tv Salems Witch City Notoriety CSPAN October 31, 2018 10:30pm-12:01am EDT
>> jodi pico is our guest on in- depth fiction addition. our live call-in program on sunday at noon eastern. her most recent book is a spark of light. other books include small great things, the storyteller, lone wolf +20 other novels. she's written five issues of the wonder woman comic books for dc comics. watch with jodi pico, live on sunday and watch next month when brad meltzer will be our guest on book tv on c-span two. >> up next on american history tv, historians discuss out salem massachusetts became known by tourists as though which city and whether commercialism and popular culture have dimmed salem's tragic history. this is an hour and a half.
>> good afternoon. let's get started. i'm thad baker, i like to welcome you back to the afternoon session of salem's trials. at one point it was almost the title of my book. i was pleased that it would be a good title for this day. throughout the tire -- the trials, as we all know from 1692, those who live and work and hang out around salem, there are other trials related to the trial and, to some degree that's what we are talking about this afternoon in the sessions on which city and anarchy known speech.
the mayor and her staff and everyone in the city of salem has been incredibly supportive. when we first came forward as a member of the team and told her that we had the execution site, i didn't know what the response would be and some were saying, wow, how will we raise money for the memorial and what do we do and, from the moment we went with the mayor and dominic, everyone said don't worry folks, the city is doing this, this is our responsibility, and
i think, it is hopefully the beginning of a new way of thinking about the past around here. so, on that note, we want to look back a little bit now and talk about the creation of which city. this is something we all know every halloween and year-round. to particularly deal with these and we have a wonderful panel of good friends and colleagues who have thought long and hard about this and we will ask them to make introductory thoughts and then throw out a question or two. we really want them to have a free ranging discussion with the audience. i will first introduce the speakers and then we can have a go intern. starting at the far end, professor of geography at salem
state university. he spent a lot of time looking and thinking about salem as a place and, i will say that steve is my first encounter, backing into each other on a halloween in salem as we both were madly taking pictures and doing the same thing for years as scholars document the amazing phenomenon salem in halloween. maybe it's as close to mardi gras as you can get in the north, i highly recommend from the fried dough in the amazing landscape. next to ces is bethany james, an associate professor at salem state, a public historian and expert in educational history. she has also spent a lot of work in local history looking at salem and the rich fast and
in many ways she's out of time, but she really is an expert and is a renowned author and scholar who is one of the leading experts in the country on the teaching and interpretation of museums on slavery. we have asked her to put your thinking cap on about a troubled part of our past, not slavery but how we interpret the salem witch trials. next in line is our department chair, donna seger who you've met before. donna is the heart and soul behind today's event and in many ways, everything having to do with salem and its rich history and a dishing to being a expert, she teaches courses on the european witchhunts and also has an amazing blog called streets of salem, where she regularly blogs about all things having to do with salem's history. in fact, i joked with her and
said she could just read her blog entries with some of the amazing things she's hit on on which city. last but not least is my good friend marilyn roach, who is an author of numerous books and articles on the history of the salem witch trials, most recently six which is of salem. >> i'm working on it . if anybody knows a publisher. [ laughter ] >> perhaps more important is the day by day chronicle of salem, a community under siege is one of the most important books. i could not have written my book without that and also with the record of the salem witch hunt. i think there are a lot of us that know a lot about salem but i think marilyn knows the most and cares the most and we are honored to have her today. i am proud to call her a colleague on the gallows hill team where we will meet again
in just over a month. so, also, too, she also knows -- rewrote the biographies, over 1300 biographies for the records of the salem witch hunt, she knows these people very well. so, without further ado, we will turn over to the panel. steve, do you want to lead often give some of your thoughts , then we will go down the line and open to the audience? >> okay. i like to try to give you a little background on salem as a tourist city. this would be in the years of craft celebrations, memorials, and i think i'm overlapping with donna in a little bit and she can correct me. [ laughter ] >> so, tourism in new england began in the colonial era, newport was the first great tourist city, followed by a hot near boston, most of tourism did not begin until 1830s or 1840s, coinciding with railroads and industrialization.
