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


Site Index


Best Sites on The Internet

These are the sites which have really impressed me for the accuracy, depth, and quality of the materials available. My criteria are wholly subjective: if I find myself saying "Wow!", it gets a star!

Best! A Guide to the On-Line Primary Sources of The Salem Witch Trials by Margo Burns [Link #375]
This website is a portal to make it easier to access the on-line primary sources -- both in transcription and facsimile images -- of the Salem Witch Trials located at other websites on the internet. Most of the links will take you to the Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive at the University of Virginia, others will take you to the Witchcraft Collection at the Cornell University Library website, and a few others will take you to other sites, such as the Library of Congress, Maryland State Archives and the NEHGS. Texts or images are generally not hosted at 17thc.us: these webpages are only an index to make locating what you want on-line easier.

Includes cross-references to digital facsimiles available on-line of the original manuscripts and the entries in Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, Bernard Rosenthal, General Editor (Cambridge University Press, 2009), Salem Witchcraft Papers, Paul Boyer ∓ Stephen Nissenbaum (DaCapo, 1977), and Records of Salem Witchcraft, Woodward (1864).

Best! The Samuel Wyllys Papers by Connecticut State Library [Link #378]
From the site: "The Samuel Wyllys Papers are a group of 88 court documents from 1600s Connecticut, with the official title Depositions on Cases of Witchcraft, Assault, Theft, Drunkenness, and Other Crimes Tried In Connecticut 1663-1728." This is an amazing collection of digital facsimiles of 17th century court documents, with a very easy interface to find and examine them.

Best! The Salem Witchcraft Site by Richard Latner [Link #381]
Prof. Latner has posted an enormous amount of data about the communities involved in the witchcraft trials. Check the Site Map (under the Home menu) to find all the data sets he has compiled in his own work and for his classes on the subject at Tulane.

Best! The Avalon Project at Yale Law School: Pre 18th Century Documents [Link #2]
A wonderful site with loads of documents of the original grants and charters from the 17th century. From the site: "Source: The Federal and State Constitutions Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies Now or Heretofore Forming the United States of America Compiled and Edited Under the Act of Congress of June 30, 1906 by Francis Newton Thorpe Washington, DC : Government Printing Office, 1909." Includes:

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! A Digital Archive of American Architecture: 17th Century [Link #34]
This site is a visual study guide for a class at Boston University, taught by Prof. Jeffrey Howe, called "From Saltbox to Skyscraper: Architecture in America." I've selected just the 17th century part, which contains a slew of photographs by Howe of houses, churches, and the Saugus Iron Works, along with floorplans. This a terrific site!

Best! The Cartographic Creation of New England [Link #36]
From the site: "An exhibition of early maps that chronicles the effects of European exploration and settlement in north-eastern North America in creating a spatial concept called 'New England.' The Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education, University of Southern Maine, Portland. November 30th, 1996 to April 27th, 1997." Huge JPEGs (typically 1024 x 1536 pixels), including many by French explorer Champlain and:

Best! Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1640-1700 [Link #37]
Part of a course "Images. Print, Literacy and Power in America: to 1900,"at the University of California, Berkeley, LIS 182, Spring 2001, by Mary Kay Duggan, Assoc. Prof., Information Management and Systems. This site includes facsimiles of a wide variety of rare books and maps, including the following:

Best! Coins from 17th and 18th century Massachusetts [Link #38]
Lots of images and information of coins p roduced in the colonies up to 1750 from the Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of Notre Dame, including the Pine Tree Shilling.

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! Notable Women Ancestors: Witches by Sam Casey [Link #70]
This site includes links to many biographies of women accused of witchcraft, including these Biographies located at this site include:
  • Susanna North Martin by Sam Casey. A superb, well-documented biography of her ancestor who was executed for witchcraft in 1692, with links to transcriptions of the warrant for her arrest, her indictment, and depositions of John Pressey, John & Mary Pressey, and Bernard Peach; Jarvis Ring & Joseph Ring (2); John Kimball, John Allen, Joseph Knight & Elizabeth Clark; Robert Downer, Mary Andrews, Moses Pike, Thomas Putnam, Sam Parris, Nathaniel Ingersoll, Abigial Williams & Ann Putnam, Jr.; William Brown, Elizabeth Hubbard, Mercy Lewis, Sarah Vibber, John Atkinson & Sarah Atkinson.
  • Elizabeth Jackson Howe by Cynthia (Frazier) Abbott
  • Rebecca Nurse by Dana A. Wildes
  • Sarah Wild(e) by Rhonda Little
  • Mary Bliss Parsons , one of the women accused of witchcraft in Hartford, Ct.

