Tag Archives: Local Events

A Neighborhood Besieged

A dynamic, healthy city is composed of neighborhoods: this is a time-honored, universal observation, so much so that I believe it is a truism. It follows that municipal leaders should prioritize the protection of neighborhoods, but too many times, far too many times in my opinion, the City of Salem has pitted residents against developmental entities which seek to alter the composition and character of neighboods in overwhelming ways. I’m really worried about a neighborhood located just south of where I live, through which I walk and/or drive pretty much every day, which seems to be facing a development of gargantuan proportions: three multi-storey buildings for shelter and senior housing along with adminstrative and retail facilities, to be built in and on a small area of narrow streets and small houses, the remainder of a storied section of our city. The neighborhood now goes by the name of “Greater Endicott” for the major street that runs through it, but in the past it was: a ship-building district at the head of the South River proximate to Mill Pond, “Roast Meat Hill,” Salem’s first African-American neighborhood, and Little Italy, a tight-knit neighborhood clustered around a community-built church.

A Stereoview of the Boston & Maine Depot, with Mill Pond in back and the Endicott Street neighborhood top right, from the Dionne Collection at Salem State University Archives and Special Collections, 1870s. Jen Ratliff of the Archives has recently published a post on Salem’s “Little Italy,” which you can find here, along with links to more photos and ephemera.

The development at issue has not been proposed formally to a City board yet, but its developers, two regional non-profits, Lifebridge Northshore and Harborlight Community Partners, have met with city councillors and the neighborhood association. Lifebridge operates a homeless shelter on part of the site on which they want to expand, and Harborlight is a community development nonprofit which has built and redeveloped many affordable housing projects on the North Shore. There is no question that both organizations are engaging in laudable and necessary work, but in this particular case I believe that their missions are in conflict with the viability of an historic Salem neighborhood. Their proposal is to demolish the current Lifebridge Shelter, once the parish hall for St. Mary’s Italian Church, as well as the church itself and adjacent buildings, to build two five-storey buildings along Margin Street, and an additional four-storey building for senior housing behind these two structures, on the existing playground along Pratt Street. Very little parking is specified: 12-15 spaces for three huge buildings, several of which will have considerable visitation and staffing needs. And there’s one odd little detail: because one of the buildings which will be demolished is the Christopher Columbus Society, which features a bar, Lifebridge has proposed relocating said bar in its dry shelter building! I believe that none of the new housing facilities are limited to Salem residents; both Lifebridge and Harborlight operate as regional organizations. As there is a state law mandating the replacement of playground facilities, a new playground will be built along Endicott Street. I have seen a rendering of this proposal, but I don’t really know where it came from or if it is accurate so I’m not going to publish it here: suffice it to say that it’s rather horrifying!  The buildings don’t look like anything else in the neighborhood—this could be the beginning of the Hampton Inn-ization of Salem as the project looks like it will mirror the new Hampton Inn across the way (the less stripey part), and I’m no architect or surveyor, but I don’t really see how everything will fit.

As there has been no formal proposal yet, my sources for this proposal are notes from several meetings of the Greater Endicott Neighborhood Association: with the developers and with the two candidates for Mayor in Salem’s recent special election. Sadly, both of these men sound a bit resigned about the development: their answers to the residents’ questions give the impression that resistance is futile! The relationship between Lifebridge and Harborlight and Salem’s municipal government seems very close: both organizations were collaborating “partners” in the creation of the Salem Housing Road Map for FY 2023-2027, and last fall Harborlight hosted a ‘Housing Institute‘ at Old Town Hall for city councillors and staff. Photographs of smiling Salem politicians at Lifebridge and Harborlight fundraisers and legislative breakfasts appear regularly: there doesn’t seem to be the same separation as is the case with private developers, or maybe I’m just being naive about the latter. The proposal is in serious conflict with the zoning for the neighborhood, but there are tools to overide these restrictions in Massachusetts: 40B and 40R statutes, which grant developers free reign if sufficient affordable housing is part of the proposal. Salem has already met (and exceeded) the 40B requirement of 10% affordable housing, but 40R is more of a “carrot” than a stick approach to urban development, aimed at creating “smart growth districts” in proximity to mass transit by “streamlining” the permittal process and incentivizing the host city/town with cash payments. This could happen here, but it would take a majority vote of the City Council. There’s no question that more housing is a drumbeat echoing out from City Hall, but I believe that our councillors care about neighborboods too: I’m not as pessimistic (yet!) as one commentor in the meeting notes who observed that “a group of 100 individuals is being privileged over a neighborhood, and by extension, a city.”

The Harborlight Homes Housing Institute at Old Town Hall, Salem, Sept. 22, 2022.

What came before, and what next? That’s about as much housing policy discussion as I can engage in. It’s more simple for me, really. When I think about this neighborbood faced with this looming development, my mind conjures up one question: hasn’t it suffered enough? Of all Salem’s historic neighborhoods, this one is the least protected and has withstood the most challenges: from economic dislocation in the 18th and 19th centuries, from the Great Salem Fire which singed its borders in the early 20th, to development in the 20th centuries. And now this. People in the nineteenth century were very conscious of its venerability and vulnerability in a way that people in the 21st century are not, because it had already lost so much. Salem’s first two custom houses were located in this neighborhood, the so-called “Port House” and “French House”: the latter survived into the nineteenth century and was verified as Salem’s old house by none other than the Reverend William Bentley, who found “1645” carved into a mantle. In the vicinity of High Street were myriad seventeenth-century houses, including the famous Palmer House drawn by Edwin Whitefield in the 1870s and the Pease and Price Bakery, captured by Frank Cousins in the 1890s. And then of course there is the 1665 Gedney House, certainly not as noted as these structures a century ago but now an illustrative study house owned by Historic New England, which has recently confirmed that it operated as a tavern operated by widow Mary Gedney during the Witch Trials. I think the development of a preservation mentality in Salem in the later nineteenth century was very much focused on this neighborhood, rather than more illustrious ones, because the progressive filling-in of the South River and Mill Pond and the coming of the railroad yards had transformed it into a marginal location over the century: “Knocker’s Hole,” named for the loud knocking of shipwrights’ mallets in the shipyards along the shore, was no more. In an “epitaph” for the recently-demolished Palmer House in the 1880s, a Salem antiquarian noted that the “old homestead” had been named for “the old pioneer ship-builder of Knocker’s Hole, Richard Palmer, who had grants among the first of those who wrought so lustily in the noisy shipyards about Creek Street.”

