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Research Guide to Colonial Witchcraft Trial Materials at the Connecticut State Library

This bibliography lists some of the materials on colonial witchcraft trials that are available at the Connecticut State Library.  While not exhaustive, it will help researchers formulate successful strategies for consulting materials dealing with the colonial witchcraft trials in New England.  For materials noted as Archives, Main Vault, Special Collections, or Wells Collection, please see the Rules and Procedures for Researchers Using Archival Records and Secured Collections Materials. or additional information on access, please see Use of Offsite and Secured Collections.

The sections of this Research Guide are: Image of demons flying above an old house with two people watching from the ground from the book "Saducismus Triumphatus or, Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions…" by Joseph Glanvil

General & New England
Links to Related Resources


General & New England -- BibliographiesImage of Cotton Mather from "Salem Witchcraft: Comprising More Wonders of the Invisible World, collected by Robert Calef, and Wonders of the Invisible World, by Cotton Mather; … notes and explanations by Samuel P. Fowler."

Allison, Lorraine Ann"The Literature of Witchcraft in New England."  AB Bookman's Weekly March 15, 1993: 1069-78. Discusses early American colonial writings on the witchcraft phenomena and trials.  A photocopy of the article is in the H&G Vertical File: "Connecticut -- Witches and Witchcraft.” Original issue not at CSL.

Caldwell, Ashley and Clara C. Duarte.  “Witchcraft in Connecticut and New England: Sources in the Library of the Connecticut Historical Society.” Unpublished paper for History 393, “Wenches, Witches, and Goodwives,” Prof. Elizabeth Rose [University not given, ca. mid-1980s]. Revised by Jill Padelford, Library Assistant, Connecticut Historical Society, August 1988. Copy of paper is in H&G Vertical File: "Connecticut -- Witches and Witchcraft.”

Holmes, Thomas James.  Cotton Mather and His Writings on Witchcraft.  [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1926]  [CSL call number Z 8554 .H74].  Reprinted from Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Vol. XVIII, Parts 1 and 2. Pamphlet (29 pages) discusses how Cotton Mather’s writings on colonial witchcraft trials were only a small part of his total writings.

Keeney, Steven H.  "Witchcraft in Colonial Connecticut and Massachusetts:  An Annotated Bibliography." Bulletin of Bibliography & Magazine Notes 33 (February-March 1976): 61-72 [CSL call number Z 1007 .B94].  Extensive listing of sources available as of 1976.  Copy of article is in the H&G Vertical File: “Connecticut -- Witches & Witchcraft.”

General & New England -- Books & Articles

Allen, Rowland H.  The New-England Tragedies in Prose II.  The Witchcraft Delusion.  Boston: Nichols and Noyes, 1869 [CSL call number F 67 .A42] Background of English seventeenth century belief in witches; also recounts the Salem trials.

Baker, Emerson W.  The Devil of the Great Island:  Witchcraft & Conflict in Early New England.  New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2002 [CSL call number BF 1576 .B25 2002].  New Hampshire cases of “lithobolia” or throwing of stones and other objects by unseen hands.

Benes, Peter and Jane Montague Benes, eds.  Wonders of the Invisible World, 1600-1900: 17th Annual Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife. [Boston]: Boston University, 1995 [CSL call number GR 106 .W66 1995].

Boas, Ralph Philip.  Cotton Mather, Keeper of the Puritan Conscience.  New York: Harper, 1928 [CSL call number F 67 .M422].

Booth, Sally Smith.  The Witches of Early America.  New York: Hastings House, [1975] [CSL call number BF 1573 .B66].  Discusses possible causes of early American witchcraft cases.

Bostridge, Ian.  Witchcraft and Its Transformations c. 1650-c. 1750.  Oxford Historical Monographs.  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997 [CSL call number BF 1581 .B677 1997].  Background reading on “the significance of witchcraft in English public life c.1650-c.1750.”

Burns, William E.  Witch Hunts in Europe and America: An Encyclopedia.  Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003 [CSL call number GIRS Ref BF 1584 .E9 B87 2003].

Burr, George Lincoln, ed. Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases, 1648-1706.  New York: Scribners, 1914 [CSL call number BF 1573 .A2 N37 1914]. [CSL also holds a reprint copy: New York: Barnes & Noble, 1966.] Overview of a number of colonial witchcraft incidents.  

Coventry, William W.  Demonic Possession on Trial:  Case Studies in Early Modern England and Colonial America, 1593-1692.  New York: Writers’ Club Press, 2003 [CSL call number BF 1581 .C684 2003].

Curious Cases and Amusing Actions at Law, Including Some Trials of Witches in the Seventeenth Century. Toronto: Carswell Co., 1916 [CSL call number K 183 .C87 1916]. Pt I, "Cases in the Birmingham Court of Requests;" Pt. II, "Witch Trials," excerpts reprinted from The Wonders of the Invisible World, by Cotton Mather, and A Further Account of the Tryals, by Increase Mather;  Pt. III, “Amusing Actions at Law.”

Demos, John, ed.  Remarkable Providences, 1600-1760. New York: G. Braziller, [c1972] [CSL call number E 162 .D4 1972].  Readings on various aspects of early American life. See Ch. VII, “The Supernatural,” for pre-1700 writings related to the belief in witchcraft.

__________.  The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World. New York:  Viking, 2008 [CSL call number BF 1566 .D46 2008]. Witch-hunting from medieval times to 2000.  Includes a chapter “Windsor, Connecticut, 1654: A Town Entertaining Satan” and several chapters discussing aspects of the Salem trials; also discusses Malleus Maleficarum ["Hammer of Witches"], a book often used by witchcraft trial judges in colonial times.Image of a demon talking with a group of women from the book "Saducismus Triumphatus or, Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions…" by Joseph Glanvil

Drake, Frederick C.  “Witchcraft in the American Colonies 1647-62.”  American Quarterly 20 (Winter 1968): 694-725.  Available at CSL only through JSTOR, online journal database for institutions (subscription). Original issues not at CSL.