Best! National Geographic's Salem Witchcraft Hysteria [Link #120]
This site is unlike any of the other materials I've found on-line: it's a hypertext, multimedia account, casting you, the reader, as one of the accused, and links to a discussion 'forum' and a chance to ask their expert questions!

Best! National Geographic's Salem Witch Hysteria Ask an Expert by Richard Trask [Link #123]
The best Q and A about Salem on the Web -- with answers by Historian Richard Trask, Town Archivist for Danvers (formerly Salem Village). You can even ask him your own question, but look through all the other questions first to see if someone has already asked it!

Best! GenForum's Genealogy Forums [Link #145]
Many, many web-based genealogy forums on surnames -- some of which should interest people researching the Salem witchcraft trials (such as COREY, PARRIS and TOWNE), with new ones being added all the time -- or if you don't find one for your favorite surname, you can start one of your own. From the site: "GenForum is a conglomeration of message boards (some people call them queries, we call them forums). Anyone can post to these forums and immediately have their data shared with other researchers. From our home page, you can access our over 8200 forums devoted to specific surnames, states, countries, and general topics."

Best! NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art by Tara Prindle [Link #155]
This amazing site, hosted at the University of Connecticut website, is full of pictures of various articles made by natives, loads of descriptions, instructions, bibliographies, recipes, games, with a chat room and a forum, and pages for the Nipmuc Indian Association of Connecticut (NIAC). Got a Top 5% rating from Lycos -- don't miss it! Please note: these images are copyrighted and permission must be obtained from Tara Prindle, the page author, to reproduce any of these graphics.

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! Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts Company: 17th-Century Books [Link #188]
This page is at a commercial site for a seller of rare books, and the reason I'm including it in my collection is that this particular "table" at the site is devoted to books from the 17th century, all of which are for sale, and which also include a lot of images of them.

Best! The Salem Witchcraft Papers by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum , editors [Link #189]
This is the full eText version of the 3-volume Salem Witchcraft Papers: Verbatim Transcripts of the Legal Documents of the Salem Witchcraft Outbreak of 1692, which is frustratingly no longer available from the publisher. This is, bar none, the most important single website for anyone doing on-line research on the Salem Witchcraft Trials.

Best! Maps of Salem Village in 1692 by W. P. Upham, 1866 [Link #190]
JPEG maps of Salem Village is it was in 1692 -- small (77K), medium (229K), and large (727K).

Best! The Plymouth Colony Archive Project at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champagn (formerly at the University of Virginia) by Patricia E. Scott Deetz and James Deetz [Link #207]
This is a terrific site for anyone researching the Plimoth colony: it includes legal and literary texts from the period, images of the material culture of the site, maps, reconstructions, and much more. If you are interested in Plimouth, start here.

From the site: "This Plymouth Colony Archive presents a collection of searchable texts, including court records, Colony laws, seminar analysis of various topics, biographical profiles of selected colonists, probate inventories, wills, a Glossary and Notes on Plymouth Colony, and Vernacular House Forms in Seventeenth Century Plymouth Colony: An Analysis of Evidence from the Plymouth Colony Room-by-Room Probate Inventories 1633-85."

Best! Witchcraft Accusations Feb. 29-Mar.31, 1692 by Ben Ray [Link #213]
This is one of the most amazing multimedia goodies on the trials I've seen so far. It is an animated timeline, highlighting the accusers and accused on a map of Salem Village on each of the earliest days of the accusations -- with links to lots of other primary information. Requires Shockwave, which you can download at http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/

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! Salem Witchcraft: Holdings from Various Archives by Benjamin Ray [Link #230]
This is an archive of digital images of all the actual handwritten legal documents concerning the Salem Witchcraft Trials from various manuscript collections. You can actually look at the image of Samuel Parris's handwritten transcription of the examination of Martha Corey! Or the death warrant of Bridget Bishop. A small part of the site is still unavailable to the public because the holder(s) of some documents have not yet given the University of Virginia permission to do so, but the number of restricted manuscripts is very low. Some of the images are of better quality than others -- for instance, the images of the documents held at the Peabody-Essex Museum is taken from older black-and-white microfilm, but the new full-color digital photographs of the manuscripts at the Boston Public Library are absolutely luscious, with all the detail of the paper and ink. Each archive provides at least two sizes of each image, in case you are looking for very fine details in a manuscript. Definitely a class act!

Best! Witchcraft Accusations: Feb. 29-Mar. 31, 1692 by Benjamin Ray [Link #236]
ShockwaveThis is a really amazing use of interactive media to show the geographical progression of witchcraft accusaions in Salem Village in March 1692. You have to see this one to believe it!