As the neighborhood became less central, it became more affordable of course, and so a succession of African-Americans who worked in the city’s many service industries took up residence there, from the 1820s into the 1870s: mariners gave way to cooks and hairdressers, chimney sweeps and cartmen. Clarissa Lawrence opened Salem’s first school for African-American children in the neighborhood as early as 1807, and letter settled at 8 High Street, which she passed down to her children. She founded the Colored Female Religious and Moral Society of Salem, which soon merged with the integrated Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society, for which she traveled to the third national convention of the Women’s Anti-Slavery Society in Philadelphia in 1839 (on a segregated train) to give her rousing speech about meeting the “monster prejudice everywhere.” In the 1840s, there were seventeen African-American households on High Street, and more on adjoining streets, including that of Mercy Morris, the sister of the pioneering Boston lawyer Robert Morris, on Creek Street. A decade later, the Fletcher family was living on nearby Pratt Street (likely the street to be most impacted negatively by this development), including Francis Fletcher, who advocated for the formation of an African-American Regiment during the opening years of the Civil War in correspondence to Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew, and then joined the Massachusetts 54th himself.

Clarissa Lawrence’s (of High Street) big speech, and Francis Fletcher of Pratt Street. Pratt Street runs right by the High Street playground, which is a designated site for one of the multi-storey buildings, so everything you see on the left above will be a big building. No more tree-filtered sun for this neighborhood.

Salem’s City Directories reflect a change after the Civil War: not so many of the familar names of African American families in the nighborhood, replaced by a succession of Irish and then Italian names. Between 1880 and the restrictive immigration act of 1824, 4 million Italians came to the US, part of a larger “Great Migration” during which 17 million Italians left their country after unification, most from the still-agriarian South rather than the more urban, and industrializing North. Massachusetts was a major destination, and Salem then offered employment in thriving textile and shoe factories, but all the sources I consulted indicated that Italian-Americans in Salem didn’t break into that more lucrative work in great numbers until World War I and after: there was a lot of ditch-digging for instrastructure projects and employment in various service industries before. It’s hard not to come to the conclusion that a community of Italian-Americans in Salem formed around the foundation of a church: St. Mary’s Italian Church, built on Margin Street by this community in the 1920s and the center of this neighborhood until closed by the Archdiocese of Boston in 2003. Stripped and subjected to iconoclastic destruction between intervening periods of Lifebridge ownership thereafter, it’s almost painful to read about the great reverence that this community held for this Church before, expressed in material ways by everything from an embroidered altar cloth to the tower bell, cast on-site in the Italian tradition. You can see the bell today right next to the Christopher Columbus Society, and I wonder where it will end up if this proposal goes forward.

Salem’s Italian-American Community in the 1920s and the building and embellishment of St. Mary’s Italian Church & the former church today: the Lifebridge/Harborlight plan seems to call for either outright demolition or facadism. One immediate consequence of the foundation of this Italian-American parish/neighborhood was the recognition of Salem’s Italian-Americans as such: before they were Italians, then they were Americans, celebrating July 4th with one of their traditional arts! Postcard of St. Mary’s from the SSU Dionne Collection.

The Great Salem Fire of 1914 was capricious in this area, taking out some streets and leaving (High!) others alone: when you walk around you will see a lot of buildings dating from 1915-1916 as rebuilding and building went together in the neighborhood. More damaging were two major “developments” of the 1930s along its northern boundary: the building of the Salem Post Office on Margin Street and the Holyoke Building resulted in the razing of at least 50 buildings for the Post Office alone. Samuel McIntire’s house on Summer Street was demolished to make way for the Holyoke in 1935, and this decade of depression and rampant destruction was also when venerable Creek Street was eradicated altogether.

X marks the spot of the future Post Office and Holyoke Building, along with curving Creek Street: many of the structures in this photograph would be demolished in the 1930s, including Samuel McIntire’s house on Summer Street (yellow arrow). Another arrow marks St. Mary’s Italian Church, SSU Archives and Special Collections. The Post Office rising, also SSU and charming Creek Street by Frank Cousins, Phillips Library Digital Collections via Digital Commonwealth.

When I look at the aerial photograph above I see the housing density that the leaders of the City of Salem crave now; it was destroyed by those 1930s developments in the name of progress. And while the Lifebridge/Harborlight proposal is driven by a more humane mission, it will inevitably impact the remainder of this still densely-settled and heritage-rich neighborhood in a negative manner just because of its size and scale. And it doesn’t have to be that way: there are other sites in Salem, far more appropriate sites which could accomodate the proposal’s various programming needs much more effectively.  The City should work with the developers to find a suitable site rather than to impose this project on a neighborhood which has stood the test of time.

A sunny Memorial Day in the Greater Endicott Street Neighborhood.


What the Judge Ate

And drank. Today I have a new source (to me anyway) for food history: the diary of a Colonial judge who rode the circuit, keeping accounts of his tavern food and drink along the way. I’ve been immersed in Salem diaries for the past few weeks, preparing a talk I’ve giving for Salem Ancestry Days and the Pickering House on April 23. I’ve got diaries from the seventeenth century to the twentieth, and Judge Benjamin Lynde Sr.’s is one of the earliest. He’s an early transatlantic man: born in Salem in 1666, he was sent to England by his parents in his teens for an education. I don’t know if the law was the plan, but he ended up reading it at the Middle Temple in London, and when he returned to Masssachusetts he became the first judge in the Massachusetts Superior Court of Judicature with formal legal training. He became chief justice in 1729 and his son and namesake succeeded him later in the century, serving as one of the justices in the Boston Massacre trial. I think Benjamin Lynde Jr. lived in more interesting times but I find Benjamin Lynde Sr. more interesting!

Two very different views of Judge Lynde: by the Pollard Limner, c. 1730 (Peabody Essex Museum) and John Smibert, c. 1731 (Huntingdon Library).

Given his legal training and experience, you would think that Judge Lynde would analyze some of his trials in his diary but that is not the case: very few legal concepts are discussed, although the occasional execution is referencd. He is more forthcoming about his travels and his tavern accounts, and he is tireless, riding the circuit from York, Maine (my hometown—then part of Massachusetts province), to Plymouth and Springfield. He rides out to the Cape, and sails out to Nantucket for a session. When he returns home to Salem for a spell he immediately goes out to his farm at Castle Hill and works the fields. He is hale and hearty and on the job into his seventies. Can we attribute this to his diet? Well, I don’t think so, but here it is.

