William Frederick Poole - Cotton Mather and Salem Witchcraft (2.6 MB)
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Nearly two centuries have passed away since the saddest tragedy of early New England history was enacted at Salem and Salem Village. Instead of fading out from the memory of men, the incidents of Salem Witchcraft are receiving more attention to-day than at any former period. Tlie fact of its being the last great exhibition of a superstition which had cursed humanity for thousands of years, and that every incident connected with it has been preserved in the form of record, deposition, or narrative, impai*ts to it a peculiar i... More >>>
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Nearly two centuries have passed away since the saddest tragedy of early New England history was enacted at Salem and Salem Village. Instead of fading out from the memory of men, the incidents of Salem Witchcraft are receiving more attention to-day than at any former period. Tlie fact of its being the last great exhibition of a superstition which had cursed humanity for thousands of years, and that every incident connected with it has been preserved in the form of record, deposition, or narrative, impai*ts to it a peculiar interest, and one which will be permanent. It is not as a record of horrors, but as a field of psychological study, that the subject will retain its hold on the minds of men. More victims than suffered at Salem were hurried to the gallows by witchcraft, year after year, in a single county of England, during the seventeenth century but the details of English trials, then so common, were generally not thought worth preserving. Probably as much authentic and reliable information resi)ecting the Salem proceedings is extant as of the trials of the thirty thousand victims who suffered from the same cause in England.
How did the Salem delusion originate ? 'WHio was resiwnsible for it ? Was it wholly the result of fraud and deception, or were there psychological phenomena attending it which have never been explained ? Is there any resemblance between the proceedings of the " afflicted children" of Salem Village and modem spiritual manifestations ? Were the clergy of New England, or any other profession or class in the commmiity, esiHScially implicated in it ? Any one of these questions affords a theme for discussion. We propose, however, to i^eview the incidents of this fearful tragedy for the purpose of re-examining the historical evidence on which, in the i)opular estimation, so large a portion of the culpability for those executions has been laid upon one individual.
William Frederick Poole (24 December 1821, Salem, Massachusetts - 1 March 1894) was an American bibliographer and librarian.
William Frederick Poole graduated from Yale University in 1849, where he assisted John Edmands, who was a student at the Brothers in Unity Library. Poole succeeded Edmands' position at the library and in 1848, while still a student, published his own 154-page index to periodical literature. A 524-page edition was published in 1853, and a third 1469-page edition in 1882.
William Frederick Poole was assistant librarian of the Boston Athenaeum in 1851, and in 1852 became librarian of the Boston Mercantile Library. From 1856 to 1869 he was librarian of the Boston Athenaeum, where he inspired the careers of Charles Evans, William I. Fletcher, and Caroline Hewins. Poole was a pioneer in the public library movement.
He was the first librarian of the Cincinnati Public Library from 1869 to 1873, where he successfully introduced the idea of opening the library on Sundays, and the first librarian of the Chicago Public Library from 1873 to 1887. Poole built the initial Chicago collection in part through persuading friends in the academic community across the United States to donate volumes. It did not hurt that his appeal suggested many books had perished in the great Chicago fire of 1871, even though the disaster had occurred two years before the city had begun a library.
Poole capped his career as librarian of the Newberry Library, a private research institution, from 1887 to 1894. Poole designed the building, which still stands at 60 West Walton Street. While he was a moving force in the modern library movement, Poole's ideas ultimately put him on the wrong side of history. Poole believed each collection was unique and that librarians should design a building and catalogue system to fit his collection. The name of his contemporary, Melville Dewey, is attached to the idea of standardizing classification. Poole served as president of the American Library Association, and also as president of the American Historical Association.
William Frederick Poole's Works:
- An alphabetical index to subjects, treated in the reviews, and other periodicals, to which no indexes have been published, 1848
- An index to periodical literature, 1853
- Cotton Mather and Salem Witchcraft, 1869
- Anti-slavery opinions before the year 1800, 1873
- The ordinance of 1787, and Dr. Manasseh Cutler as an agent in its formation, 1876
- Poole's Index to Periodical Literature, 1888
- Columbus and the Founding of the New World, 1892