salem's tourism lagged, we were not a tourist destination. if we wanted to, we went to the beach and xuan scott. it seems that in 1879, there is a steam railway in salem, and this was a -- there was also a horse-drawn trolley that went down essex street and went to the willows, this is where the tourism begins.. there were gazebos down there, the methodist summer camp changed over to be second home owners, wealthy of salem live there and especially people from lowell came there. salem became small, second-tier tourism destination, in the 1880s. it's not lost that this was the
home of the witchcraft hysteria of 1692. it was always part of our history and apparently, in the 1880s, both the witch house and the basement remained on federal street. it is now gone and they are both private residences. you can arrange to visit both places. that was perhaps, beginning. the turning point, i think the for understanding witchcraft in salem, was the bicentennial in 1892. so, at that time, there were celebrations of salem, more than witchcraft. so, in salem, in 1892, i've got it written down here, the city had two lectures celebrating the date. one was on columbus and his
deed, and the other was on -- the essex institute was celebrating, and the essay was on were the salem witch is guiltless? who knew? [ laughter ] so, what professor was was a psychologist, he was applying the latest psychological theories of hypnosis, mediums, to the accused. at the end of the day, the answer was hypnotic access. so, 1892, stone ridge graft was on the table, the essex
institute was celebrating it and at least questioning it and having academic discussions about it. at the same time, on the other hand, people were starting to come to salem to be tourists. tourism was growing in america. tourism was growing in new england and there was a market, salem was not shy. probably, prime mover was daniel low who store is now rockefellers on washington street, and it was a church before that. mr. low, as you probably all seen which spoons -- put them on the screen here. >> they'll come through, but he was a great algae work pain only made which fence but made porcelain and jewelry that celebrated lexington concord and he saw this is a tremendous opportunity. he suggested that salem become the witch city.
his proposal was accepted, and by 1892, salem was officially the witch city. and in the memorabilia you see behind us, at that time, all kinds of kish was popular and we fit right in. we had artists with regional branding, that's what it was, the witches and became which city. and they had jewelry, the porcelain, postcards, other unique things you'd like to buy , like scissors and thimbles, it doesn't seem to be t-shirts, but other than t-shirts, we were right there. so, we became which city, it was not on the highschooler on the police cars, there's a gap
there but the identity, branding and people who became tanner's and panthers and falcons, i think the whole thing has to do with a second tier of the industrial revolution of products into massmarketing. that was our niche. in terms of salem, and its promotion. be on the willows in the early 20th century, carolyn number 10, 1908, buys the house of seven gables, since three years refurbishing it and then begins to charge one quarter per person to tour the house of seven gables. the money, profit she makes is invested in the settlement house for immigrants to salem. it's worth noting that the
house of seven galen -- gables, and the willows in the house of seven gables, and it becomes the core of salem as a tourism destination. the only thing data shortly thereafter, you have hawthorne is becoming a major figure in salem's tourism. the development of the hawthorne hotel, hawthorne boulevard, hawthorne statute in 1925. so, you've got what are now thought of as two of the four major components of the salem tourist industry. the first being witchcraft. the second being hawthorne. the third being the maritime tradition, which was always present historic way.
in those days, probably part of what is now the museum, where there is more of a regionally focused institution. may sing this correctly? and the last is architecture, if there's one aspect of salem's tourism, which is not fully appreciated, i think it's the architectural component. over the years, the witchcraft component has really surged ahead. i see amount of time but i would like to end with the idea that i think that the reason why witchcraft is so dominant as well as tourism, is because of the issues that it raises, the subject matter itself. the human tragedy. the
compelling nature of the whole event. secondarily, there is the fact that there is such a tie between our popular culture and the witchcraft trials. in popular culture, it always refreshes the general public's interest. we were never allowed to let these trials slip totally because it was always brought back to our attention. to a variety of authors, television shows and plays. so with that i will pass the baton. >> thank you. >> thank you . >> as was mentioned, i'm a little far afield as a 19 century historian, so i prepared a remark so i wouldn't sound unprepared. >> as steve said.
those of us that spend a lot of time i reminded daily of the city as a tourist destination. were reminded as we had the brakes and take a picture. were reminded as we drive home on a wednesday in august and count numerous people in full costing. but, we are also reminded, when we find ourselves at the national park service watch boats navigate the historic war, as we walked down the street surrounded by meticulously maintained architecture. there are, without a doubt, many reasons to spend time in salem. kate fox the exact date of director of destination tourism has stated 1 million visitors come to salem each year and about 500,000 of those visitors come during the month of october alone. i think those statistics are relevant. in 2014 a news reporter asked the question that has occupied
down for a century. what's drying the most visitors. , they are reflecting the tensions at the heart of salem status as a side of historic importance in modern tourism. this owner of the popular salem witch museum contended that the witch trials were the most important things of modern tourism, citing the fact that more than 300,000 people visit the witch museum annually stating we are the biggest draw in town. other members of the community thought differently. they argued that they don't think witch related industries are the main point . they captured all of this saying, we are finding from the
research is that people come for which trial history and get here and say i had no idea there was a national park site or i didn't know this was here and leave with a much fuller experience than they expected to get and want to come back. the tension revealed that might seem from a simple question is not new. several of my colleagues have discovered the history and have uncovered the way that they have propelled by the incomplete and exploited focus on the witch trials and also attracted to the trials as a unique feature that is the city nationally relevant, past its economic and cultural heyday. so what i hope to do is to shift her gaze from salem, exclusively, to consider the city as part of several larger conversations about memory, identity and tourism. so, first of these conversation revolves around community identity.