Breakfast:  frequent “chocolate breakfasts” but sometimes the Judge liked heartier fare: cheese and bread, fowl, lobster in the summer! But you can’t underestimate the colonial consumption of chocolate, it was food, drink, stimulant, even medicine all in one. The most popular transatlantic recipe called for the chocolate (sold in brick form and ground or shaved) to be mixed with sugar, long pepper, cloves, aniseed, almonds and other nuts, and some sort of flower water, “the hotter it is drunke, the better it is.” On those days which were not commenced with a Chocolate Breakfast, he went for ale, particularly sage ale, and a few times he referenced “superior wine” in the morning. No mention of coffee; tea pops up once or twice.

Lunch: is never referenced by the Judge. It’s more of a nineteenth and twentieth century concept, although I have found references to it in the 18th: one English author admits that he “clapp’d a good Lunch of Bread into my Pocket” in 1707. But Judge Lynde was busy, or on the road. Maybe he did have something in his pocket, but he doesn’t tell us—or his diary. When he stops in the middle of the day, he would have more ale, cider, the occasional “lime punch” and some plum cake, sometimes with cheese, sometimes without.

Dinner: a regular range from simple to substantive. There are quite a few “milk suppers” and also those of “three eggs” but he also orders up large dinners: lamb, mutton, turkey, fowls, bread with cheese and “isle butter,” lobster. Sometimes he is very detailed: he enjoyed a dinner of “fine chowdered cod” on one occasion, on another he dined on “puff apple pie and cheese with a bottle of ale, an ear of corn, and sugar brandy dram.” He ate “minced veal” and “neats tongues,” beef tongues which were seasoned and dried to preserve them and used in a variety of recipes (I included one below). He really liked sauces for his fish, and his lobster, and plum cake, any time and anywhere. Gingerbread and apple tarts are also referenced, and all sorts of beverages: madeira, madeira, and more madeira, “green Fyal wine,” cherry and brandy drams, strong beer, cider, different ales, flips, “Florence” flasks (I’m not sure of what this is: general “Florence” was a reference to olive oil at this time, but this seems to be something he is drinking), various punches, and “sangaree,” a form of sangria. And rum of course. Judge Lynde’s detailed tavern accounts are clearly intended for his compensation by the provincial authorities, but when he is at home the only commodities he records purchasing are gallons of rum and madeira, plum cakes, and “bread with cider for the poor.” Presumably someone else was keeping his household accounts.

Francis Symonds advertised the “first” chocolate mill in Salem in 1771 (Essex Gazette, 17 December 1771) so I’m not sure where the Judge got his supply when he was at home earlier in the century; a recipe for Neats Tongue and Udders Alamode for a late 17th century cookbook at the Folger Library; the Lynde family tankard, Sothebys.

Thanks to my friend Alicia Diozzi for the title! She envisioned the Judge’s meals as an Instagram account.


Ladies’ Choice: the “Boy Mayor” of Salem

I know: why am I writing about a man on this first day of Women’s History Month? Arthur Howard was the short-termed 35th mayor of Salem, elected in late 1909 and serving through 1910. Despite the briefness of his term, he made a lot of news, before, during and after, and on more than one occasion the ladies of Salem came to his rescue and defense, excercising a form of political power (or political expression?) even before they were enfranchised a decade later. Howard himself is a captivating character, but his brief moment in Salem’s history also gives us an opportunity to see how women used their influence beyond/before the ballot box. I’ve had Salem mayors on my mind anyway: we’re presently in the midst of a special mayoral election here in Salem—something that hasn’t happened for quite some time—as our previous mayor has ascended to the office of Lieutenant Governor. Arthur Howard did not leave his mark on Salem in the same way that Mayor Driscoll did, but his story is interesting nonetheless.

Howard was born in New York City in 1870, the son of a prosperous jeweler and grandson of a Salem physician, whom he later described as a “classmate of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s.” He was based in New York for much of his early life, and he seems to have been a bit of a wastrel: spending his father’s money on lavish living and gambling, and writing the occasional little book (on cooking, Wall Street, and Shakespeare “for the unsophisticated”). He was married in 1893 but separated from his wife (and their child) a decade later. Somehow he ended up in Boston, and after reading about the closure of the venerable Salem Gazette in the summer of 1908, decided to make his way up to his ancestral city to save it from becoming a one-newspaper town. He had very little money, but he was undaunted: he operated the new Salem Despatch with the press of the old Gazette, and hired a reporter who told him all about the political “gangs” of Salem. To make a name for himself and his paper, Howard became a “reformer,” attacking the powers that were, the Salem police, the “liquor licensors,” and his competitor, the Salem Evening News. With about a year’s residence behind him, he decided to run for Mayor: a bit of a lark that became increasingly serious. Despite two libel suits brought by a Salem alderman and the editor of the News and a brief stint in jail, Howard was elected and installed as Mayor in January of 1910: he attributed his victory to his ability to speak French to the residents of Ward Five. He vowed to clean up the city of “graft,” to dedicate his mayoral salary of $1500 to its playgrounds, to reform the Police Department (even to the extent of appointing himself Chief of Police), and to identify and close down all the locations where liquor was sold illegally (referred to as either “speak-easies” or “kitchen barrooms”). Howard’s “meteoric” rise, ambitious reform agenda, and “straight talk” attracted considerable press coverage in the first few months of his administration, and he was often referred to as the “boy mayor” even though he was 40 years old. Among his most notable early acts was the transformation of Salem Common into a skating rink at his own expense and the appointment of two of Salem’s most prominent society women, the active social reformers Aroline Gove and Caroline Emmerton, to the Board of the Plummer Farm School of Reform for Boys. And then the honeymoon was over.

Boston Globe stories about Arthur Howard, December 1909-January 1910. I’ll have to do a follow-up on the coverage of Howard by the(non-digitized) Salem Evening News: after all, its editor was suing him for libel!

