Early US Literature

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The Salem Witch Trials

This short list of bibliography will serve scholars researching the Salem Witch Trials.  These digital databases offer electronic transcripts for the trials as well as electronic books and images that provide a deeper understanding of the period.

“The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections: Witchcraft Collection”. 2012-2013. Web. 22 July 2013.

Offers over 100 books available online from the Witchcraft Collection as part of the “Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections”. The 100 books digitized are part of a large collection of documents following the history of witchcraft predominantly in Europe. The website is available for public access and books can be viewed either by browsing by title or author’s name. The collection is not specific to the Salem Witch Trials alone but offers a wide range of books on witchcraft. The collection focuses on the practice of witchcraft as a theology. It also contains materials and transcripts of witch trials available in the original form. The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections hold over 3000 documents on witchcraft at the Cornell University Library. However, only 100 titles are digitized and accessible online. The collection can be viewed at the library by scheduling an appointment. This collection serves scholars interested in law, gender studies, and literature.

“Famous American Trials: Salem Witchcraft Trials”. 1692 Web. 22 July 2013.

The Salem Witch Trials is part of an extensive website that offers links to other famous trials in American History. It is mainly aimed at students of law who can benefit from the website as it offers all the famous trials provided by University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law; however, any scholar interested in the Salem Witch Trials would find this website useful. The website offers a broad history of the Salem witch trials including detailed biography of individuals involved in the trials. In addition, it also identifies the individuals involved in the trials. Transcripts of the witch trials are also available. Biographies, arrest warrants and Cotton Mather’s Memorable Providences are accessible on the website. The website also includes letters from Governor William Phips who had a key role in the witch trials. A study of the procedures used during the Salem Witch Trials is available to serve law students and others interested in the events. Additionally, the website offers some causes that triggered the witch trials, as well as lessons that can benefit scholars studying the Salem Witch Trials.

American Memory From the Library of Congress. Lib of Cong., Web. 25 July 2013.

This digital library offers great tools for scholars and teachers interested in American history. The website provides users with material suitable for the classroom. The library contains a large collection of historic materials and primary sources. The website organizes the materials available by state. Those interested in historic artifacts related to their state can select and find the material relevant to the state. The website offers images, historical records and maps related to each state. A solid selection on the Salem Witch Trials and the puritans can be found on the website. The selection on the puritans, as well as the witch trials, provides scholars with historical background on the culture and events of that period. The website categorizes their records according to topics such as Literature, Native American History, and Cities and Towns. The website is geared towards teachers teaching American history and culture. It is accessible and open to the public.

Ray, Benjamin. “Salem Witch Trials: Documentary Archive and Transcription Project”. 2002. Web. 22   July 2013.

This public website is provided by The University of Virginia and offers records of the Salem witch trials. The website holds extensive historical records regarding Salem (now Danvers, MA) and provides fully scanned primary sources of books related to the Salem Witch Trials. However, the cumbersome method used to save every scanned page on a separate file is time-consuming for scholars interested in researching these primary sources. The website also contains court records, personal letters, sermons and diaries. A search option for court documents is available by surname with scans from the original documents. In addition, the website contains a guide to historically significant locations in Danvers and maps. An interactive map available on the website is useful to use in a classroom as it helps in following the outbreak of witch accusation geographically from Feb. 29 to March 31, 1692. A recreational map is also available on the website; however, it is part of a large project that is still underdevelopment and is executed by the University of Virginia. Book and video reviews are informative and available on the website; they are part of an undergraduate course project and are limited to two or three works only.

“The Salem Witchcraft Site”. Web. 24 July 2013.

A project by Richard B. Latner from Tulane University, the website follows the timeline of the outbreak, geography and the economic issues in Salem Village that helped fuel the outbreak. However, the website does not offer transcripts of the examinations or trials and focuses mainly on the three aspects listed. It is fairly easy to navigate through the website which targets a large audience. The data provided were mainly derived from Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum’s The Salem Witchcraft Papers, Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, edited by Bernard Rosenthal, et. al. Boyer and Nissenbaum’s Salem-Village Witchcraft. The website also offers tables, scatter plots, and histograms that demonstrate how the accusations began to spread geographically around Salem and the level of involvement of each town listed. Scholars can easily track the witch accusations through the detailed graphs available on the website. Additionally, the website follows the villagers’ reaction towards Samuel Parris and provides information on the petition the villagers signed to have him abdicated. The website is designed with the intention of allowing scholars to download most of its contents accessible through various programs to aid them with their research and analysis.

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