Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Leading Early American Scholarship Since 1943

William and Mary Quarterly

Third Series, Volume LXV
July 2008

Digital Projects

“Salem Possessed in Retrospect,”

By Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum

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Boyer, Figure 3

Figure IV

The first effort by Boyer and Nissenbaum to map the landholdings of Salem Villagers who signed either the pro-Parris petition or the anti-Parris petition of 1695, which they discovered in April 1970 in the manuscript records of the First Church of Danvers. In July, having located the petition signers’ landholdings on nine separate maps of Salem Village real-estate holdings first published in the 1910s, the authors arranged photocopies of the nine maps on the floor to create a complete map of the village. Sensing something of a eureka moment as a striking geographic pattern emerged, they signed and dated this sketch. The final version of this map, titled “Land Ownership and Factionalism: Salem Village in 1695,” appears on page 85 of Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft (Cambridge, Mass., 1974).