>> and in exerting control over the entire city, rockefeller gave himself complete power, at least initially, to articulate williamsburg new tourist identity. he decided to focus on the colonial area at the height of the city's influence and use the physical's pace as what one newspaper called a shrine to the early american history. with the $79 million investment, modern williamsburg became colonial williamsburg. and he had demolished and moved 720 buildings and reconstructed or restored hundreds of others to achieve a single colonial visual narrative throughout the town.
rockefellers unprecedented purchase and his power over the physical and historical landscape prompted one resident to declare, my god, they stole the town. williamsburg is a unique example of extort preservation. but the deliberate way in which he approached the task is instructive as they seek to understand the more complicated negotiations around identity making elsewhere. in salem there is no unified visual narrative. the first period history exists alongside impressive structures and massive warehouses from when it was an industrial powerhouse in the homes and businesses the people from the modern era. the choice of which aspects to emphasize has been at the heart of the town's identity.
historian, indicate some of the of facts of these competing visions of salem's past. as rockefeller was restoring colonial williamsburg, salem was preparing guides competing guidebooks demonstrate the constituencies fine for power to determine the city's identity. the guidebook plays on a more broadly defined heritage and downplayed the witch trials. it said we are citizens of the city that has a proud history and we should consider it a privilege to explain are many points of interest to those visiting us. a competing guidebook focused on reliable firms and had a deliberate focus on the witch trials. the more 2005 unveiling of samantha stevens brought about arguments of its identity.
the mayor saw the statute as a little bit of fun, portions of the larger salem community objected to a. the historic district commissioner gave the best quote. he said is like tvland going to auschwitz. those who objected to the statue, which included a large part of the local community sought as a trivialization of the tragedy of the witch trials. others saw it as a tribute to a different part of their history, the very modern association of the city as a tourist destination. even today the logo for destination salem reflects the conflict over the city's identity. it offers a stylized image that can be interpreted as a sailboat
or a witches hat. they have a fun halloween destination and -- several historians have argued that the modern association of salem with halloween can be attributed in part to the popularity of the bewitched episodes. and other popular cultural developments of the 20th century, that reminded the public of the association of salem with witchcraft. and the producers chose salem because of the historic association of salem and the witch trials. but the trials of 1692 were a tragedy where innocent people suffered and died. so this brings us to the second conversation. had we foster a vibrant memory of tragedy and a tourist site.
unexpected narratives can be an a comfortable fit for busloads of tourists expecting to enjoy beautiful landscape or a historic home. certified that tell these stories often feel pressured to do so in a way that is still tourist friendly. this often fails to have an impact on visitors. so museums that are flights of slavery struggle every day. one visitor to colonial williamsburg remarked that it was really just a walking lecture, what were we seeing that had any relevance to the story we were being told about slavery? in the cage of plantation museums, it means that the narratives of slavery often do little to subvert the romantic image of the old south that
tourists have come in with and is more visible. of course some sites of slavery lack basic information about the enslaved population and this is not the case of the salem witch trials. what they lack is not an historic understanding of it but a single site that is deli kidded -- dedicated to telling that. many of the site associated with the witch trials is what is now in danvers. >> one spot associated with the
trials is -- one could not actually see much in salem without noting were certain buildings once stood. the lack of structures responsible for telling the history of the witch trials has ranged from still, public history studies indicate that in the absence of material culture connections, the actual events have likely been overwhelmed by other parts of the tourist landscape. the public history of the witch trials is similar to the public history of slavery. just as it has been subordinated to a more marketable gone with the wind narrative across the american south, the history of 1692 has become subordinated to a general celebration of the
macabre. various sites far outnumber the sites and what we find is that visitors come to salem and leave learning very little about the actual witch trials history. this brings us to our last conversation. the debate about how to reconcile sites of tragedy as tourist destinations. most recently it has been about the appropriateness of tourist taking selfies and auschwitz. and tourists standing at the entrance to the camp, and author has argued that it is no longer an odd vent excite. and there is no way for this to grip you when you are in the presence of sunbathing tourists thinking about where they will have lunch.
