Salem Witch Trials

Salem (cities, United States)

Salem:1 City (1990 pop. 38,091), seat of Essex co., NE Mass., on an inlet of Massachusetts Bay; inc. 1629. Its once famous harbor has silted up. Salem has electronic, leather, and machinery industries, and tourists are drawn to its many historical landmarks. Many colonial buildings remain. Nathaniel Hawthorne's birthplace dates from the 17th cent., and the House of Seven Gables (1668) is preserved. Also of interest are Pioneer Village, a reproduction of early Salem; the Witch House (1642), where witch trial hearings were held; the Peabody Essex Museum, whose origins date to 1799, with outstanding art, historic buildings, and the Phillips Library's historical collections; and Salem Maritime National Historic Site. Salem State College is there.

In 1626, Roger Conant led a group from Cape Ann to this site, called Naumkeag by the Native Americans. Salem's early history was darkened by the witchcraft trials of 1692, in which Samuel Sewall was a judge; many of the victims came from the part of Salem that now is Danvers. Massachusetts exonerated all those accused in the trials in 1711. From colonial days through the clipper ship era, Salem was world famous as a port and a wealthy center for the China trade. It was a privateering base in the American Revolution and in the War of 1812. Shipping declined after the War of 1812, and the city turned to manufacturing. Hawthorne was overseer of the port from 1846 to 1849.

See history by J. D. Phillips (1937, repr. 1969); E. E. Elliot, The Devil & the Mathers (1989); L. W. Carlson, A Fever in Salem (1999); M. B. Norton, In the Devil's Snare (2002).



2 Town (1990 pop. 25,746), Rockingham co., SE N.H.; settled 1652, inc. 1750. It is a marketing and distribution center, with computer, electronics, polyethylene, software, machinery, and printing and publishing industries. Nearby are a racetrack and Canobie Lake Amusement Park. Of interest is Mystery Hill, site of large stone structures believed to date from 2000 BC

3 City (1990 pop. 12,233), Columbiana co., NE Ohio, in a coal region; inc. 1806. Tools and dies, industrial machinery, appliances, and pumps are among its diverse manufactures. Settled (1803) by Quakers, Salem was an early abolitionist center and an important station on the Underground Railroad. A branch of Kent State Univ. is there.

4 City (1990 pop. 107,786), state capital and seat of Marion co., NW Oreg., on the Willamette River; inc. 1857. In an agricultural area with dairying, stock-raising, and the cultivation of fruits, nuts, and grain, Salem has food processing plants and wineries. There is printing and publishing, and manufactures include draperies, wood and paper products, paints, concrete, sheet metal, traffic-control and navigational equipment, silicon wafers, and boats. Founded 1840–41 by Methodist missionaries, it became capital of Oregon Territory in 1851 and remained the capital when Oregon became a state in 1859. Salem is the seat of Willamette Univ., various state and federal government buildings, state hospitals, and the state penitentiary; a museum of mental health is there. Of note is the neoclassical state capitol building (1937). The annual state fair is held in Salem.

5 City (1990 pop. 23,756), seat of Roanoke co., SW Va., on the Roanoke River, between the Blue Ridge and the Allegheny Mts.; first inc. 1806, inc. as a city 1967. A variety of products, including machinery, earth moving equipment, automated teller machines, steel, apparel, tools and dies, furniture, tires, prefabricated home kits, and fire sprinklers, are manufactured there. Roanoke College is in the city.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Salem Witch Crisis
Larry Gragg.
Praeger, 1992
The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Inquiry into the Salem Witch Trials
Marion L. Starkey.
Alfred A. Knopf, 1949
Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692
Richard Godbeer.
Oxford University Press, 2005
FREE! Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases, 1648-1706
George Lincoln Burr.
Barnes & Noble, 1914
Witchcraft, Magic, and Religion in 17th-Century Massachusetts
Richard Weisman.
University of Massachusetts Press, 1984
Witchcraft
Charles Alva Hoyt.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1989 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Salem"
Governing the Tongue: The Politics of Speech in Early New England
Jane Kamensky.
Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "The Tongue is a Witch"
Puritanism in Early America
George M. Waller.
D. C. Heath, 1950
Librarian’s tip: Includes "The Devil and Cotton Mather"
FREE! The Wonders of the Invisible World: Being An Account of the Tryals of Several Witches Lately Executed in New England
Cotton Mather; Increase Mather.
John Russell Smith, 1862
A Quest for Security: The Life of Samuel Parris, 1653-1720
Larry Gragg.
Greenwood Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Under an Evil Hand: The Witchcraft Crisis" and Chap. 7 "A Summer of Trials and Executions"
The Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut, 1647-1697
John M. Taylor.
J. Edmund Edwards, 1969
A Miscellany of American Christianity: Essays in Honor of H. Shelton Smith
Stuart C. Henry.
Duke University Press, 1963
Librarian’s tip: Includes "Puritan Character in The Witchcraft Episode Of Salem"
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