Drake, Samuel Gardner, ed.  The Witchcraft Delusion in New England:  Its Rise, Progress, and Termination as Exhibited by Dr. Cotton Mather, in The Wonders of the Invisible World; and by Mr. Robert Calef, in His More Wonders of the Invisible World. 3 vols. Roxbury, MA:  W. Elliott Woodward, 1866 [CSL call number Special Collections BF 1575 .D75 1866].  The same items Fowler (below) edited and published in 1865, but with Mather’s work first and with his own comments.

Fowler, Samuel, ed.  Salem Witchcraft: Comprising More Wonders of the Invisible World, collected by Robert Calef, and Wonders of the Invisible World, by Cotton Mather; … notes and explanations by Samuel P. Fowler. Boston:  William Veazie, 1865 [CSL call number Special Collections BF 1573 .A3 F69 1865]. Published with his own comments one year before Drake, above, published the same items, but in opposite order.

Glanvill, Joseph.  Saducismus Triumphatus or, Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions….  [3rd ed.]  London:  Printed for S.L…, 1689 [CSL call number Charles T. Wells Collection BF 1565 .G58 1689].  This book played a major roll in renewing and promoting English beliefs in witches, ghosts, and the supernatural by recounting “true” incidents.  The author believed that the English were losing belief in the supernatural, and if that trend continued, they would soon lose belief in God.  The book was widely popular and a major influence on colonial thinkers like Cotton and Increase Mather.

Godbeer, Richard.  The Devil's Dominion: Magic and Religion in Early New England. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992 [CSL call number BF 1576 .G63 1992].

Hall, David D.  “Witchcraft and the Limits of Interpretation,” New England Quarterly 58 (June 1985):  253-81 [CSL call number F 1 .N62].  A review of earlier discussions of witchcraft cases.  Contends that the witchcraft cases reflect “a world made up out of multiple and overlapping realms of meaning and behavior” requiring a tolerance of alternative interpretations.

__________, ed.  Witch Hunting in Seventeenth Century New England:  A Documentary History, 1638-1682.  Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1991 [CSL call number BF 1575 .W62 1991].  Summaries of Connecticut and Massachusetts cases, in general chronological order, often with a related quote from an authoritative source.

_________. “A World of Wonder: The Mentality of the Supernatural in Seventeenth-Century New England.”  In Seventeenth-Century New England, edited by David Hall and David Grayson Allan, pp. 239-74.  Boston:  The Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1984.  [CSL call number F 61 .C71 vol. 63]. How popular folklore about unusual events created a predisposition towards believing in the supernatural.

_________.  The Surreptitious Printing of One of Cotton Mather’s Manuscripts. Cambridge, MA: [Harvard University Press], 1925 [CSL call number BF 1575 .C23].  Cotton Mather’s manuscript for “Another Brand Pluckt Out of the Burning” was only to be hand-circulated, but was published without his consent in More Wonders of the Invisible World (London, 1700) by his adversary, Robert Calef (Sr.).

Karlsen, Carol F.  The Devil in the Shape of a Woman:  The Witch in Seventeenth-Century New England.  Thesis, Yale University, 1980 [CSL call number BF 1573 .A2 N4 1980 Mfilm].

__________.  The Devil in the Shape of a Woman:  Witchcraft in Colonial New England.  New York: Norton, 1987 [CSL call number BF 1576 .K37 1987]. Sees colonial women accused of witchcraft as those who upset the social and patriarchal order of colonial New England.

Kittredge, George Lyman.  Witchcraft in Old and New England.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1929 [CSL call number BF 1581 .K58]. Provides an overview of factors influencing the New England colonial belief in witches, such as England’s Witchfinder General of the 1640s.  

Mather, Cotton.  Late Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions….  London:  Printed for Tho. Parkhurst, 1691 [CSL call number  Charles T. Wells Collection BF 1573 .A2 M38 1691].  Examples of New England witchcraft cases.

Mather, [Cotton, Increase, et al.]  The Mather Papers.  Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society 38 (ser. 4, vol. 8) [CSL call number F 61 .M41 v. 38].  Correspondence of various members of the Mather family, collected by Thomas Paine.  Has accounts of a number of New England witchcraft cases. Image of the title page of the book "Wonders of the Invisible World..." by Cotton Mather

Mather, Cotton.  The Wonders of the Invisible World: Being an Account of the Tryals of Sveral Wtches Lately Executed in New-England….  Boston: 1693 [CSL call number Charles T. Wells Collection BF 1575 .M54 1693].  A work widely consulted in colonial times.

__________.  Late Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcraft Possession.  London:  Printed for Tho. Parkhurst, 1691 [CSL call number Charles T. Wells Collection BF 1573 .A2 M38 1691].  Emphasis on Salem.

Mather, Increase.  An Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences …  Events, Which Have Happened In This Age, Especially In New England.  London: 1684 [CSL call number Charles T. Wells Collection F 7 .M4375].  Reflects the Puritan view of God as intervening directly in events to bless or curse people for His own reasons.

_________.  A Further Account of the Tryals of the New-England Witches....  London: Printed for J. Dunton, 1693 [CSL call number Charles T. Wells Collection BF 1575 .F877 1693].  Contemporary accounts of the Salem witchcraft cases.

_________.  Magnalia Christi Americana, or, the Ecclesiastical History of New-England; From Its First Planting, in the Year 1620, unto the Year of Our Lord 1698, in Seven Books….  Hartford:  S. Andrus & Son, 1853.  2 vols.  [CSL call number Special Collections F 7 .M42 1853, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2].  Contains short biographies of famous seventeenth New Englanders, including various men involved in witchcraft trials.  Also recounts incidents of supposed witchcraft in New England, especially Salem.