salem is very different than auschwitz. but many people have a pervasive sense that it does deserve the service to the city's history as a side of tragedy. this was articulated by donna sager reflected on this between the salem witch trials memorial and understated tribute that sits in the center of salem's tourist hot. as she wrote desecration, the most they were completely
desecrated yesterday. there is no word more appropriate, desecration. the cemetery is simply fodder for tour groups and photo shoots and the memorial was reduced to a place where people could sit down and eat their fried dough or text. drunken clowns, literally, sat on the stones -- we cannot picture that, sat there representing the victims of 1692 while smiling tourists took their pictures. salem's unique city and both the locals and the tourists are grateful for its many interests. as a modern tourist site, it has a lot in common with other destinations in its history can inform larger conversations about the creation of public historical memory and the role of historic tragedy at tourist sites, both had a discuss it effectively and how to engender respect for the past while fostering an attractive atmosphere for tourists. these are not easy questions. and all indications is that they will continue to grapple with them for years to come. i'm thankful for opportunities like this one.
>> a good report. >> thank you. you set me up very well. i see now how i'm going to fit in here. but the first thing that i want to say is that i really do not have an academic perspective on this. i don't see myself as an academic care certainly not in the storied company. i kind of foisted myself on this panel because i live in salem and i love salem. so it is really very personal for make. it is very, very hard for me to talk about this topic in a detached academic manner. i really love salem and the witch city stuff just drives me crazy. it's very personal for me. the only way that i can sort of deal with it is to go back to
the period where the doctor was, the periods from the 1890s and up to maybe 1920. and i don't see it quite as such a freight train, to use a reference there, that you do. i guess i just want to see that there was a moment that it could've gone another way. in that period. i see it as sort of a battle that was going on. certainly the bicentennial was big. it was really big. it was nationally big. there were national articles in all the major periodicals. there were academic looks at 1892 and there was also a lot of fictional, romantic books, young adult books. and some of them that i put in there. oh, did we stop? so it was big. there was daniel low, there was
an attempt to have a kind of studied yield approach that was a bit more academic, and then there was a full-fledged commercial campaign. no question about it. and then after 1892 settled down for a bit, i was reading -- the guidebooks are great sources. i love to read them in chronological order. and to me it just looks like the official guidebooks are trying to say, we are city of the china trade. we are city of hawthorne. we are city of beautiful architecture and that's the official line. and they said very little about the dilution. but that doesn't quite seem to be working and they see that the spoons and the postcards and the porcelain are doing very well. and the house of seven gables and the kind of colonial revival movement here in salem seems to be both during the
architecture on one side and then there's the commercial exploitation of witchcraft on the other and they seem to be -- you have them in sync and i see them are battling but maybe i just want to see it that way. the way that my prism, my window into this period, because again, i am not an american historian. i really focused a lot on the photographer and writer, frank cousins. he was an amazing photographer. he was also an entrepreneur. so he was somebody that represents both sides of this. he was a businessman and he was also an academic scholar and very much preservationist. i think he was the first prominent preservationist. in his work i can see both sides you know, the scholarly look at mcintyre and the architecture the work that he
does documenting every house in salem. beautiful photographs, beautiful street views, all of which are in the peabody essex museum and not digitized. but at the same time so i'm totally -- he is it for me. he is the vanguard. he is going to stop witch city. because i'm convinced it is going to stop at some period. this is when he is most active. and then i look at the archives of his shop. and what's their? witch city wears. he's playing at both sides. he standing up for the architectural, colonial, beautiful city that we all, or some of us want salem to be copied at the same time he's making money off the witch trials.
so if he could not do it, i don't know if it is possible but i really -- it seems to escalate. in addition to foisting myself on this panel, i also made an early date and i didn't want to go after 1960. i really don't want to get after 1920, because i think things get so much more intensely commercial after that point, but i think there was a window in time where maybe we could have made and gone another route. and i am kind of depressed because i think the train is out of the station now, but i wistfully look back to that previous time and focus my tensions on preservation and i'm glad i'm not a salem historian so i don't have to deal with these things every day. >> thank you, donna.
