Witch-Hunting in Seventeenth-Century New England: A Documentary History 1638-1693, Second Edition

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David D. Hall
Duke University Press, 1999 - History - 378 pages
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This superb documentary collection illuminates the history of witchcraft and witch-hunting in seventeenth-century New England. The cases examined begin in 1638, extend to the Salem outbreak in 1692, and document for the first time the extensive Stamford-Fairfield, Connecticut, witch-hunt of 1692–1693. Here one encounters witch-hunts through the eyes of those who participated in them: the accusers, the victims, the judges. The original texts tell in vivid detail a multi-dimensional story that conveys not only the process of witch-hunting but also the complexity of culture and society in early America. The documents capture deep-rooted attitudes and expectations and reveal the tensions, anger, envy, and misfortune that underlay communal life and family relationships within New England’s small towns and villages.

Primary sources include court depositions as well as excerpts from the diaries and letters of contemporaries. They cover trials for witchcraft, reports of diabolical possessions, suits of defamation, and reports of preternatural events. Each section is preceded by headnotes that describe the case and its background and refer the reader to important secondary interpretations. In his incisive introduction, David D. Hall addresses a wide range of important issues: witchcraft lore, antagonistic social relationships, the vulnerability of women, religious ideologies, popular and learned understandings of witchcraft and the devil, and the role of the legal system. This volume is an extraordinarily significant resource for the study of gender, village politics, religion, and popular culture in seventeenth-century New England.


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Godbeer, Richard. (1991). New England Quarterly 64(September). Read full review


The Early Cases 16381651
The Parsons of Springfield A Family at Odds 16511652
Suspicion A Widows Resistance 16531655
The High Price of Silence 1654
A Handful of Troublemakers 16521661
A LongRunning Feud 16561675
One Mans Many Accusers 16581669
Mother and Daughter The Holmans of Cambridge 16591660
A Servant Possessed 16711672
Vehement Suspicion Eunice Cole of Hampton 16561680
Two Grandparents One Grandson and a Seaman 16791681
The Strange Death of Philip Smith 16831684
The Possession of the Goodwin Children 1688
The Salem Witchhunt 1692
The StamfordFairfield Witchhunt 16921693
The Hartford Witchhunt Additional Texts

The Hartford Witchhunt 16621665
A Fathers Battle 16661667
One Cunning Woman At Odds With All 16681670
Three Ambiguous Cases 16691681
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About the author (1999)


David D. Hall is Bartlett Professor of New England Church History at the Harvard Divinity School. His books include Puritans in the New World: A Critical Anthology; Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment: Popular Religious Belief in Early New England; and Antinomian Controversy, 1636–1638: A Documentary History, published by Duke University Press.

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