In March of 1910, the man who had furnished Howard with funds for his bond while awaiting his second libel trial withdrew said funds (he was a liquor broker, and not happy with Howard’s crackdown on the 18 speakeasies he had identified in Salem) and the penniless Mayor was faced with jail: the ladies of Salem came to his rescue with a three-day campaign that raised the required $800 in $1 increments. Some individuals, both male and female, offered to donate the entire amount, but a certain circle of ladies (led by Charlotte Fairfield, who was taking on Salem’s coal cartel at about the same time) pushed for an expression of wide, feminine support. This effort captured national headlines: a United Press story appeared in nearly every newspaper in the country on March 31 and April 1. A week later in the New York Times, Mayor Howard admitted that he “owed a great deal to the women of Salem” who were “helping the cause of pure city government.” He was acquitted of the libel charges later in the spring: good fortune that was countered by his declaration of bankruptcy at around the same time. By the summer, he was publishing “woe is me” (very bad) poetry in his paper, which also attracted headlines. I had no idea what to make of another Howard headline from the summer of 1910, referencing his proclamation for the compulsory attendance of all Salem children at a circus parade through downtown, until I read his obituary: apparently it was an attempt at sarcasm by a man who was tired of the disdain directed at his other edicts.

It was all bad news after that. Howard did not serve out the entirety of his two-year term: he 1911 he stepped down, ostensibly to run for Congress but that campaign seems to have gone nowhere. He decided to run for mayor again the next year, but was not elected. His newspaper office sustained two serious fires in 1912; he was assaulted on the street in 1913. There are references to campaigns for both lieutenant-governor and governor (on the Temperance ticket) which were not sustained. He was divorced in 1916, after which he ended up in Vermont and then New Haven, where his ex-wife happened to live. He died there in January of 1920, aged 51 and handsome as ever, from complications following an intestinal operation.

Boston Globe, January 14, 1920.


Christmas Shopping in Salem: the Macabre and the Merry

I try to shop local whenever possible: compared to decades past, it’s not difficult as Salem seems to have become as much of a shopping destination as a dining one. But you’ve got to pick a side: goth or gleeful? dark or bright? macabre or merry? Krampus or Santa Claus? Because of the ever-increasing exploitation of the tragedy of 1692 and its contrived connection to Halloween, “witchy” shops, an aesthetic very broadly defined in Salem, have proliferated over the past few years, reaching the level of self-sustaining demand. This article asserts that Salem has become an “alt fashion hotspot” for those seeking gothic garb, and explains the supply and the demand far better than I can! Maybe you can have it both ways—there are certainly some Salem shops that manage to merge the macabre and the merry quite creatively—but with a list consisting of babies and mostly middle-aged people, I’m squarely in the Merry Christmas camp.

It’s difficult to take photographs of shop windows in the daytime, but Witch City Consignment’s windows represent Salem Christmas shopping well: all is bright but there are looming monsters!

So let’s take a walk down Essex Street from the Witch House to the Hawthorne Hotel and I’ll point out some of my favorite shops along the way and on the side streets. Remember my “merry” bias: this is not an all-inclusive tour! I’m so down on witch-kitschiness that I’ve sworn not to patronize businesses that even have “Witch City” in the name, but I have to make occasional exceptions. I can’t resist Witch City Consignment: there’s so much to see and buy there, though generally I end up buying more things for myself rather than friends or family. I can’t resist the Salem stuff and right now I’m into “apothecariana” or whatever you call it: I love these turn-of-century gold-lablel pharmacy bottles and they are on sale! Witch City Wicks across the way has great candles: I’ve been buying them from the pre-brick-and-mortar days. This section of Essex Street is pretty gothy with the looming Vampfangs and the new Blackcraft, a southern California company which transformed a Colonial Revival bank building into an all-black emporium with a red witch descending from the center ceiling medallion. I skipped the former and went into the latter, for a very brief spell. There’s a lot of black in the store, but very little craft: strictly made in China as far as I could tell. On to Town House Square past the Christmas Tree in Lappin Park.

Witch City Consignment wares; nice to see the cheery windows of the Gulu-Gulu Cafe after I left Blackcraft.

I craved more craft and more merry after Blackcraft, so I headed right for a trio of shops on the corner of Washington and Front Streets owned by a very creative and entrepreneurial couple: the brand new Spruce Home, Oak+Moss, and Roost & Company. Much shopping ensued: these shops have something for everyone, and their wares are unique yet usable, tactile and textural, both decorative and utilitarian. I scooped up napkin rings and onesies, managed to resist all manner of cocktail culture, but had to have my very own merry & bright banner!

Spruce Home and Oak+Moss.

There is great shopping on Front Street (particularly at J.Mode for women’s clothing) which runs paralell to Essex on either side of Derby Square, but I did so well at the Spruce/Oak/Roost triumvirate that I headed straight for Emporium 32 on Central, before getting back on Essex. Here we have the curation of yet another creative couple, who have packed their tin-ceilinged shop with more whimsical wares, including nostalgic Christmas decorations, jewelry, prints, very visual books, barware and outerware. It’s a great accessory shop, and also a wonderful place to shop for men with hats, gloves, and shaving stuff galore. Plus it’s just a merry place, which always cheers you up, no matter the season (and they always have the best windows, in every season). At this point, I have to admit that I had my husband with me and we had nearly reached his shopping capacity, so it was time to break for lunch at the tavern at the Hawthorne Hotel (and drinks, of course: I had this delicious blood orange & bourbon cocktail, below). 1925, the latest venture from the Emporium entrepreneurs, will be opening in the corner shop of the Hotel in the new year.

Shopping at Emporium 32 and drinks (+ food and a pointsettia Christmas tree) at the Hawthorne Hotel.

With sustenance, my husband declared he could do two more shops and no more, so we set off for the Peabody Essex Museum shop and DiehlMarcus & Company, a lovely store located in a Bulfinch building almost across from Emporium 32 on Central Street. Even when I was furious with the PEM for removing the Phillips Library to Rowley (five years ago!) I still shopped in its lovely shop: its buyers have always found the best things. This particular year, the PEM shop seems to have embraced all things Salem, commissioning little wooden replicas of all of its buildings from The Cat’s Meow. I want them all and I couldn’t possibly choose, so I “settled” for some Ropes Mansion placemats, among other items. There’s no question that more damage would have been done if my husband wasn’t with me, and I will have to return to do some actual shopping for others. It does seem a bit odd to me to be featuring all these buildings that are not presently open to the public, particularly the empty Plummer Hall, long home to the Phillips Library, and its adjoining and also-dark Daland House: maybe these little houses are a sign of future openings?

All the PEM houses! The Museum even installed a ye olde Salem Christmas neighborhood in the windows of one of its empty storefronts on Essex Street.