_________.  Remarkable Providences:  Illustrative of the Earlier Days of American Colonization.  London:  John Russell Smith, 1856 [CSL call number  Charles T. Wells Collection F 7 .M43 1856].  Reflected New England seventeenth century beliefs and influenced the Salem trials.

Notestein, Wallace.  A History of Witchcraft in England from 1558 to 1718.  Prize Essays of the American Historical Association.  Washington:  American Historical Association, 1911 [CSL call number BF 1581 N6]. Accounts of English witchcraft cases.

Pike, James F.  The New Puritan New England Two Hundred Years Ago: Some Account of the Life of Robert Pike, the Puritan who Defended the Quakers, Resisted Clerical Domination, and Opposed the Witchcraft Prosecution. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1879 [CSL call number F 67 .P63].

Reis, Elizabeth.  Damned Women: Sinners & Witches in Puritan New England.  Ithaca, NY: Cornell, 1997 [CSL call number HQ 1438 .N35 R45 1997].  The author states that in Puritan theology, women were seen as the weaker sex and so were more likely to see themselves as sinful, damned, and in the power of Satan.  This belief contributed to the witchcraft trials in colonial New England.

_________, ed. Spellbound: Women & Witchcraft in America.  Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, Inc. 1998 [CSL call number BF 1576 .S64 1998].  Each chapter is by a noted scholar.

Stevens, Austin N., ed.  Mysterious New England.  Dublin, NH: Yankee, Inc., 1971 [CSL call number F 4.6 .S7].  Stories from Yankee magazine, some of them covering various witchcraft-related trials and incidents in New England.

Thomas, Keith.  Religion and the Decline of Magic:  Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1997 [CSL call number BR 377 .T46 1997]. Describes the interaction of folk-beliefs and religion in early modern England, including four chapters on witchcraft.

Watt, Francis.  The Law’s Lumber Room.  London:  John Lane, 1898 [CSL call number KD 358 .W38 1898]. See “State Trials for Witchcraft,” pp. 68-87, for an overview of five cases from Howell’s State Trials.  These English witchcraft trials possibly influenced those in the American colonies.

White, Edward J.  Legal Antiquities:  A Collection of Essays Upon Ancient Laws and Customs.  St. Louis, MO: The F.H. Thomas Law Book Co., 1913 [CSL  call number K 235 .W57].

General & New England -- Colonial Laws

Dalton, Michael.  The Countrey Justice…. London:  Printed for the Societie of Stationers, 1619 [CSL call number Special Collections JN 841 .P3 D17 1619 Oversize].  A basic reference book for non-lawyer country justices of the day.  See pp. 250-1 for official contemporary guidelines on identifying witches.

__________.  Officium Vicecomitum. The Office and Authority of Sheriffs....  London: Printed by the assigns of Richard Atkins, and Edward Atkins, 1682  [CSL call number KD 7312 .D15 1682 Oversize].  Used in England and its colonies, this book advises sheriffs on how to carry out their duties -- jury selection, escape of prisoners, etc.

Earle, Alice Morse.  Curious Punishments of Bygone Days.  Detroit: Singing Tree Press, 1968 [CSL call number HV 8532 .U5 E3 1968].  Reprint of 1896 edition.  Includes punishments for witchcraft.

Ewen, C. L’Estrange, ed.  Witch Hunting and Witch Trials: The Indictments for Witchcraft from the Records … for… A.D. 1559-1736.  New York:  Lincoln MacVeagh, The Dial Press, 1929 [CSL call number BF 1581 .E8 1929b].  American colonists were possibly influenced by the causes and proceedings of some of these English trials.

Hearn, Daniel Allen.  Legal Executions in New England, 1623-1960.  Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 1999 [CSL call number HV 8699 .U5 H388 1999].  Accounts of executions, arranged by date, including executions for witchcraft (see index).  Also provides the sources of the information.

Hinman, R. R.  The Blue Laws of New Haven Colony, Usually Called Blue Laws of Connecticut; Quaker Laws of Plymouth and Massachusetts;First Record of Connecticut; … Extracts from Connecticut Records; Cases of Salem Witchcraft….  Hartford: Case, Tiffany, 1838 [CSL call number Charles T. Wells Collection KF 2009 .A39 H56 1838].

Stanko, Dieter. "When Courts Grappled with the Devil."  New York Times “Connecticut Weekly” sec., November 1, 1992, p. 4 [CSL call number AN 128 .T56 Mfilm].  Discusses laws and court proceedings in the trials; refers to Elizabeth Clawson.  Copy of article in H&G Vertical File: "Connecticut-- Witches and Witchcraft.” 


CT -- Archives -- Original & Published

Connecticut Archives: Crimes and Misdemeanors, Series I, 1662/63-1789 [CSL call number HistRef F 91 .C56 Crimes Misdemeanors Ser. 1, mfms 22-24]. Includes documents relating to the cases of Hugh Crosia, Sarah Dibble, Sarah Spencer, and others. Index online;  the microfilm is available for use at CSL or through Interlibrary Loan.

Grant, Matthew Matthew Grant Diary  [CSL call number Main Vault 974.62 W76gra; also available online].  See inside cover for " a list of persons who were hanged."  This is the only known original source providing the name of Alse Young, the first person in Connecticut hung as a witch [1647].  The “diary” also has sermons by Thomas Hooker and others, Grant family records, the Windsor church covenant, rules for measuring land, extracts from various religious books, and other miscellaneous material.

Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut.  Hartford: Brown & Parsons, 1850. Reprint:  LaCrosse, WI: Northern Micrographics, 2001 [CSL call number  HistRef ConnDoc G25 v. 1, 1636-1665].  Also online as Colonial Connecticut Records. See p. 77 for “Capitall Lawes Established By the Generall Court, the First of December, 1642,” stating witchcraft is a capital crime.

