7:30 pm (Berwick Academy)

Emerson "Tad" Baker will discuss his recent book which sets the Salem Witch Trials in the broader context of American history from the seventeenth century to the present, and examines their enduring legacy.  Focusing on the key players in the Salem witchcraft crisis—the accused witches and the people they allegedly bewitched, as well as the judges and government officials who prosecuted them— he illuminates why the tragedy unfolded as it did.

He shows how the Puritan government's attempts to suppress what had taken place only fueled the popular imagination, and established the trials as a turning point from Puritan communalism to Yankee independence.  He also sets the trials in the broader context of American history from the 1620s up through the present, and reveals the ways their legacy remains with us.

Emerson "Tad" Baker is a professor of History at Salem State University.  He is the award-winning author of many works on the history and archaeology of early Maine and New England, including A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience and The Devil of Great Island: Witchcraft and Conflict in Early New England.  For thirteen summers, Baker directed Old Berwick Historical Society's excavations at the Chadbourne Site (1643-1690) in South Berwick.  He has served as an advisor for PBS-TV's American Experience and Colonial House.  He tweets on the Salem witch trials and early New England history @EmersonWBaker.

Sponsored by the Old Berwick Historical Society, the program will be held on Wednesday, September 23, starting at 7:30 pm at Berwick Academy's Jeppesen Science Center on Academy Street.  The public is invited, and volunteers will serve refreshments.  Donations are welcome.

For additional information about our programs and the Counting House check our website or call (207) 384-0000.


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