After DiehlMarcus, my husband dropped out and I was on my own in the shops of Church Street and at Pickering Wharf: the former is a sparkling street of signs while the latter is looking a bit shopworn, I must admit (no fault of the shopowners but rather of their landlord, of course). But I always like to buy a few things at the Marble Faun at the Wharf, a book and gift shop for anglophiles and Hawthorne-philes (more books at the PEM shop and Wicked Good Books on Essex Street), and I knew that Joe’s Fish Prints had some cute coffee cups which would work for everyone on my list except the babies.

Candles (+ great tea and soap and lots of other things) at Diehl-Marcus, fish impressions at Pickering Wharf, very pretty hand-crafted jewelry at Jenni Stuart Fine Jewelry and more apothecary bottles at Hive and Forge/Red Antler Pharmacy. This combined and eclectic shop also features a lot of taxidermy, so be forewarned if that’s not your thing, but also the crafts of 30+ makers.

I realize that my shopping guide is a bit late and long, but I’d like to mention a few online local makers and sellers as well: please add more in the comments!

Kamillascrochet for cute hats, made very speedily.

JandJGraphicsLLC for merry and bright calendars with local scenes.

EVArtandDesign for merry and bright “windows of Salem” digital illustrations.

Chloesgoodstuff for cat drawings.

WidowsWeedsAntiques for interesting ephemera.

 


A Salem Ghost Story

Even though I recognize no connection between Halloween in general and the Salem Witch Trials (because #theywerenotwitches) and for that reason don’t particularly care for Salem Halloweens, I do like the holiday itself, especially its All Hallows Eve foundations. I like ghosts too, and ghost stories, especially if they are crafted elegantly and not just made up by Salem tour guides. For these reasons, I am always looking for a good Salem ghost story and last week I found one! It’s a humorous ghost story rather than a scary tale, written by Brander Matthews (1859-1929), the very prolific and pioneering professor of dramatic literature at Columbia University. “The Rival Ghosts” was first published in Harper’s Magazine in 1884 and then in Matthews’ Tales of Fantasy and Fact in 1896. Its plot features a Salem house haunted by two ghosts who duke it out before they enter into a spectral marriage, bringing peace to both the house and its owner, a Mr. Eliphalet Duncan, on the eve of his own marriage. Eliphalet Duncan is a young New York lawyer, of Scotch and Yankee stock, as his father had come over from Scotland and married a girl from an old Salem family, dating back to the days of the Witch Trials of course. Both his parents died when Eliphalet was quite young, leaving him two legacies: a haunted Salem house and (eventually) a Scottish title. The Salem house is described as “little” and dates back to the seventeenth century, so I’m picturing it as either the Narbonne House or the John Ward House, both of which I gothicized a bit. The Crowninshield-Bentley House might be a bit late but I’ll throw it in there too: “The Rival Ghosts” is not illustrated in either of its editions, but it seems to be calling out for some imagery!

The Narbonne House of the Salem Maritime National Historic Site; John Ward and Crowninshield-Bently Houses, Peabody Essex Museum.

The Salem ghost never appears to the master of the house, but visitors would see and hear its presence on the second day of their stay, when it became determined to drive them away. So Eliphalet was a bit isolated in his little old Salem house, which became even more unwelcoming after he received word that his Scottish cousin had died, leaving him with the family title. Apparently the title came with a ghost, who was to attend his lord at all times and places, and so the Scottish Ghost was suddenly in Salem. Neither ghost was threatening to the new Lord Duncan, but they clearly hated each other, and caused quite a ruckus in his little house: wailing, rapping, throwing things, and playing a variety of musical instruments. He was determined to find out more about them in order to get rid of them, so that he might have peace and visitors in Salem. Towards that aim he invited an old friend to the house, a very brave friend with whom he had fought in the Civil War: his comrade left on day three of what was supposed to be a week’s stay, driven away by the the cacaphony of the rival ghosts. A very frustrated Eliphalet fled as well, to the White Mountains, accompanied by the personal Scottish Ghost and leaving the House Ghost in Salem: “spooks can’t quarrel when they are a hundred miles apart any more than men can,” our narrator observes.

Window of Quaker Meeting House, Salem, Peabody Essex Museum.

On the top of Mount Washington (I guess the cog railway had been built), Eliphalet met the love of his life, the sister of a former classmate who was he immediately determined to marry: Miss Kitty Sutton. A long courtship and engagement ensued, during which he told her about the ghosts. She expressed great interest in his family house, but wanted it cleared of spectres, so Eliphalet returned to Salem on a mission. He pleaded with the ghosts to vacate and managed to enter into a dialogue with them, during which it was revealed that the House Ghost was a woman! She had been murdered by her husband back in seventeenth-century Salem and had lingered ever since. Eliphalet suggested a spectral marriage to give them all some domestic peace, but the ghosts protested that there was too much of an age difference (the House Ghost was about 200 years old, while the Scottish Ghost claimed to be 450 years old) before finally consenting. There followed a double wedding, of ghosts and humans, and off the former went, leaving the little old Salem house to the new Mr. and Mrs. (Lord and Lady) Duncan. While it’s not entirely clear how their marriage led the ghosts to vacate, it’s a nice ending to a charming tale, full of spirited negotiations! Another discovery this past week: the old house interiors paintings of the Russian-American artist Morris Kantor (1896-1974), painted in 1930-31 after a summer tour of visiting historic houses. Maybe it was just the timing of these twin discoveries, but they seem like perfect atmostpheric illustrations for “The Rival Ghosts,” particularly this first one: The Haunted House. 

Morris Kantor, The Haunted House (1930), Art Institute of Chicago; Still Life (1931), Artemis Gallery; Interior (1931), Smithsonian American Art Museum.


Open House in Essex County

It occurred to me the other day that during the long life of this blog I have never spotlighted Trails and Sails, a calendar of dedicated events and openings throughout Essex County in September organized by the Essex National Heritage Area. I feel remiss; I have friends and former students who work for Essex Heritage, and I myself am a commissioner! These folks know what heritage is and are able to discern it from tourism, and so they connect and cast light on institutions and areas which represent this region’s cultural and material legacy in meaningful ways. Trails and Sails is a 10-day extravaganza of free events throughout our region, beginning next weekend. I’ve picked my events, and my participation will pretty much revolve around visiting old buildings, but don’t let my game plan (mis-) inform yours: there are plenty of events that involve much more outside action like walking, paddling, biking, apple-picking, cider-making, birding, and even “forest bathing” (whatever that is) right here in Salem. So go to the website, or download the digital guide, and chart your course. Note that many (but not all) events and openings are recurring and some require reservations.