>> salem is finally going to get a memorial and it has been a long time coming, which is actually a good thing. in 1892 the bicentenary of the salem witch trials, and reported was sent to salem from some national paper to interview people about this topic. he interviewed a cabdriver at the railroad station. the cabdriver said that when passengers had time between trains there were two things they wanted to see. where nathaniel hawthorne was born and where the witches were hank. street atlases as early as 1874 depicted a small park on what turns out to be private land at the corner of hansen and grafton street. this is where they were hanged. author and politician charles upham had already declared in
his 1867 history that the summit was the site because of a tradition, uniform and continuous. but he did not cite his sources. there was, in fact another continuing tradition, continuing in living memory today even among some of the longest residents of proctor street. that the lower ledges of gallo hill was the actual spot. in 1892 the historically minded community proposed building a monument for those executed and collected enough funds to produce and architect rendering of a three-story, 30 foot high solid granite block lookout tower, which would have offered a fine view of the harbor and the town while completely obliterating the spot. in 1898 the city of salem set aside $600 to purchase which square because it was private land. but the project evaporated and
the money was used to gravel the comments. although which square was still widely believed to be the correct side of the hangings, the owners divided it and sold it and the place is now occupied by several houses. meanwhile one of my heroes who is a lawyer and he must've read every deed and will in the essex county courthouse, he is researching a series of articles on land ownership up until the time of about 1700. and 35 articles on salem alone, plus the adjacent towns that used to be salem. article number seven appeared in 1901 and clearly labeled the lower ledges of what we now call proctor's ledge, the site of the execution. i only recently learned that his article caused your. he had dared to contradict
charles upham. feelings will still simmering a decade later in 1911 when the essex institute announced a walking tour that would begin at the lower ledges where he would speak about why he felt that was the site of the hangings. the salem evening news printed an article about this with they called actual site of which hangings. in one issue and the next day they printed an irate letter to the editor from william nevins who had also written on the trials. he was shocked, shocked that the essex institute would give any credence to his theories, which were no better than the yellow journalism plaguing the newspapers of today. this was yellow antiquarian is him. not to be confused with the
working conclusions of real answer queries, by charles upham. and there were plenty of reasons to conclude that the summit was the actual site but he didn't have the time right now to tell you what they were. nevertheless 200 people attended his walk and it was a success. a decade later in 1921 he published a longer article, specifying his reasons for why the lower ledges were the site. his oral history interviews with elderly locals who had heard that that was the site from people in their youth, written anecdotes from earlier generations close to the trials including the future president john adams. the land descriptions in deeds and wills of the area, which matched the oral traditions and most especially the logic of the lower location as being more visible and easier access
than the summit for public execution, which had to be public. in 1936 the city of salem purchased two adjacent lots on the lower ledges that were available for $500 each. and they designated this whole as which memorial land, a rather unfortunate title, and it was to be a public park forever. however, the site was not marked , it was the depression after all, and since then anonymous parties have dumped trash there. the site, the neighborhood, and a great swaths of salem was nearly wiped out by a proposed extension of i-95 in the 1960s. that was when historic salem incorporated proposed marking the place of execution. another project that faded when no one could agree on the exact location. in 1976 during the nation's bicentennial when local history
got attention generally, robert booth rediscovered a crevice on the ledges that he had identified as the temporary grave were some of the victims were thrown in which pearly had described as being cleared out so there was no earth or artifacts in there. this prompted discussion of archaeological examination, but nothing came of that either. the contractor who owned the unbuilt land abutting the city land offered to sell it to any historical organization that could come up with the money or cut it up for how slots. neither happens. in the 1980s the city nearly sold the park as surplus land to a high-rise developer until vigilant neighbors reminded them what the word forever meant. thank goodness for them. and in 1997 i found a clue in the trial papers that pearly
had not mentioned. the notes for which suspect rebecca ames, being brought to salem from where she had to have traveled and she is left in the house below the hill while her guards paused to watch the excitement because there is a hanging taking place. from where she was she told the magistrate hours layer she could see folks at the execution. so this tells us next to nothing. but pearly had already done that massive research and he knew where the houses were on that stretch of road, there were not too many of them, so she had to have been looking at proctor's ledge, not the summit from where she was. and more recently working with the above information benjamin ray of the university of virginia applied a computerized analysis program, which did not exist in 1997 for the area's
topography and determined that proctor's ledge is the thing you can see. so now the city is landscaping the parkland on proctor's ledge, the correct site. and they will tend to better preserve the place in order to honor the bravery and suffering of the 19 people put to death there. the hope is that the location will be treated respectfully by visitors who likewise respect the privacy and peace of the sites living neighbors. so there has been a long tradition about that spot that connect us all to the all too real tragedies that happen there. traditions that have been proven by science and archival research and that is not yellow antiquarian is him. thank you. >> well, as moderator, i get a chance to make a few thoughts on your wonderful ideas and maybe ask a question and then i will turn it over to you.