Records of the Particular Court of Connecticut.  The originals are in State Archives Record Group 1, Early General Records, Vol. 55 (1650-1663) and Vol.  56 (1663-1665). Records to April 1663 were published in Records of the Particular Court of Connecticut, 1639-1663, Connecticut Historical Society Collections, Vol. 22, Hartford, 1928 [CSL call number HistRef F 91 .C7 Vol. 22].  Bracketed page numbers in this latter source cite pages in original manuscript volume of Particular Court Records.Bill of Accusation against Elizabeth Clawson from Samuel Wyllys Papers, CSL Digital Collections.

Samuel Wyllys Papers: Depositions on Cases of Witchcraft, Assault, Theft, Drunkennness, and Other Crimes Tried in Connecticut, 1663-1728 [CSL call  number Main Vault 974.6 fW97].  The most important primary source for information on Connecticut witchcraft cases.  This volume, in the State Archives, consists of 88 original Wyllys documents.  Available online in the State Library's Digital Collections. Microfilmed by Genealogical Society of Utah (film 0003645, item 2) and available through LDS Family History Centers, but the readability of the film is not good.

Samuel Wyllys Papers, Supplement.  Depositions on Cases of Witchcraft Tried in Connecticut, 1662-1693 [CSL call number Main Vault 974.5 fW97 supp.].  This second volume of a two-volume set of manuscripts (see above) consists of bound negative Photostats of the Samuel Wyllys Papers, 1638-1757 at the John Hay Library at Brown University.  Microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah (film 0003645, item 1) and available through LDS Family History Centers, but the readability of the film is not good.  As an alternative, you may wish to contact the John Hay Library, which holds the originals.

Ullmann, Helen Schatvet.  Hartford County, Connecticut, County Court Minutes, Volumes 3 and 4 1663-1687, 1697.  Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2005 [CSL call number HistRef F 102 .H3 U46 2005].   Includes several references to witchcraft, including the indictment of Elizabeth Seager (p. 48).

CT -- Books & Articles

Bulkeley, Gershom. "Will and Doom, or the Miseries of Connecticut...."  Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society 3 (1895): 69-269 [CSL call number  F 91 .C7 v. 3].  See pp. 233-5 for witchcraft at Fairfield, Connecticut, September 1692. 

“Commemorative Ceremony”. [Hartford, CT?; n.p., ca. May 2007] [No call number]. Pink sheet of 8 ½” x 10” paper advertising a meeting in Barnard  Park, Hartford, CT on May 26, 2007 to honor Alse Young and others hung for witchcraft in early Connecticut.  In H&G Vertical File: “Connecticut--Witches & Witchcraft.”

Cortesi, Lawrence.  "Was Mercy in League with the Devil?"  Connecticut Magazine 35, no. 8 (October 1972):  26-7, 46 [CSL call number F 91 .C62].  The life of Fairfield County’s Mercy Desborough, the accusations against her for witchcraft, and her trial.

Fuller, Carol Seager.  An Incident at Hartford:  Being an Account of the Witchcraft Trials of Elizabeth Seagar and Others.  Brevard, NC: Cordelia T. Seager and Charles W. Seager, 1979 [CSL call number BF 1576 .F85 1979].  Seagar case, told by some descendants.

Godbeer, Richard.  Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2005 [CSL call number BF 1576 .G64 2005]. Connecticut witchcraft trials of 1692.

Grant, Ellsworth.  "Connecticut's Witch Hunt."  Northeast Magazine [in Hartford Courant] October 28, 1984:12-19.  Overview which also mentions Juliana Cox, hung April 7, 1763, the last person hung in Connecticut for witchcraft.  Photocopy of article is in H&G Vertical File: "Connecticut Witches and Witchcraft.”

Harris, Gale Ion, “Henry and Katherine Palmer of Wethersfield, Connecticut and Newport, Rhode Island,” The Genealogist 17 (Fall 2003): 175-85 [CSL  call number CS 1 .G393].  The background of this family in Wethersfield, Connecticut and Newport, Rhode Island and the accusations against Katherine Palmer for witchcraft.  Photocopy of article is in H&G Vertical File: “Connecticut -- Witches & Witchcraft." 

Hoadly, Charles J.  "A Case of Witchcraft in Hartford."  Connecticut Magazine 5, no. 10 (October, 1899): 557-61 [CSL call number F 91 .C625].  A discussion of the case of Nathaniel and Rebecca Greensmith.Image of a demon flying into an attic window of an old house from the book "Saducismus Triumphatus or, Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions…" by Joseph Glanvil

Holdsworth, William K.  "Adultery or Witchcraft?  A New Note on an Old Case in Connecticut."  New England Quarterly 48 (September 1975): 394-409  [CSL call number F 1 .N62].  Distinguishes between the cases of Mary Johnson (witchcraft, 1648) and Mrs. Elizabeth Johnson (adultery, 1650).

Hornstein, Harold O.  “’Witches’ Or ‘Uppity Women?’” New Haven Register, October 29, 1972, “Our Connecticut,” p. 16B.  [CSL call number  AN 104 .N6 R44 Mfilm].  Story of Elizabeth Goodman/Godman, with thoughts on chauvinism as cause of witchcraft trials.  Photocopy of article is in H&G Vertical File: “Connecticut -- Witches & Witchcraft.”

[Jacobus, Donald L.]  "Connecticut Witches."  New Haven Genealogical Magazine 4 (September 1926): 951-58 [CSL call number F 104 .N6 A64].  Good overview of cases of Mary Johnson (1648/9) and Mary Bassett (1650); quotes original records and contemporary writers; gives own comments, compares sources. Photocopy of article in H&G Vertical File: "Connecticut Witches and Witchcraft.”