Saturday, September 17I’ve got to get into the glorious Grand Army of the Republic Hall in Lynn, so that will be my first stop. I’ve wanted to see this hall for about five years. From Lynn, I’ll drive over to Danvers to tour the 1670 Judge Samuel Holten House, another building which I’ve long admired and never been inside. Same with the Platts-Bradstreet House in Rowley, so that’s next, then back to Salem for a walking tour of Charlotte’s (Forten) Salem by History Alive, Inc.

Lynn’s GAR Hall, two seventeenth-century houses, and Charlotte Forten about to lead us around Salem!

Sunday, September 18: I know that I will have to do some lecture and presentation prep on this day but I am still going to the Open House at the Rocks Village Handtub Building and Toll House Museum on the Merrimack as I love that building and (again) have never been inside. I might as well go to the Brocklebank Museum on Georgetown as it’s on the way home.

Rocks Village,Georgetown, and the Jackman-Willet House in Newbury.

The following week, unfortunately, is super busy and I have my own presentation on Saturday the 24th, so that leaves Sunday the 25th, when I’ll go up to Newbury and see the seventeenth-century Jackman-Willet House and anything else that is happening in that part of the county. I feel like I’m missing out on some great events, particularly Fletcher Steele and Frederick Law Olmsted tours and a view of Gloucester from its grandiose city hall. But there’s always next year: Trails and Sails is an established tradition. As I was looking at the schedule, thinking about where I would like to go, and reflecting upon my past summer, it was just houses, houses, houses! I love visiting old open houses, but I think I must be an outlier among heritage tourists today. I’ve been talking to a few museum professionals over the summer, and they all tell me that house museums just aren’t as popular as they used to be. This might explain why so many in Salem are closed, including all of the Peabody Essex Museum’s houses save the Ropes Mansion and Salem Maritime’s Derby House (well, save the ell). But everywhere I have gone this summer—in New York, and all the New England states—there have been good-sized parties touring houses with me so it makes me feel like there are still some old-house afficionados out there! An anecdotal view, I know, but a hopeful one. Perhaps I should finally admit, however, that my essential childhood bedside book, Samuel Chamberlain’s Open House in New England, might have been a bit odd.


The Power of Juxtaposition

The Peabody Essex Museum has opened a new integrated exhibit of items from its American and Native American collections entitled On This Ground: Being and Belonging in America and I made my first visit last weekend. This is an “ongoing” exhibition, which I guess means permanent, and I’m glad it is going to be on view for some time as it offers quite a lot to take in and think about: there are new things to see but even familiar items are cast in a new light through their arrangement. While the exhibition explores various themes relating to “being and belonging in America” its overall curation is what captivated me on this first viewing: it seemed as if there were a succession of cascading vignettes crafted from the artful juxtaposition of both like and unlike objects. Juxtaposition is a powerful way to engage and to teach: I use contrast and comparison quite a bit in class but I wouldn’t call my efforts artful. In contrast, On This Ground’s presentations cross genres and time very fluidly, right from the beginning when a video featuring Elizabeth Solomon, a member of the Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag, is contrasted with the original Massachusetts Bay Charter of 1628-29 through which King Charles I claimed the land of her ancestors (I have to say that the Charter actually belongs to the Salem Athenaeum, which placed it in storage at the Essex Institute long ago; the PEM seemed to develop an interest in exhibiting the Charter only when the Athenaeum was seriously considering selling it in 2006, so it’s great to see it as one of the opening exhibits of this important new exhibition.)

The juxtapositions are not always so jarring: each culture gets the opportunity to tell its own stories as they cycle through history, as exhibit text proclaims that “history is not linear” repeatedly. Then there is convergence, but there are intra-cultural juxtapositions too: I particularly liked the contrast of proximity between the works of two of Salem’s most well-known sculptors, William Wetmore Story (Marguerite) and Louise Lander (Evangeline), as the latter was explicitly slandered by the former. And the Hawthornes are in close proximity, as they also shut their doors to Miss Lander. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a work of Salem’s even more famous “people’s sculptor,” John Rogers, in real life (clay), so it was great to see The Wounded Scout: its sentimentality was a good match for what I think is a new acquisition by the PEM (in honor of recently-retired curator Dean Lahikainen), Tompkins Harrison Matteson’s The Pillory Scene from The Scarlet Letter (chap. 12, p. 185-188), 1860.

But there are also some starker contrasts which are illuminating: with context but also aesthetically, including two “political teapots” placed side by side (“Stamp Act Repeal’d, 1760s & Nuclear Nuts Teapot Variation #13 by Richard T. Notkin, 2001), a very fancy dressing table paired with some equally fancy boots, and so many aligned portraits. The internal “windows” of the gallery space open up some interesting juxtapositions as well.

There were two aspects of the exhibition that remain rather “unsettled” in my mind, one very general and the other very particular. So of course I have to go back and settle them! It seemed to me as if the Native American objects came from a much broader geographic region, but that just might be my parochial perspective. And once again (for the 99,000th time) I am troubled by the Salem Witch Trials. I was really excited when I read the thematic label for the “Heroes & Histories” section of the exhibit, especially the opening line if the same stories are repeatedly told, whose stories are we missing? That’s Salem in a nutshell: we just keep telling the same story! So I kept going, and there’s the same old story of the Salem Witch Trials in (very familiar; TOO familiar) images, objects and texts. I just don’t understand how a(nother) Tompkins Harrison Matteson painting represents a “new way of looking at the past.” The most recent historiography of the Salem Witch Trials has focused on Salem as a “frontier” society: wouldn’t this be a relevant perspective to explore here?

This was just one discordant corner of this sweeping exhibition, which otherwise struck a pitch-perfect balance of the familiar and the new for me. The two paintings which captured my attention for the longest time were one which I was quite familiar with (Alvan Fisher’s Salem from Gallows Hill, 1818) and one which was brand-new to me (Bahareh and Farzaneh Safarani’s Twilight Reincarnation, 2018). I like to orient myself in the past through the former, while the latter simply delighted me with its fleeting window shadows, so much so that I forgot to contextualize the painting altogether.

On This Ground: Being and Belonging in America: ongoing at the Peabody Essex Museum.


