Beacon Street Diary

Archives: October 2017

October 29, 2017

Just in time for Halloween, we have a collection of records from the infamous Salem Witchcraft Trials of the late 17th century.

The Salem Witchcraft Trials were a series of hearings before county court trials to prosecute people accused of witchcraft in the counties of Essex, Suffolk, and Middlesex in colonial Massachusetts, between February 1692 and May 1693. Despite being generally known as the Salem Witchcraft Trials, the preliminary hearings in 1692 were conducted in various towns across the province: Salem Village (now Danvers), Ipswich, Andover, and Salem Town. The best-known trials were conducted by the Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692 in Salem Town.

If you're familiar with Arthur Miller's play The Crucible, you might be surprised at how much more banal and bizarre some of the cases truly were.

The original manuscripts in this collection are owned by our project partners, the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Check out the collection page for more information.


Special Thanks

This digital resource has been made possible in part by the Council on Library and Information Resources, through a Digitizing Hidden Collections grant.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the Council on Library and Information Resources.

October 6, 2017

The Congregational Library & Archives will be closed this coming Monday, October 9th, in observance of Columbus Day.

All of our online resources will be available as usual. If you have a question you'd like to ask the staff, send an us email or leave a voicemail, and we'll get back to you when we return on Tuesday.

We hope you have a safe and happy holiday weekend.

October 4, 2017

Last fall we published the digitized versions of the bound records from the Congregational Church in Sturbridge, Mass. as part of our New England's Hidden Histories program. Now we've added several groups of loose records, including correspondence to the Female Society, disciplinary case documents, and relations for admission to membership.

These materials offer a deeper look into the lives of the town's residents. Most are written by individual laypeople rather than church officials, and they delve into more personal matters. Relations show the members' thoughts on their faith. Disciplinary cases remind us that neighborly squabbles and errors in conduct are nothing new. The letters to the Female Society demonstrate that the bonds of community and friendship can be some of the strongest and most enduring.

Take a look at the expanded Sturbridge collection and see what you can find.


Special Thanks

These digital resources have been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.