library at the University of New Hampshire, Durham -- including regional genealogies, vital records, town histories, maps, etc. Check here to see if UNH has something you're looking for. Of course it's primarily focused on New Hampshire, but there's plenty about Massachusetts and Maine as well.

The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Maine [Link #218]
An organization for male descendants of colonial military and govermental people between 1607-1775.

Andover Historical Society [Link #276]
The official website of the Andover Historical Society. Most people think that all the witchcraft accusations took place in Salem Village, but adjacent Andover was also aflame with accusations.

Danvers Historical Society [Link #319]
Danvers is the present-day name of the town once known as Salem Village. From the site: "The Danvers Historical Society was formed in 1889 'to discover, collect, preserve and exhibit objects which illustrate local history, but particularly the history and development of the Town of Danvers.' Historic properties owned and managed by the Society are Putnam House (1648); Page House (1754); and Glen Magna Farms (1812/1893). The Society's collection is housed at Tapley Memorial Hall and represents a large variety of cultural and decorative arts objects. In 1987 the Society became stewards of the Endicott Burying Ground."

Strawbery Banke Museum [Link #341]
From the site: "Strawbery Banke, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit educational institution accredited by the American Association of museums and is listed on the national Register of Historic Places." Primarily a collection of houses in Portsmouth, NH, most from the 18th century and brought to the site, but includes one late 17th century house:

Society of Early Americanists [Link #353]
From the site: "The purpose of this Society shall be to further the exchange of ideas and information among scholars of various disciplines who study the literature and culture of America to approximately 1800. The Society shall promote the exchange of ideas and information among its members through a newsletter, which serves as the primary forum for members' concerns, through an electronic bulletin board and a Website, and through meetings, joint research projects, and any other means SEA might deem appropriate."

Best! The Farber Gravestone Collection by David Rumsey [Link #371]
fromt he website: "The Farber Gravestone Collection is an unusual resource containing over 13,500 images documenting the sculpture on more than 9,000 gravestones, most of which were made prior to 1800, in the Northeastern part of the United States. The late Daniel Farber of Worcester, Massachusetts, and his wife, Jessie Lie Farber, were responsible for the largest portion of the collection. This online version of the Farber Gravestone Collection is sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society. The Web site and online image database have been created by David Rumsey and Cartography Associates."

Links in this Category = 30



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This page was last updated Feb. 15, 2009 by Margo Burns, My email address.