Jarman, Rufus.  "Our Own Witches."  Fairfield County Magazine 4 (October 1974): 50-7 [CSL call number F 102 .F2 F354]. Overview of Connecticut witchcraft trials 1649-1692, with some emphasis on Fairfield County.

Langdon, Carolyn S.  "A Complaint Against Katherine Harrison, 1669."  Bulletin of the Connecticut Historical Society 34, no. 1 (January 1969): 18-25 [CSL call number F 91 .C67].  Backgrounds of Katherine Harrison and Wethersfield citizens who complained against her.  Photocopy of article is in H&G Vertical File: "Connecticut Witches and Witchcraft.” 

__________. "The Case of Lydia Gilbert."  New-England Galaxy 5 (Winter, 1964): 14-23 [CSL call number F 1 .N39].  A descendant of Lydia Gilbert gives insights into Lydia and others accused of witchcraft in Connecticut until 1768.  Photocopy of article is in H&G Vertical File: "Connecticut Witches and Witchcraft.” 

__________.  "Connecticut Witchcraft -- What Was It?"  Bulletin of the Connecticut Historical Society 38, no. 1 (January 1973): 23-29 [CSL call number F  91 .C67]. Good brief overview; also seven reasons in the 1600s for convicting someone of witchcraft.

[Levermore, Charles Herbert.]  "Witchcraft in Connecticut, 1647-1697."  New Englander and Yale Review 44 (1885): 788-817 [CSL call number Z 9999 .N472].  Practical overview, often with wry humor.  Details on Godman, Harrison, Cole, and others.  Mentions the case in which Thomas Moulenor charged that William Meaker had bewitched his pigs, a case not mentioned in some works.  Quotes original records; footnoted.

Linck, Bonnie.  Records of Mary Barnes in the Early Court Records and Other Early Records of Connecticut. Hartford: Connecticut State Library, 2005.  An example of researching a Connecticut colonial witchcraft trial case, using official records at the Connecticut State Library.  In H&G Vertical File: “Connecticut—Witches & Witchcraft.”

Mackenzie, Ruth.  "Connecticut Justice and Mercy."  Connecticut Bar Journal 39, no. 4 (December 1965): 558-73 [CSL call number K 3 .O62].

McNally, Owen. “Witches Part of Exhibit Pitch,” Hartford Courant, October 16, 1985, pp. C1, C4 [CSL call number AN 104 .H3 C69 Mfilm]. Prof. John Demos to lecture that night; his comments on witchcraft trials in Connecticut.  In H&G Vertical File: “Connecticut—Witches & Witchcraft”.

Mandel, Brynn.  “Witch Trials.”  The Sunday Republican [Waterbury, CT], August 10, 2008, pp. 1H, 3H [CSL call number AN 104 .W3 R47 Mfilm]. Middletown documentary filmmaker Andy Blood’s views of Connecticut witch trials.  Also, Addie Avery on her ancestor, Mary Sanford.  Article in H&G Vertical File: “Connecticut -- Witches & Witchcraft.”

Marcus, Ronald.  Elizabeth Clawson... Thou Deservest to Dye.  Stamford: Stamford Historical Society, 1976 [CSL call number BF 1756 .M35].  The Elizabeth Clawson case in detail; photo of the affidavit (by friends and neighbors) that saved her.

Morgan, Forrest.  "Witchcraft in Connecticut."  American Historical Magazine 1 (May 1906): 216-38 [CSL call number Offsite E 171 .A42].  Sees these trials as examples of “social police” action, the community correcting itself, and aggression by women.

Spencer, Molloy, Frank. “Medical Science Casts New Light on 1661 Tale of Witchcraft.”  Hartford Courant, October 31, 1993, pp. A1, A3 [CSL call number AN 104 .H3 C69 Mfilm].  Modern coroner on the  autopsy of the Kellys’ daughter, which convicted Goody Ayres.  Article in H&G Vertical File: “Connecticut -- Witches & Witchcraft.”

Stiles, Henry R.  The History and Genealogies of Ancient Windsor.  Hartford: Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, 1891 [CSL call number F 104 .W7 S7 1976].  See Vol. I, pp. 444-50, “Witches in Windsor.”  On p. 447, Stiles, writing in 1891, refers to the entry on the inside cover of Matthew Grant’s diary as recording the first witch hung as “Achsah Young.”  (The name is actually “Alse.”)  This predates the December 1904 article by Annie Eliot Trumbull (see below).

_________. “Witches of Windsor.”  Hartford Evening Post, July 29, 1885, 4th edition, p. 4. [CSL call number AN 104 .H3 P67 1885: July-Sept, Mfilm]. Colonial witch trials of Windsor:  Elizabeth Johnson, Mary Johnson, Margaret Jones.  Answers earlier articles by others.  Copy in H&G Vertical File: “Connecticut— Witches & Witchcraft.”

Squires, Stephen Taylor.  Are There Witches? Being a True Tale of Discovering a Connecticut Ancestor Accused of Witchcraft.  This 17 page pamphlet treats his discovery of Fairfield localities relating to his ancestor Mercy Disbrow/Disborough.  In H&G Vertical File: “Connecticut--Witches & Witchcraft.”

Taylor, John M.  The Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut.  New York: Grafton Press, [1908] [CSL call number BF 1576 .T25 1908].  A good summary of the witchcraft accusations and trials of Connecticut.  Use with Tomlinson's Witchcraft Trials, below.

Tomlinson, R. G.  "Connecticut Witches." The Connecticut Nutmegger 5 (1972): 4-8 [CSL call number F 93 .C64].  Overview of Connecticut witch trials, with some unique information (e.g., Elizabeth Clawson’s maiden name).  Copy of article is in H&G Vertical File: "Connecticut Witches and Witchcraft.”