because i'm sure you want to join in. you talk about that one site and that one destination. and i will admit, this semester when i was teaching my museum studies class, their final exam , as a question was, okay, you, the new director of a brand-new museum in salem which is going to be dealt somewhere near proctor's ledge and you have the chance to tell the salem witch trials story. what would you do? and it was interesting to see answers. but that is in some way the dream that a lot of us have, right? because we have the peabody essex museum in town, which is an amazing world-class library that we are lucky to have. but has an interesting history, because it is this merger of the old peabody museum of natural history and the essex institute, the historical institution.
but when they merged, history left their mission and they became an art museum. and art museum are wonderful places. one of my daughters is in graduate school in art history. but in some ways it can be very different than history and that they are not all that interested in the interpretation that historians might have. so what we see right here is that the peabody essex museum has not the ownership, but the agreement with the state of massachusetts that they hold for the state all the salem witch trials documents, over 900 of them, i guess, they also have these amazing objects. that are associated with the people from salem, including those of the witch trials and the portrait of judge samuel and so on. and in some ways if they were history museum they would have the ability to tell that story and tell it was authority, right? and to tell correctly.
but they are not. >> with dignity. >> with dignity. but they are not. so in that sense the organization has the best chance to do it and sort of abdicated the moral high ground in the scholarly high ground to do that right. some night -- i thought about this a bit and i was in england recently and i always drag my wife to the different museums and tourist attractions. and i went to the viking center in york, which is very interesting. it is a controversial place. it is this amazing museum of viking archaeological excavations, but you go through this reconstructed village in the slow cartwright underground. so it's like animatronic vikings and it's a little bit different. and some people don't like that
approach. but i'm wondering would it be possible in salem to do something like this and to make a high-tech modern, virtual presentation of salem in 1692 and the witch trials tastefully mixed in with objects from 6092 and replicas. it's a dream. if anyone is out there who has millions of dollars to start such an institution, please come talk to us. i don't think it will happen, but i would like to think that we need something like that to try to change the narrative. but what is interesting to me as well is that stephen donna talking about the early 20th century where it seems like, for that brief and shining moment that was camelot may be, there was a chance that even though we were witch city, we weren't going to be witch city. and that maybe it didn't have
to be that way. and that seems to be something that there is -- there is an ebb and flow even to this day that salem has very strong and mixed feelings about what parts of our heritage we want to portray, to whom, for what reasons. and even in the creation of gallows hill, there is this dichotomy. there is the ebb and flow. we want to build a memorial, no we do not. even if it is in the wrong place, we don't want to do this. and i want to mention one thing. you mentioned 1936 when the parcel was finally purchased. that is really interesting. i was giving a talk on proctor's ledge and emily murphy, who was a friend of many of ours, she is the historian for the park service in salem and is a very talented curator she said wait a second, i think i know what might've happened. because in 1936 the city of salem was buying up tracts of
land in the city for the creation two years later, i'm not quite sure how they knew this what was in the works with our congressmen, but they were planning to create salem national maritime historic site, which of course is the first historic site and the national park service. salem is filled with many first. so she throughout the question, i don't know, maybe we can research this. was proctor's ledge purchased by the city as a part of that effort? and for whatever reason, you know, a couple years later, maybe they said no, we are the national maritime and the park service said we don't want to do witchcraft either. this is nowhere near the waterfront and so the city of salem, you can keep that parcel. i don't know if that happened, but it is an interesting sort of twist. i think like emily said, we
would have to see if we can explore that. maybe that is a good internship. >> the witch house would've been a departure from what the park service is trying to accomplish from those initial historic site. sort of the great march of american civilization.>> the dead white men history in many ways and this is not that shining moment. so maybe we don't want to talk about which is. but i guess that is maybe kind of the question that i would throw out this whole issue of witch city. and in some degrees it seems to me like it is our own self and poorest scarlet letter that we've managed to give ourselves , and we may not ever have built that memorial in 1892 or kino, or even in the early to mid 20th century and may have
not built it at proctor's ledge until now. but to some degree, does that whole sort of moniker of witch city, is that our ownership of this or not. and if that is the case then, donna, is that necessarily a bad thing? so i guess -- are be witch city forever? and is that necessarily a horrible thing? anything? >> it is hard for me because the camera. those people who know me, i would have a lot to say on this, but i don't really want to say. >> i did not mean to put you on the spot. >> but i will say that i like that idea, self-imposed scarlet letter. i think that's how it started. but i don't think it is that way anymore. i think it has become more than that. i think that largely is happened and this is what makes
me sad. but outsiders, more than insiders, i think we've kind of lost a lot of our ability of self-identity at this point. i mean, the salem witch museum is not owned by somebody that lives in salem. some of the largest businesses that are witch related in salem are not owned by people that live in salem. tvland put samantha there. you know? >> and donna has tried to get them to remove it without much luck.>> i think we've kind of given up, it seems to me. and it is obviously economic. i mean, steve is exactly right. i would like to see the numbers. if you are critical of any of this, but it brings jobs to salem. such an important part of our economy. well, because of the cost of tourism, i don't know if you in here on halloween but there is so much security.