In the Thick of It

This weekend is the annual commemoration/celebration of Leslie’s Retreat, a pre-Revolutionary event which could have marked the beginning of the American Revolution, if not for the patience, restraint, and diplomacy of participants on both sides, and one man in particular. On February 26, 1775, British Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Leslie and 240 soldiers of the 64th Regiment, acting upon the orders of General Thomas Gage, landed in Marblehead and began marching to Salem in pursuit of a rumored store of cannon. This was a Sunday, and thus “the Sabbath was disturbed” in both Marblehead and Salem, as patriots from the former town rode ahead and warned residents of the latter. When the British arrived, a stand-off ensued between the assembled crowd and the soldiers, during which the drawbridge across the North River was raised, enabling the not-so-secret cannon on the other side to be carried on field carriages out of town. A frustrated Colonel Leslie was allowed to march his troops across the bridge after the cannon had left the scene, therefore fulfilling his orders from General Gage. Then he and his troops retreated back to Marblehead and their ship, and sailed back to Boston. Things were a little hotter than I am depicting in this brief summary, but fortunately cooler heads prevailed, among them that of the Reverend Thomas Barnard Jr., the minister of Salem’s North Church, which was very much in the thick of things. I’m going to let Edwin Monroe Bacon, author of Historic Pilgrimages in New England (1898) set the scene.

A profile portrait of the Reverend Thomas Barnard Jr. (1748-1814) which looks quite similar to that of his father, the Reverend Thomas Barnard Sr. (1716-1776), above, Skinner Auctions.

I like this description because it conveys a sense of place. Just three years earlier, the North Church had separated from Salem’s First Church and constructed its first meeting house on the corner of Lynde and North Streets, not far from the river and the bridge (and the cannon). Reverend Barnard Jr., the peacemaker of “Leslie’s Retreat,” was actually the cause of the schism: his appointment following his father’s illness divided the congregation. As we can read above, the British soldiers marched past the “old First Church” in Town House Square towards the North Church, where a large crowd had assembled along with their young pastor, whose “counsel prevailed” that late afternoon. This North Church was ephemeral, only in service until 1835 when the congregation built a new and fashionable Gothic Revival meeting house on Essex Street, which became the present First Church after the schism was ended in 1923. The annual commemorations of Leslie’s Retreat take place in and around this church, with good reason, but I wish the old North Church was still standing: its clearly Colonial stature could lend some contemporary ambiance to the proceedings. But it is long gone, replaced first by a grand Victorian house, and then by the parking lot of the adjacent Methodist Church. But what happened to its clock?

“First Meeting House of North Church” by Thomas Davidson (not sure of source, likely the Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum, but I found it in the November 23, 1942 issue of Life Magazine); George Francis Dow, Old Wood Engravings, Views and Buildings of Essex County (1908): with caption: “The North Meeting House, Salem, Built in 1772 at what is now the Corner of North and Lynde Streets, Abandoned for Religious Purposes in 1835 and taken down about 1860. Engraved in 1873 after a Drawing made by Dr. George A. Perkins.” Frank Cousins photograph of Lynde and North Streets, 1890s, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum via Digital Commonwealth.

BELOW: Before Salem became Witch-central, Leslie’s Retreat was THE big historic story, especially for children, so there’s several YA books which feature it. I was trying to get that sense of place, running-through-the-snow-on-a- cold-winter-afternoon-through-close-Colonial-streets perspective in this post, and these illustrations by Lynn Ward from Jean Fritz’s Early Thunder (1967) come close. My favorite contemporary account of Leslie’s Retreat is actually from a boy, Samuel Gray, which is recounted in this post from J.L. Bell’s wonderful blog, Boston 1775. While you’re there, you should read all of Bell’s posts on Leslie’s Retreat as he is the absolute authority (and he doesn’t quite trust all of Gray’s details).

Illustrations by Lynn Ward from Jean Fritz’s Early Thunder (1967), set in Salem in 1774-1775.


Candy Land

In my sweetest dreams Salem is Candy Land rather than Witch City, and it certainly has the heritage to claim that title (although Candy Land was a Milton Bradley game rather than a Parker Brothers production.) There are of course the famous Gibralters and Black Jacks, still sold at the Ye Olde Pepper Candy Company on Derby Street, America’s oldest candy company. Mrs. Spencer sold her hard candy from a horse-driven carriage, and her primary competition seems to have been the stationary confectioner John Simon, whose shop was stocked with a variety of syrups and sweets, everything from anise drops to peppermint. He was always announcing his “removal” to Boston but somehow never made the move. Before the later nineteenth century, however, most confectionary item were not sold by single confectioners, but rather by grocers and apothecaries, and their lists of available sweets became longer and longer with every decade. Nourse’s Fruit Store on Washington Street sold “calves foot jelly candy, strawberry jelly candy, sherbet candy, gum jelly drops, and “East India Red Rock Candy” and all sorts of candies made with the New England’s favorite ingredient, molasses. Confections got a bit softer in the later nineteenth century, when cream candies became popular, and then comes Chocolate!

The Theodore Metcalf Company, one of Boston’s most successful apothecaries, published a beautiful pamphlet on gibralters and black jacks but these were SALEM candies; Nourse’s advertisement, Salem Observer 4 November 1865; Trade cards illustrate the softer trend in confectionary consumption.

The decline of hard candy and the rise of chocolate seems to be a major trend, but candy customers still loved variety. The most successful, and very long-running, confectionary business in twentieth-century Salem was the “Palace of Sweets” on Essex Street, from which the Moustakis Brothers sold their “mastermade” (a patented term) confections. This business was in operation from 1905 until 1968, and after the Taft Summer White House in Beverly placed a series of larger orders it received—and marketed—the presidential seal of approval.

Moustakis Brothers’ Menu from the digital archives of the Culinary Institute of Technology.

Salem is still candy central, in fact two confectionary shops opened up just this past year: Curly Girl Candy Shop on Washington Street and the Chocolate Pantry on Derby, not far from Ye Olde Pepper Candy Company further down the street. And then there is the venerable and amazing Harbor Sweets, the manufacturers of my very favorite candy, Sweet Sloops. I don’t even really have a sweet tooth, and if I am going to indulge I prefer jelly beans to chocolates, but bring a box of Sweet Sloops into the house and I will not rest until they are gone!

The House of the Seven Gables and Ye Olde Pepper Candy Company sponsored the ice sculpture of Mrs. Spencer’s horse and carriage for the Salem’s So Sweet festival this past weekend: its position made it difficult to photograph but it’s much bigger than it appears in this photo! My beloved Sweet Sloops, available at Harbor Sweets on Leavitt Street in Salem as well as lots of other retailers.