__________.  "The Great Witchcraft Panic of 1662."  Connecticut Nutmegger 13 (June 1980): 4-10 [CSL call number F 93 .C64].

__________.  “When Connecticut Hanged Witches”.  Hartford Magazine [in Hartford Courant], October 25, 1970, “C”, n.p.  [CSL call number AN 104 .H3 C69 Mfilm ].  Article in H&G vertical File: “Connecticut-Witches & Witchcraft”. Brief overview of Connecticut witchcraft trials; comments on the 1903 finding of the entry for Alse Young, the first Connecticut witch executed.  (However, see Stiles, above for an account of the 1891 discovery of Alse Young’s name).

__________.  Witchcraft Trials in Connecticut:  The First Comprehensive, Documented History of Witchcraft Trials in Colonial Connecticut.  Hartford: Bond Press, 1978 [CSL call number  BF 1576 .T65 1978].  Excellent summary of Connecticut’s witchcraft trials. Use in conjunction with Taylor, above.

Trumbull, Annie Elliot. "'One Blank' of Windsor."  Hartford Courant, December 3, 1904, p. A11 [CSL call number AN 104 .H3 C69 mfilm]. Also available online Proquest Historical Newspapers, Historical Hartford Courant (1764-1922).  A discourse on the entry for Alse Young inside the cover of Matthew Grant’s “diary.”

Weir, William.  A Descendant’s Duty.”  Hartford Courant, Oct. 22, 2006, sec. H, pp. H1, H4 [CSL call number AN 104 .H3 C69 Mfilm ].  Efforts of Debra Avery of Washington, Connecticut and her daughter Addie to exonerate ancestor Mary Sanford, who was hung for witchcraft in colonial Connecticut. Photocopy of article is in H&G Vertical File: “Connecticut—Witches & Witchcraft.”

Woodward, Walter W.  "New England's Other Witch-hunt: The Hartford Witch-hunt of the 1660s and Changing Patterns in Witchcraft Prosecution."  Magazine of History 17, no. 4 (July 2003): 16-19 [CSL call number E 175.8 .M34].

__________.  Prospero's America:  John Winthrop, Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture (1606-1676). Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Dissertation Services, 2005 [CSL call number F 97 .W8 W66 2001b].  See Chapter 4, pp. 261-325, “The Magus as Mediator: Witchcraft, Alchemy, & Authority in the Connecticut Witch Hunt of the 1660’s.”  Winthrop, as a known alchemist and a person of status, brought an important moderating influence to the colonial witchcraft trials in Connecticut.

“The ‘Witch’ Who Was Spared From New Haven’s Gallows.”  New Haven Register, October 29, 1962, n.p.  [CSL call number AN 104 .N6 R44 Mfilm].  Photocopy of article is in H&G vertical File: “Connecticut-Witches & Witchcraft.”  About Elizabeth Goodman /Godman.

CT -- Laws

The Blue Laws of Connecticut; Taken from the Code of 1650 and the Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut Previous to 1655, … With An Account of the Persecution of Witches and Quakers in New England….  New York: The Truth Seeker Company, 1899 [CSL call number Special Collections KFC 3881 .S8 B54 1899].  Early Connecticut laws, including those on witchcraft.


MA -- Archives -- Original & Published

Probate Records of Essex County, Massachusetts. Salem, MA: The Essex Institute, 1916 [CSL call number F 72 .E7 M42].

Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts. Salem, MA: The Essex Institute, 1911-  [CSL call number F 72 .E7 M44].

Rosenthal, Bernard, ed.  Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt.  New York:  Cambridge University Press, 2009 [CSL call number KFM 2478.8 .W5 R43 2009].

Woodward, W. Eliot, comp.  Records of Salem Witchcraft, Copied from the Original Documents. Vol. I & II (two volumes in one).  Privately printed for W. Eliot Woodward, Roxbury, MA, 1864.  Reprint New York: Da Capo Press, 1969 [CSL call number BF 1575 .R3 1969].

MA -- Books & Articles -- Church and Town Histories

First Church [Danvers MA.].  Proceedings at the Celebration of the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the First Parish at Salem Village, Now Danvers, October 8, 1872 ... Boston: Congregational Pub. Society, 1874 [CSL call number F 72 .D2 D39].

Hanson, J. W.  History of the Town of Danvers, From Its Early Settlement to the Year 1848.  Danvers, MA: J.W. Hanson, 1848.  Reprint: Salem, MA: Higginson Book Co., 1987 [CSL call number F 74 .D2 H36 1987].

Tapley, Harriet Silvester.  Chronicles of Danvers (Old Salem Village) Massachusetts, 1632-1923.  Danvers, MA: Danvers Historical Society, 1923 [CSL call number F 74 .D2 T17].

MA -- Books & Articles -- Salem Witchcraft Trials

Adams. Brooks.  The Emancipation of Massachusetts: The Dream and the Reality.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1887 [CSL call number F 67 .A21].  CSL also holds a 1919 edition, [CSL call number F 67 .A21 1919].  Feels that Samuel Parris preached “inflammatory” sermons and “garbled the testimony it was his sacred duty to truly record.”Image of a man speaking with women outside from the book "Saducismus Triumphatus or, Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions…" by Joseph Glanvil

Bliss, William Root.  Side Glimpses from the Colonial Meeting-House.  Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1894 [CSL call number Charles T. Wells Collection F 7 .B64].  Chapter XII, “The Notorious Ministers,” is on the Salem witchcraft trials.

Bonfanti, Leo.  The Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692.  Wakefield MA: Pride Publications, 1971 [CSL call number BF 1576 .B59 1971].  Overview of the Salem trials.

Boyer, Paul and Nissenbaum, Stephen.  Salem Possessed:  The Social Origins of Witchcraft.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974 [CSL call number BF 1576 .B6 1974].  Describes social and economic conditions in Salem that led to the witchcraft accusations.