it's also a very expensive enterprise for the city now. so i would like to see the economics on it, frankly. i think everyone just assumes this is an economic engine for us. it might be true, but i would argue it is benefiting a lot of people outside of salem as well as people -- may be more than people inside salem.>> so you like to get rid of witch city. >> there is been so much scholarship about the witch trials, and he talked about -- and i feel like that conversation exists and then salem exists, but the two don't meet for the average person. and that's, i think -- i mean that is where i think a lot of the discomfort is, is that people kind of calm and they spend however much time here and they leave probably not knowing a lot more about 6092. maybe leaving with the impression that the accused in
1692 were which is.>> yes.>> depending on where they visit. so i think that's part of the -- i mean the american public is interested in the witch trials, and there is a lot of scholarly attention, but it is not happening in salem. unless they're coming to see you to give a talk.>> they come to get vampire fangs and go home. and i guess that is the question. it is interesting that you pointed out. salem is this place that people want to come to. it is associated with witch trials. but as kate fox would tell you, when they come here, they are not entirely sure of where they are supposed to go. there is no sort of signal place , right, this is it. if you go to boston going to go to the freedom trail. and here it is like, here i am in salem and now what? so there is the opportunity to try and get people to get that story and to get it well. but i'm not sure -- i'm not
sure how we do that.>> more history and less halloween. >> and that is the other premise that's impossible. most of us, i have given up. i think to some degrees maybe you had to. but i've gotten to the stage where that, oh, we would love to hear you -- we would love to hear you come talk or can you appear on tv. and we don't want you now, we want you on october 31, right? and what i like to do is, okay, i will do that, but the first thing i'm going to say is you do realize there's no connection. is there anything we can do? >> well, i don't know. you can try to do the history, try to get their attention with it and hope that they at least remember that before they get there vampire teeth and fried dough.>> steve coll you might
know better than i do, if i'm remembering francis hill, the peabody essex museum stopped displaying the witch artifacts around the time that haunted happenings and all of that was -- the 1970s or 1980s?>> early into the mid-1990s. >> a little room on the side. >> with the documents behind the curtains.>> so that feels like an abdication of the story to them, the nonhistorical community.>> since they absorb the history, which was a history museum, shouldn't it be part of the admission to tell the actual fact? this is a rhetorical question. i'm not alone in this.>> what you make of this?>> i agree
completely. i think the opportunity is really for -- they do have all the resources they do have. and they do have houses and buildings they are not using. and they are refurbishing the old building and i think it is for them to say we're going to take the leadership position and there will be one attraction, just one, which will be an authentic, historical focus on the witchcraft trials using authentic material and that could stand in relationship to all the other venues that are open and at least there will be someplace for in a struggle academic, thoughtful exhibition. and i'm sure that it will be profitable. i'm sure that many people would want to see it as they do other sites. and it doesn't have to be in
the new building. doesn't have to be in the gallery next to the moving art museums. there should be enough space in town for them to have an exhibit , destination, which would greatly add to salem's veracity when it comes to promoting or studying or offering halloween and witchcraft at the same time. that balance. to donna's point, i mean tourist are pleasure seekers and that is not necessarily academic. and so i think that whole thrust of tourists most of the time will be for pleasurable activities including vampire fangs and fried dough. so i think that is undeniable and the primary thrust of salem's tourism and i would really hope that some part of it becomes far more authentic.
>> and to get back to your point, you talking about the boosters in the 19th century, and the creation of the witch city and where i grew up in worcester county, you had -- big chair city and pioneer plastic city, which now i can pittsburgh it is one of the local tourist shops, they have pink flamingos for sale because this is where they were first made. so here's my point. this whole idea of witch city was created and then 1990s and it was meant to be a point of local boosterism and pride and maybe hazard of gotten sort of twisted and corrupted over time.