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! Essex County (MA) Deeds Online: Historic Records [Link #274]
This site allows you to browse images of early deeds of Essex County. The images, however, are in TIF format, and require a special viewer. for Windows. Use can use Graphic Converter for the Mac to view them.

Best! The Malleus Maleficarum by Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger [Link #277]
Adobe Acrobat ReaderThe Malleus Maleficarum (The Witch Hammer) was first published in 1486, and was undoubtedly known to the witch-hunters in Salem. From the site: "Unabridged online republication of the 1928 edition. Introduction to the 1948 edition is also included. Translation, notes, and two introductions by Montague Summers. A Bull of Innocent VIII. " Currently this is available as webpages, but also in PDF, eBook, MS Word, and ASCII text versions at the "Downloads" link. A terrific addition to the eTexts of rare books on-line!

Best! The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, 1636-1776 [Link #280]
On-line archive at the University of Connecticut Library. Images of the pages of the printed volumes of the records are available. Search capabilites are limited, but each volume's subject index can be browsed. Names of people and topics such as witchcraft can be looked up. Definitely worth investigating if Connecticut is where you want to be exploring!

Best! Some Miscellany Observations On our present Debates respecting Witchcrafts, in a Dialogue Between S. & B. by Samuel Willard [Link #282]
The text of a pivotal public dialogue about the witchcraft trials in Salem in 1692, transcribed more accurately than the version at the University of Virginia website.

Best! The Survey of Scottish Witchcraft: 1563-1736 by Julian Goodare, Lauren Martin, Joyce Miller and Louise Yeoman [Link #317]
From the website: "This is an electronic resource for the history of witchcraft and witch-hunting in Scotland. It is in two parts: an interactive database, and supporting web pages. The database contains all people known to have been accused of witchcraft in early modern Scotland -- nearly 4,000 of them.... There is also supporting material. An 'Introduction to Scottish witchcraft' [a FAQ] explains some of the findings from the database and puts them in context." A truly amazing on-line resource for anyone interested in the study of witchcraft trials. Terrific narrative bibliography included under 'Further Reading.'

Best! Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County by Edited by George Francis Dow [Link #331]

Best! Colonial House: Interactive History, 375 Years Ago at 360 Degrees [Link #342]
QuickTimeVERY cool! This is part of PBS' "Colonial House" website, which has 360-degree QuickTime VR panoramic views of a 1628 "colony" in Maine, both interior and exterior. Zoom in and out, turn entirely around! The show is scheduled to air in May 2004. A different take on "reality tv" in that the aim was to make a successful colony, not to pit participants against one another in a competition. I recommend exploring the rest of the site, but this part is definitely the main attraction.
  • A Historian Awakens 1628 by Emerson "Tad" Baker. An essay by this eminent Maine historian and archeologist about how he helped design this "colony" for the show.

Best! English Handwriting 1500-1700: An Online Course by Andrew Zurcher [Link #346]
An excellent resource for anyone wanting to learn more about early modern English handwriting. Lots of explanations, images, and period handwriting manuals. Emphasis more on England than America.

Best! Debunking a Popular Internet Lesson Plan [Link #366]
This page takes on the factual errors in the Thanksgiving lesson "Teaching About Thanksgiving" (see below, Link #74) by The Fourth World Documentation Project, with many primary sources to prove its points. (Thanks to Jeremy Bangs for bringing this page to my attention.)

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.

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!

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.

Best! Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases, 1648-1706 by George Lincoln Burr [Link #322]
This compilation by Burr includes classic texts on witchcraft: "A Brief and True Narrative," by Deodat Lawson, 1692, "Letter of Thomas Brattle, F. R. S.," 1692, "Letters of Governor Phips to the Home Government," 1692-1693, with excerpts from "The Wonders of the Invisible World," by Cotton Mather, 1693, "More Wonders of the Invisible World," by Robert Calef, 1700, and "A Modest Inquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft,& by John Hale, 1702. Searchable!

Best! The Goody Parsons Witchcraft Case: A Journey to 17th Century Northampton by Historic Northampton and the Center for Computer Based Instructional Technology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. [Link #365]
An excellent site about one of the lesser-known case of witchcraft accusation in the 17th century. The site includes images of original documents (with transcriptions), photographs of period homes, maps, and some portraits. From the site: "Mary Parsons is perhaps the most infamous resident of Northampton's early settlement period. She was involved in witchcraft-related trials in 1656 and 1674, and possibly again in 1679. Her story is a fascinating one that sheds light on the workings of the Puritan mind and the complicated social and cultural situation of the period."

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."

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, My email address.