Boyer, Paul S. and Nissenbaum, Stephen, comps.  Salem-Village Witchcraft:  A Documentary Record of Local Conflict in Colonial New England.  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub. Co., 1972 [CSL call number BF 1575 .B68]. Transcriptions of original proceedings and testimony pertaining to the cases of Sara Good, Rebecca Nurse, Bridget Bishop, John Willard, and George Burroughs and related Salem records.

Breslaw, Elaine G.  Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem:  Devilish Indians & Puritan Fantasies.  The American Social Experience.  New York: New York University Press, 1996 [CSL call number BF 1576 .B74 1996]. Examines the life of one of the instigators of events resulting in the Salem witchcraft trials. 

Carlson, Laurie M.  A Fever in Salem: A New Interpretation of the New England Witch Trials.  Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1999 [CSL call number BF 1576 .C37 1990].  Attributes the 1692 Salem witchcraft craze to encephalitis.

Caufield, Ernest.  Pediatric Aspects of the Salem Witchcraft Tragedy: A Lesson in Mental Health [CSL call number BF 1575 .C3 1943].  "Reprinted from the American Journal of Diseases of Children, May 1943, Vol. 65, pp. 788-802."

Demos, John.  Entertaining Satan:  Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982 [CSL call number BF 1576 .D42 1982].  A psycho-historical analysis of the trials; sees desires for attention as one of the motives of the afflicted.

Fowler, Samuel P., ed.  Salem Witchcraft: Comprising More Wonders of the Invisible World, Collected by Robert Calef, and Wonders of the Invisible World, by Cotton Mather….  Boston: W. Veazie, 1865 [CSL call number Special Collections BF 1573 .A3 F69 1865].

Fox, Sanford J.  Science and Justice: The Massachusetts Witchcraft Trials.  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press [1968] [CSL call number KFM 2478.8 .W5 F6].

Francis, Richard.  Judge Sewall’s Apology:  The Salem Witch Trials and the Forming of An American Conscience.  New York: Fourth Estate, 2005 [CSL call number F 67 .S525 2005].  Insights into Judge Samuel Sewall's shift in conscience between 1692, when he served as a judge in the witchcraft trials, to his public apology in 1697.

Gemmill, William Nelson.  The Salem Witch Trials:  A Chapter of New England History. Chicago: A. C. McGlurg & Co., 1924 [CSL call number BF 1576 .G4].

Gragg, Larry.  The Salem Witch Crisis.  New York: Praeger, 1992 [CSL call number BF 1576 .G73 1992]. Chapter 10, “Afterword,” compares the approaches of the various books on the Salem witch trials that were published as of 1992.

Hansen, Chadwick.  Witchcraft at Salem.  New York: George Braziller, 1969 [CSL call number BF 1576 .H26].  States that real black magic was practiced and contributed to the Salem hysteria.

Hoffer, Peter Charles.  The Devil’s Disciples:  Makers of the Salem Witchcraft Trials.  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1996 [CSL call number BF 1576 .H64 1996].

Hutchinson, Thomas.  The Witchcraft Delusion of 1692.  Boston: D. Clapp & Sons, 1870 [CSL call number BF 1576 .H8].  "Reprinted from the New-England Historical and Genealogical Register for October, 1870, pp. 381-414.  Written by a Governor of Massachusetts (1771-1774), also a historian.  As Governor, Hutchinson had unlimited access to state papers on the trials.  Includes partial transcriptions of questioning in Andover witchcraft trials, among others.  The draft  upon which this survived the riots of 1765, when a mob attacked his house.  (A later draft went into his History of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, ed. by Wm. Frederick Poole.  3 vols.  Orig pub. 1764-1828.  Reprint New York:  Arno Press, 1972 [CSL call number F67 .H97 1972].)

Kenses, James. “Some Unexplored Relationships of Essex County Witchcraft to the Indian Wars of 1675 and 1689.”  Essex Institute Historical Collections 120 (July 1984): 179-212. [CSL call number F 72 .E7 E78].

Koehler, Lyle.  A Search for Power:  the “Weaker Sex” in Seventeenth-Century New England.  Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1980 [CSL call number  HQ 1438 .A11 K63].  States the afflicted girls and women challenged the gender relationship/hierarchy.

Konig, David.  Law and Society in Puritan Massachusetts:  Essex County, 1629-1692.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1979 [CSL call  number KFM 2999 .E8 K66].  Suggests that the afflicted accusers in the witchcraft trials used the legal system to challenge authority.

LaPlante, Eve.  Salem Witch Judge:  The Life and Repentance of Samuel Sewall.   New York: HarperOne, 2007 [CSL call number F 67 .L37 2007].  An overview of Samuel Sewall’s life by a descendant of Anne Hutchinson.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth.  The New-England Tragedies.  Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1868 [CSL number Charles T. Wells Collection PS 2261 .A1 1868]. See Chapter II, “Giles Corey of Salem Farms.”  Corey did not admit either guilt or innocence and was pressed to death, thus allowing his goods to go to his heirs and not the sheriff.

Moore, George Henry.  Notes on the History of Witchcraft in Massachusetts.  Worcester, MA: Printed by C. Hamilton, 1883 [CSL call number BF 1576 .M6]. A leading writer of the later 1800s on the witchcraft trials.

Mudge, Zachariah A.  Witch Hill: A History of Salem Witchcraft: … Sketches of Persons and Places.  New York: Carlton & Lanahan, [1870] [CSL call number  BF 1576 .M9].

Murdock, Kenneth Ballard.  Increase Mather:  The Foremost Puritan. Cambridge: University Press, 1925 [CSL call number F 67 .M477].  See Chapter XVII, “Dolefull Witchcraft,” pp. 287-317, on the belief in witchcraft in late 1600s New England and on the involvement of the Mathers in the Salem trials.  Also see “Appendix B:  The Return [i.e.,statement]…Upon the Present Witchcraft in Salem Village,” pp. 405-6, for witchcraft trial guidelines from 1693.

