Mather, Cotton. Diary and Personal Documents, 1716-circa 1719.

Collection Information

Cotton Mather diary and personal documents, 1716-circa 1719.


Mather, Cotton, 1663-1728

Mather, Samuel, 1706-1785


1716-circa 1719


2 volumes (0.04 cubic feet)

106 unique images: archival TIFF, derivative JPEG & PDF

Collection ID #:


Conditions Governing Access:

Original volume is closed and unavailable for researcher access. Digital duplicates are open and available to researchers upon publication to the web.

Technical Access:

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Copyright: Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], in the Cotton Mather diary and personal documents, RG5160. The Congregational Library & Archives, Boston, MA.

Additional Resources:

Item-level metadata is available for digital surrogates. Please contact the library for more information.



Processing information:

Processed by Sari Mauro in January 2014 in accordance with DACS 2013.


Cotton Mather (1663-1723), son of Increase and Maria (nee Cotton) Mather was born in February of 1663. He was pastor at Second Church in Boston and a prolific writer. He died February of 1723. This collection contains a portion of his diary from the year 1716, a list of marriages he performed in 1717, and a six-page document of instructions given to his son Samuel prior to Samuel's entrance to Harvard.

Acquisition Information:

No acquisition information is available for the items in this collection.


Additional accruals are expected for this collection in the form of full-text transcription. There is no anticipated date for this accrual.

Historical Note

Cotton Mather, son of Increase Mather and Maria Cotton, was born February 12, 1663 in the city of Boston in Massachusetts Bay Colony. He attended Boston Latin School and Harvard, graduating in 1678. He was ordained May 13, 1684 at Second Church in Boston, also known as "Old North" Church or "the Church of the Mathers", where he served with his father, Increase (1639 O.S. - 1723 O.S.). Cotton married three times (first to Abigail Phillips of Charlestown, second to Elizabeth Hubbard, and third to Lydia George) and had 15 children six of whom lived to adulthood. Cotton was also a prolific author, publishing some 280 distinct items. He is perhaps best remembered today for his endorsement of inoculation as a means of fighting smallpox and for his role in the Salem witchcraft trials. Cotton Mather died February 23, 1728.


Scope of Collection

This collection contains the diary of Cotton Mather (1663-1728) from the years 1716 (volume originally classified as RBR M42.3 DI), as well as Mather's "Directions for a SON going to the Colledge" and a record of marriages performed by Mather in the year 1717.

Note: this segment of Mather's diary was written during the transition from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. As such, the February portion of the diary is dual dated 1715/1716 while March is single-dated 1716.


Further Searches

Subject Headings

Mather, Cotton, 1663-1728 - Diaries.

Mather, Cotton, 1663-1728.

Mather, Samuel, 1706-1785.

Young men - Conduct of life - Early works to 1800.

Fathers and sons - Early works to 1800.

Weddings - Massachusetts - Early works to 1800.


Related Materials

The Congregational Library & Archives holds many items authored by Cotton Mather. A list may be viewed in the library's online catalog.

A servant of the Lord, not ashamed of his Lord : a short essay to fortify the minds of all persons, especially of young persons, against the discouragements of piety, offered in the derisions of the impions [pdf] (1704) by Cotton Mather

Pedigree of the Family Mather [pdf] from A brief history of the vvar with the Indians in New-England… (1676) by Increase Mather (Genealogical chart showing nine generations)



Items are contained in a single volume. Digital duplicate arrangement reflects physical arrangement: pages are arranged in volume-order. Where there are more than 2 blank pages in a row, only the first and last have been digitized.



    Date Location
Diary 1716 RBR M42.3 DI
      Online Interface
  This portion of Cotton Mather's diary contains entries starting in February of 1715/1716 (OS/NS) and ends December 1716. Please note: Mather uses dual Julian/Gregorian calendar dating in portions of this diary.
"Directions for a SON going to the Colledge" circa 1718-1719 RBR M42.3 DIR
      Online Interface
  Mather's "Directions", most likely written after a diary entry dated July 1718 but before his son Samuel (1706-1785) entered Harvard in 1719, contains 7 points of advice on how Samuel should conduct himself while at school.
List of Marriages 1717 RBR42.3 DIR
      Online Interface
  This single-page document contains a list of marriages performed in 1717 by Cotton Mather.


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