Cotton Mather and the Salem Witch Trials: Separating Fact from Fiction Marilynne Roach, Rachel Christ-Doane, and Tricia Peone

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Date: August 8 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Cotton Mather is perhaps most famous for his role in the Salem witch trials. He was also the minister at Boston’s North Church (Second Church) and a prolific writer with a transatlantic audience. Mather has often been portrayed as an instigator of the trials and a witch hunter. But what exactly did he do, and why has he been such a polarizing figure?

Join us for a virtual roundtable discussion with Salem witch trials historian Marilynne Roach (author of The Salem Witch Trials and Six Women of Salem), Rachel Christ-Doane (Director of Education at the Salem Witch Museum), and Tricia Peone (Project Director of New England’s Hidden Histories at the Congregational Library & Archives).

The discussion will focus on Cotton Mather’s writings about witchcraft, misconceptions about his role in the Salem witch trials, and his legacy today.

The event is free to all, but registration is required via this link:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about the webinar.

For more information, please email [email protected].



Marilynne Roach is a writer, researcher, illustrator, and lecturer who has so far written nine books on topics ranging from Thoreau at Walden to the Salem witchcraft trials. She was an associate editor on the definitive Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt and a member of the Gallows Hill Project that proved the correct location of the 1692 hangings (included in Archaeology Magazine’s list of the world’s ten most important discoveries of 2016). Roach’s The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege is considered the bible of the Salem witch trials.

Rachel Christ-Doane is the Director of Education at the Salem Witch Museum. She holds a BA in History from Clark University and MA in History and Museum Studies from Tufts University. As Director of Education she trains museum docents, works with students and teachers, creates educational programming, oversees exhibit curation, and engages in a range of research. Her recent publications include, “The Salem Witch Trials Memorial: Finding Humanity in Tragedy” (Smithsonian Folklife, 2022) and “The Untold Story of Dorothy Good, Salem’s Youngest Accused Witch” (American Ancestors, 2023).

Tricia Peone is the Project Director of New England’s Hidden Histories at the Congregational Library & Archives. She previously worked at Historic New England, where she was a research scholar for the Recovering New England’s Voices project. She has also previously worked as a university lecturer teaching classes on the Salem witch trials, early New England, and public history, and as a researcher for cultural heritage organizations. Her scholarship focuses on early modern magic and witchcraft and her work on these subjects has appeared in journals, books, blogs, and on radio and television. She holds a PhD in history from the University of New Hampshire with a specialization in the early modern Atlantic world and history of science.


August 8
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Salem Witch Museum
Congregational Library and Archives


Virtual Event