The Era of Excessive Mourning

I’m giving a talk at the end of the month on the impact of the Reformation on the theology of death and practice of mourning, on both sides of the Atlantic in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I’ve got the former down, but I’m a bit confused by the latter, and particularly by the rise of large, elaborate funerals from the later seventeenth century. Puritans in both old and New England modeled their mourning on the Calvinist disdain for the Catholic culture of death, with its emphasis on transcendent saints, purgatory, prayers, rituals, and material remembrance. As there was nothing that the living could do to facilitate the passage of the deceased into heaven, funerals should be short and simple, and excessive monuments could easily trespass into the territory of idolatry. That’s the ideal, but was it the reality? The most straightforward directive for funerals, the Directory of Publick Worship (1647) of the Westminster Assembly charged with reforming the Church in the midst of the English Revolution, asserted that because the custom of kneeling down, and praying by or towards the dead corpse, and other such usages, in the place where it lies before it be carried to burial, are superstitious; and for that praying, reading, and singing, both in going to and at the grave, have been grossly abused, are no way beneficial to the dead, and have proved many ways hurtful to the living; therefore let all such things be laid aside on the one hand, and on the other that the Christian friends, which accompany the dead body to the place appointed for publick burial, do apply themselves to meditations and conferences suitable to the occasion and that the minister, as upon other occasions, so at this time, if he be present, may put them in remembrance of their duty. Meditations? I get that, but conferences could clearly be held in the pub after the burial. The Directory’s final say on funerals, that this shall not extend to deny any civil respects or deferences at the burial, suitable to the rank and condition of the party deceased, while he was living relays what happened: as the religious significance of the funeral was lessened, their social roles increased, as an expression of the deceased (and their families) status in society. Monument comes to mean something a little more…..mobile.

Every little detail of the funeral of Robert Devereux, the 3rd Earl of Essex and first General and Commander of the Parliamentarian Army, is included in this 1646 broadside.

Essentially what happened is that funerals became more for the living than for the dead. Perhaps they always were, to some extent, but the Reformation extended that extent considerably. Over the course of the seventeenth century, we can see this consequence in print, in broadsides publishing funeral sermons and elegies, as well as the new funeral custom: the issuing of funeral “tickets”.

A Selection of Funeral Tickets from the British Museum.

Across the pond in British America, there weren’t many funeral tickets, but there were lots of printed elegies, and lots of gifts dispersed to the (presumably invited) mourners by the family of the deceased: the traditional ring, the occasional “scarf”, and gloves, so many gloves. The custom of gifting the minister and pallbearers with white gloves seems to have been extended to include everyone who attended the funerals of former members of wealthy New England families in the first half of the eighteenth century: the family of Andrew Faneuil dispensed 4000 pairs of gloves to mourners in 1738! This custom was burdensome to many families, obviously, and the Massachusetts General Court passed “An Act to Retrench the Extraordinary Expence in Funerals” in 1742, ordering that “no scarves, gloves (except six pair to the Bearers, and one pair to each Minister of the Church or Congregation where any deceased person belongs), wine, rum, rings shall be allowed at any Funeral, upon the Penalty of Fifty Pounds,” an extravagant fine for extravagant funerals! As you can see below, Charles Apthorp’s Boston funeral reverted to past practice in 1758 after the act ran out, as his family distributed 95 pairs of gloves to attendant mourners. The attempts of local and provincial governments to regulate “excessive mourning” in the eighteenth century illustrate another consequence of the Reformation: the so-called “secularization of the parish”:  it was the state, or the assembly, or the town, which regulated funeral practices, not the Church. In his multi-volume History of Salem, Massachusetts (1924), Sidney Perley reports that in 1697, the town’s selectmen established rules about both the ringing of bells and the order of processions for funerals: ministers had no say.

Major Thomas Leonard’s funeral elegy, Library of Congress; a mourning ring for Edward Kitchen of Salem, Yale University Art Gallery; Announcement of the 1742 Act; Charles Apthorp portrait by Robert Feke (Cleveland Museum of Art) and a list of the 95 gloves dispensed by his family on the occasion of his 1737 funeral, King’s Chapel.

I had no idea that “excessive mourning” was such a conspicuous issue in colonial British America, so was particularly surprised to see the First Continental Congress address it by including elaborate funerals with other forms of “expensive” diversions” which were prohibited: just a black ribbon or crepe armband or necklace, and no funeral gifts of scarfs and gloves. After the Revolution, elaborate funerals must have returned, and so did the penalty system: the selectmen of Boston and Salem issued very detailed and stern warnings against excessive funeral gifts and dress in 1788 in an attempt to encourage an “economical plan of mourning.” By this time, I think the era of elaborate funerals was coming to an end, only to be revived and extended by the Victorians, of course. When Mary Ball Washington died in the following year, newspapers across the new country lauded the first President’s restrained mourning for his mother, as “the heart that mourns need no external sign to speak the agony that preys within.”

The size and customs of funerals are just one avenue into this big topic, but I’m wondering if these showy funerals represent the triumph of a a transatlantic Anglicanism over Puritanism, among other themes and trends. On a more material level, I’m also wondering if coffins became more common in North America, land of a million forests, than still-shrouding Britain in this period! Fortunately I’m giving this talk with my colleague Tad Baker, an expert on colonial material culture (as well as the Witch Trials and myriad other topics), so he can speak to the issue and other details of the built landscape of the Old Burying Point on Charter Street in Salem, the sponsor of our event. I’ve got some things to say about early modern European cemeteries, but he has a lot more expertise in this realm.

Here’s the link to our talk, “The Protestant and Puritan Way of Death,” for the Charter Street Welcome Center: https://www.facebook.com/events/1275084503014361/

And here are some great resources—I’ve got to continue brushing up on this topic myself so I welcome more suggestions!

Craig M. Koslofsky, The Reformation of the Dead: Death and Ritual in early modern Germany, 1450-1700.

Thomas W. Laqueur, The Work of the Dead. A Cultural History of Mortal Remains. 

Peter Marshall, Beliefs and the Dead in Reformation England 

Steven C. Bullock, “Often Concerned in Funerals:” Ritual, Material Culture, and the Large Funeral in the Age of Samuel Sewall” New Views of New England: Studies in Material and Visual Culture, 1680-1830, eds. Martha J. McNamara and Georgia Barnhill (2012: available here).

Steven C. Bullock and Sheila McIntyre, “The Handsome Tokens of a Funeral: Glove-Giving and the Large Funeral in Eighteenth-Century New England,” William and Mary Quarterly 69 (April 2012).


%d bloggers like this: