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City Upon a Hill: Colonists as Reformers Resources and Links

Theme: Social Changes and Social Reform
City Upon a Hill: Colonists as Reformers
March 29, 2004
Emerson Baker, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of History, Salem State College

Annotated Bibliography | Websites and Web Resources
Related Archives and Collections
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Resources and Links compiled and annotated by Emerson Baker, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair, Department of History, Salem State College ( and SALEM in History staff.

Annotated Bibliography

Compiled and annotated by Emerson Baker, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair, Department of History, Salem State College ( and SALEM in History staff.

Allen, David Grayson. In English Ways: The Movement of Societies and the Transferal of English Local Law and Custom to Massachusetts Bay in the Seventeenth Century. Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1981.

Influential book in which Allen focuses closely on five Massachusetts towns and argues that in the seventeenth century colonists did not transform English ways of life as much as they transplanted them intact. The diversity of experiences in each of his study-towns reflects the diversity of the regions in England that each group of colonists had called home. Agricultural practices receive a great deal of attention in this book.

Archer, Richard. Fissures in the Rock: New England in the Seventeenth Century. Hanover: University Press of New England, 2001.

Archer provides a recent overview of early New England that recognizes the diversity of the region.

Baker, Emerson, et al, eds., American Beginnings: Exploration, Culture and Cartography in the Land of Norumbega. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995.

The essays in this book looks at the non-Puritan frontier of northern New England.

Baker, Emerson. "Salem as Frontier Outpost" in Morrison, Dane Morrison and Nancy Schultz, eds. Salem: Place, Myth and Memory. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2004.

Baker explores Salem in its early years as an Anglo settlement when it was an outpost in the Anglo world as well as a homeland to Native Americans. The contested nature of this place as a "frontier" is highlighted, as is the ultimate exclusion of Native Americans from both the place they called Naumkeag and the new society that grew up there in the wake of 17th century settlement. As a whole, the essays in this book look at Salem as a unique place over four centuries.

Baker, Emerson, and Reid, John. The New England Knight: Enrichment, Advancement, and the Life of Sir William Phips, 1651-1695. University of Toronto Press, 1998.

This book looks at the imperial world of early New England from the view of an adventurer turned royal governor.

Bailyn, Bernard. The New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1955.

Written by one of the foremost colonial historians, this remains the classic account of Puritan business and economics.

Boyer, Paul, and Nissenbaum, Stephen. Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974.

This classic community study in the tradition of Lockridge, is also one of the finest books written on witchcraft in Salem.

Breen, Louise. Transgressing the Bounds: Subversive Enterprises among the Puritan Elite in Massachusetts, 1630-1692. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

This book is fresh look at the Antinomian controversy, and other Puritans who pushed for increasing individualism and toleration in early Massachusetts.

Bremer, Francis J. John Winthrop: America's Forgotten Founding Father. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

This is the definitive biography of Winthrop, perhaps the leading influence in the creation of a Puritan "City upon a Hill."

Cronon, William. Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England. New York: Hill and Wang, 1983.

Cronon weaves a brilliant ecological history of early New England.

Cummings, Abbott Lowell. The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1979.

This is the definitive book on early New England architecture.

Demos, John P. A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony. New York: Oxford University Press, 1970.

This is a wonderful discussion of Puritan families.

Foster, Stephen. The Long Argument: English Puritanism and the Shaping of New England Culture, 1570-1700. Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1991.

This is an excellent overview of New England Puritanism.

Gildrie, Richard P. Salem, Massachusetts, 1626-1683: A Covenanted Community. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1975.

A good scholarly overview of Salem in the seventeenth century.

Konig, David Thomas. Law and Society in Puritan Massachusetts: Essex County, 1629-1692. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1979.

A detailed examination of the legal system the Puritans created in Massachusetts.

Norton, Mary Beth. Founding Mothers and Fathers: Gendered Power and the Forming of American Society. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996.

A great overview of women in the English colonies in the seventeenth century and the ideas about gender that permeated social and political, private and public life.

Perley, Sidney. The History of Salem, Massachusetts. Salem, 1924-28.

This three volume set has very detailed information on early Salem and its residents.

Salisbury, Neal. Manitou and Providence: Indians, Europeans, and the Making of New England, 1500-1643. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.

Salisbury is probably the best treatment of the troubled relationship between Puritans and Indians during the founding of New England.

Thompson, Roger. Divided We Stand: Watertown, Massachusetts, 1630-1680. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001.

This is the most recent of the township studies.

Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher. Good Wives: Images and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750. New York: Knopf, 1982.

This includes considerable information about women in Essex County as well as general information about the daily lives of women in Puritan society.

Wood, Joseph S. The New England Village. Creating the North American Landscape Series. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997.

Wood, employing a cultural geographer's skill at linking space, place and history, skillfully debunks the all-too-common view of the 17th century New England village spatially and socially organized around a green common, white-steepled church in a village center. Wood's argument is that this view and experience of New England town life was the product of romantic 19th century ideas and ideals.

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Websites and Web Resources

Compiled and annotated by Emerson Baker, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair, Department of History, Salem State College ( and SALEM in History staff.

Avalon Project

This site at Yale Law school is a great repository of primary documents, including many for seventeenth-century New England.

Colonial House

This is the site for the PBS reality series set in New England in 1628. The site is still growing, but includes a section for teachers with lesson plans and classroom activities keyed to the series.


This on-line scholarly journal of early America has many interesting articles.

Emerson W. Baker's home page

Baker's home page has information about his archaeology projects, and links to many of his favorite sites.

Essex County Registry of Deeds - Historic Records On-Line

The first twenty volumes of deeds are viewable on line. Unfortunately, the index is not on line.

Jamestown Rediscovery

This isn't New England, but a great site on the archaeological excavations at 1607 Jamestown, Virginia.

Plymouth Colony Archive Project

This web site features the research of the late James Deetz, a very prominent historical archaeologist.

Plimoth Plantation

One of New England's finest museums has a re-designed web site, complete with resources and on-line activities for teachers.

Salem Witch Trials

University of Viriginia etext project, this is an amazing web site. It features tons of primary sources on Essex County too!

Seventeenth-Century Colonial New England

Margo Burns's web site is a wonderful starting point to explore this topic. Special emphasis on The Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692

The Cartographic Creation of New England

This is part of the USM (University of Southern Maine) Cartographic library, a great resource for early New England maps. Includes ideas for teaching with maps, as well as some lesson plans and activities.

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