Nevins, Winfield S.  Witchcraft in Salem Village in 1692.  Salem, MA: Salem Press Co., 1916 [CSL call number BF 1576 .N5 1916].  Has a number of drawings and photos of places connected with the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692.

Norton, Mary Beth. In the Devil’s Snare:  The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002 [CSL call number BF 1575 .N67 2002].  Examines the effect the prominence of women in the witchcraft trials had on society; also discuss the possible post-traumatic influence of pre-1692 Maine Indian raids on the coming forth of the trials in Salem.

Parkin, Robert E.  Our Ancestral Witch.  St. Louis: Genealogical R.& P., [1986] [CSL call number BF 1575 .P3].  About Susanna Martin of the Salem witchcraft trials.

Parrington, Vernon Louis.  Main Currents in American Thought:  An Interpretation of American Literature from the Beginnings to 1920.  New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1927-30. [CSL call number PS 88 .P3].  Suggests that Cotton Mather’s “speech and writings dripped with devil–talk” that encouraged the witchcraft “delusion.”

Perley, Sidney.  The History of Salem, Massachusetts.  Salem, MA: S. Perley, 1924 [CSL call number F 74 .Sl P4].  See pp. 254-95 for "The Witchcraft Delusion."

Robinson, Enders A.  Salem Witchcraft and Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc., 1992 [CSL call number BF 1596 .R62 1992].

Roach, Marilynne K.  The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-By-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege.  New York: Cooper Square Press, 2002 [CSL call number BF 1575 .R63 2002].  Day-by-day chronology of the Salem witch trials and related events.

Rosenthal, Bernard.  Salem Story:  Reading the Witch Trials of 1692.  Cambridge Studies in American Literature & Culture.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995 [CSL call number BF 1576 .R67 1995].  An analytical view of the Salem trials.

Starkey, Marion Lena.  The Devil in Massachusetts:  A Modern Inquiry Into the Salem Witch Trials.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1949 [CSL call number BF 1576 .S8 1949]. Sees the witchcraft hysteria as caused by teenagers with no real emotional outlets.  Image of a man flying from the book from the book "Saducismus Triumphatus or, Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions…" by Joseph Glanvil

Trask, Richard B.  The Devil Hath Been Raised:  A Documentary History of the Salem Village Witchcraft Outbreak.  Danvers, MA: Danvers Historical Society, 1992 [CSL call number BF 1576 .T73 1992].

Upham, Charles W.  Salem Witchcraft:  With an Account of Salem Village and a History of Opinions on Witchcraft and Kindred Subjects.  Reprint 1959 (2 vols.).  New York: Ungar, [CSL call number BF 1576 .U56 1959].  Mr. Upham, a native of Salem, was one of the first to thoroughly examine all the Salem town records -- land and probate as well as vital and church -- and to analyze the trials in the light of the town’s history and previously little-known “jealousies, discontent, and animosities” of its residents.

_________. Lectures on Witchcraft, Comprising a History of the Delusion in Salem in 1692.  Boston: Carter, Hendee and Babcock, 1831 [CSL call number Charles T. Wells Collection BF 1576 .U65].

_________. Salem Witchcraft and Cotton Mather…. Morrisania, NY:  n.p., 1869 [CSL call number Charles T. Wells Collection BF 1576 .U55].

Weisman, Richard.  Witchcraft, Magic and Religion in 17th-Century Massachusetts.  Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1984 [CSL call number  KFM 2478.8 .W5 W44 1984].  A historical, theological, and sociological examination of the Salem witchcraft trials.

Whitmore, William Henry. Andros Tracts: … a Collection of Pamphlets and Official Papers Issued … Between the Overthrow of the Andros Government and the Establishment of the Second Charter of Massachusetts….  Boston: The Prince Society, 1868-74 [CSL call number 973.24 F7.5 Microcard].  See ii, pp. 315-323 (Microcards 15 and 16) for Robert Calef’s accusations against Cotton Mather as a promoter of the Salem witchcraft hysteria, and Cotton Mather’s   replies.

MA -- Laws

Moore, George Henry.  Final Notes on Witchcraft in Massachusetts:  A Summary Vindication of the Laws and Liberties Concerning Attainders….  New York: The Author, 1885 [CSL call number BF 1576 .M63].  A leading writer of the late 1800s on the Salem witchcraft trials.

_________.  Supplementary Notes on Witchcraft in Massachusetts:  A Critical Examination of the Alleged Law of 1711 for Reversing the Attainders of the Witches of 1692.  Cambridge: John Wilson and Son, 1884 [CSL call number BF 1576 .M62 1884].

Photo Credits

The five images of drawings depicting people and demons are from the frontispiece of the book Saducismus Triumphatus or, Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions… by Joseph Glanvill. See the entry under General & New England -- Books & Articles.

Image of Cotton Mather from the frontispiece of the book Salem Witchcraft: Comprising More Wonders of the Invisible World, collected by Robert Calef, and Wonders of the Invisible World, by Cotton Mather; … Notes and Explanations by Samuel P. Fowler. See the entry under MA -- Books & Articles -- Salem Witchcraft Trials.

Image of the cover of the book The Wonders of the Invisible World: Being an Account of the Tryals of Sveral Wtches Lately Executed in New-England…. by Cotton Mather. See the entry under General & New England -- Books & Articles.

Bill of Accusation against Elizabeth Clawson from Samuel Wyllys Papers, CSL Digital Collections.

Prepared by the History and Genealogy Unit, Connecticut State Library, 11-96.  Updated, expanded, and revised by Bonnie Linck, History & Genealogy Unit, 02-09.