Historians Review: Mary Beth Norton

Dr. Mary Beth Norton is best known for her work on the Salem witchcraft trials in In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692, as well as for her work on women during the revolutionary period, Liberty’s Daughters.

Her specialty is particularly women’s history in early American history. She is a professor of history at Cornell University. Her doctoral thesis won the Allan Nevins prize in 1970 for the best doctoral thesis in American history, and was later published as the book The British- Americans, which is cited in the bibliography for chapter 8 on p. 171.

Here is a link to her discussing her work on Salem: http://www.news.cornell.edu/chronicle/02/12.12.02/Norton-witch_book.html. This article gives a fascinating look into a historian’s mind and interests on a fascinating subject.

This is a link to an interview which you can also listen to regarding the craft of gender history: http://www.albany.edu/jmmh/vol3/norton/norton.html

Both interviews outline several of her basic theses regarding the history of women in the colonial era, and this information is very helpful in answering questions regarding social history on FRQs and DBQs. This has been a focus several times in the last few years, so you should make sure you familiarize yourself with her work.

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