Salem Witch Trials

[Ed. Note...two queries, a month apart, are combined here, along w/the answers.]

Query #1 From Gretchen Adams 21 Jan 1999

I am working on a research project that considers the use of the Salem trials of 1692 as a gendered metaphor in American culture. Specifically, I am seeking references to the witch trials that define women as irrational or dangerous when involved in public life. While I have compiled a fair number of these, I suspect that they can be found in many unpublished sources..or obscure and unindexed sources not readily available to me--that others may have run across in their own work on women from 1800 to the present. If anyone can point me to one, I'd appreciate it. Any place, any use of Salem in relation to women! Thank you in advance.

Query #2 From Jennifer M. Morris

I am looking for recommendations regarding an appropriate text for undergraduates taking an intro-level course in American History regarding the Salem witch trials. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd appreciate receiving them. Thanks for your assistance.


Breslaw, Elaine _Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem: Devilish Indians and Puritan Fantasies_(NYU Press, 1996). (Mentions witchcake)

Briggs, Robin _Witches and Neighbors_ (also mention of witchcake)

Brown, David C. "The Forfeitures of Salem, 1692," _William and Mary Quarterly_, 50:85, 1993.

Carlson, Laurie Winn _A Fever in Salem: A New Interpretation of the Salem Witch Trials_ (Ivan R. Dee, Chicago, 1999)

Conde, Maryse _I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem_p> Demos, John Putnam _Entertaining Satan: Witcraft and Culture of Early New England_(Oxford U Press, 1992).

Godbeer,Richard _The Devil's Dominion: Magic and Religion in Early New England_ (Cambridge, Cambridge U Press, 1992).

Hill, Frances _A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials_(NY: Doubleday, 1995)LOC# KFM2478.8.W5H55 [Some responses indicated Hill's book must be looked at w/care as it may be inaccurate in some vital information.)]

Hoffer, Peter Charles _The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal History_(U of Kansas Press, 1997).

Karlsen, Carol _The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England_(WW Norton, 1988)

Mastossian, Mary "Ergot and the Salem Witch Trials." in Mastossian, Mary _Poisons of the Past: The Role of Myotoxins in History_ (New Haven, Yale U Press, 1989).

Miller, Arthur _The Crucible_

Nissenbaum, Stephan and Paul Boyer _Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft_(Harvard U Press, Cambridge, MA 1974). (Also mentions witchcake)

Reiss, Elizabeth "The Devil, the Body, and the Feminine Soul in Puritan New England," _The Journal of American History_82:15, 199 82:15,

Reiss, Elizabeth _Damned Women_

Rosenthal, Bernard _Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692_(Cambridge,MA., Harvard U Press,1993). (Mentions witchcake)

Starkey, Marion _The Devil in Massachusetts_

Zeller, Anne C: "Arctic Hysteria in Salem?" Anthropologica 32:239, 1990

Other Responses:

For a visual representation of the witchcraft trials, I much prefer "Three Sovereigns for Sarah," a PBS drama, over "The Crucible." I have shown "Three Sovereigns" in a survey class and the students were fascinated not only about witchcraft, but also about religious, class, community, and gender issues (all of the things I wanted them to notice!).

Theresa Kaminski
Associate Professor
Department of History
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Stevens Point, WI 54481

Also, for anyone interested in reading about the "witches" from living descendants' perspectives, I invite you to visit my "Notable Women Ancestors" site at and select "Witches" category. Many of the biographies here are loaded with additional references and cites from original documents that might be helpful.
Susanne (Sam) Behling
Descendant of Susanna (North) Martin, hanged at Salem, July 19, 1692 Descendant of Sarah (Lord) Wilson, accused in Andover, Sept. 7, 1692, released Dec. 20, 1692