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Colonial New England Books

Charles E. Clark, The Eastern Frontier: The Settlement of Northern NewEngland, 1610-1763 (1970)

Charts the distinctive culture that developed in the south of what become Maine and New Hampshire during the colonial period.

Elaine Forman, Ebb Tide In New England: Women, Seaports, and SocialChange, 1630-1800 (1998)

Charts the status of women in four port towns: Salem, Boston, Newport, and Portsmouth, throughout the colonial period. Despite a female majority in these densely populated areas, Crane finds a decrease in female autonomy over time, reverting back to the female dependency of the earliest days of settlement as the market economy and government infrastructures expanded and further empowered men.

Judith S. Graham, Puritan Family Life: The Diary of Samuel Sewall (2000)

Basing his work on the diary of jurist and merchant Samuel Sewall (1652-1730), Graham depicts an affectionate family whose lifestyle debunks—at least in part—many of the old myths and stereotypes about joyless, disciplinarian Puritans. The book is more compelling in its arguments about parenting and parent-child relationships than it is about the relationship between Sewall and his wife Hannah.

Daniel R. Mandell, Behind the Frontier: Native Americans in Eighteenth-Century Eastern Massachusetts (1996)

An interesting history based on documentary records (not oral histories) that reminds us of the continued presence and the exceptional perseverance of Native Americans in New England during the eighteenth century.

Mary Beth Norton, In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 (2002)

A recent and significant reinterpretation of the events at Salem, contextualized within all of Essex County and New England and the frontier conflict known as King William's War. Utilizes newly available materials from the trial records, letters and diaries.

Laurel Ulrich, Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750 (1983)

A wonderful work of history that debunks many Puritan stereotypes while reiterating the strict codes and difficult circumstances under which these women labored and lived.

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