we could go on talking about ourselves, but we have about 20 minutes left and i know there are a lot of people that want to ask questions.>> if you want to step up to the microphone. >> i am interested in steve's comment that the witch city and hawthorne sort emerged. my observation without any particular evidence has been that hawthorne was introduced to sort of displace the witch city to bring the image of salem to higher-level. certainly after the salem fire of 1914, hawthorne boulevard was laid out and then in the
early 20s hawthorne hotel was built and the house of the seven gables moved the birthplace to show that to the public. and i have occasionally seen a business that doesn't say witch city, but says hawthorne. and there was a hawthorne cleaners that one time. so my question is, is hawthorne part of witch city or is it an alternative to witch city? >> a great question. what you think? >> i think it is neither. i think there are separate -- i think you had the witch city trap and then you had the hawthorne trap and to say that during the early to mid 20th century, hawthorne became part of the literary canon and every
high school student after the shakespeare reading there was a scarlet letter. it was part of american education and it was the house of seven gables. i think the fact that he was -- i think it was three years and three months and 12 days, he looked out that front window and he saw the original first chapter of the house of the seven gables is -- it is about the house and the manuscript was found in the safe and that connection helped our congressional delegation
make the empty house the first national site in the country. and i think it was political muscle and hawthorne, which made it all possible. and i think when they made the house of seven gables a tourist attraction, i don't think she thought of witch city was going to do something opposed to a parallel, but they said here's an economic opportunity and a cultural resource that we can develop independently of the witchcraft trials. and i don't see them as combining, i think salem is a tourist destination and becomes a basket with more than one egg in it. and i think salem probably has several eggs in the basket. they have the maritime and the hawthorne and the architectural
is usually the fourth leg of this. so it is a combination of things. and the other salem may always be witch city in that earlier moniker, but you have other important places to see. and i think they exist separately but happen to be in the same place. i don't think they complement each other either. >> the next question. >> i am fascinated by the proctor's ledge background and also this new memorial. one of the things about this site is that it is quite a walk from the main area of salem. and i was wondering if that is the hanging site, but has there been any discussion of creating
a marker for the site -- which is closer to the center of town. >> she will tell you that it was not -- >> i wrote an article about this. and it is somewhere near the jail or in the jail. that big building is the whole block. but it is outside and people are watching. so you want to make a warning for people are not supposed to do. but that was someone's acreage and there were couple of stones in the way. and his someone's backyard it turns out that there was a
pastor -- it did not have house on it, presumably it was used for cows and it was owned by thomas proctor -- thank you for that. thomas putnam, whose daughter, the night before had been visited by -- jacob goodale who said this is only appropriate because now he's going to die as well. so if they had to do this on public property nearby, i don't think putnam would have objected. and it was right there. location, location, location.>> toward the train station.
but having said that -- >> from the other direction. >> it is behind the jail. >> down toward the river. >> the bigger question is as far as memorials, you could, -- we are not sure about that. is private property and their bigger questions as to what we do at proctor's ledge and i go back that is in it too bad that when the city owned that land and now we're trying to do is a balancing act because the site is in the backyard of a neighborhood and there isn't parking and having said this,
what the city is doing in addition to the memorial at proctor's ledge is there is nearby parking and there will be an historical panel put up there which describes the event and their places to park and there will be one specifically on proctor's ledge and gallows hill and there will be another site nearby that is more accessible and you don't have to worry about getting run over we you can get that stories will. the corner of happy and healthy will still be there. >> one thing that this has done is opened by eyes to the real dilemma that the city of salem is in. i don't think the majority of people know this.
how torn it seems to be. i think the whole halloween thing is inevitable and we are culture of theme parks. and at this point i think your point is well taken there needs to be another site within the city that is dedicated to what we are here for today. because people do see salem as a theme park. the other question i have is, is there european counterpart to salem? a city in the situation? >> there is not. >> we are the witchcraft capital of the world. >> there are some that are getting there. but they are late to the party. there is just not the huge witch trials. no, there is no
equivalent of salem. >> our american take on halloween is very different. >> we also have a different community who identified themselves as witches today. >> the salem story gets tangled with the wiccan community and they referred themselves as witches, which is frankly, it makes things very confusing. it makes for a rich community but there are no which is because -- >> this idea of a place to tell the story of the salem trials,
i am wondering what responsibility would salem have to tell the stories of the lives of the victims who did not all reside in salem. and i am from the andover historical society, but i'm interested because you're talking about the desecration of graves and the spot where something horrific happens, but i think about the places that these people were taken from and accused of something they could not imagine. what responsibility would there be to tell the stories as well? >> i think that is something we talked about earlier of the balancing act between telling an in-depth, complex history and telling something that is manageable. you know what i mean? and so as historians we want to
tell the whole story and ideally that information would be available. but that would be an interpretive decision of how long are people going to stay here and what is the average experience going to be and how far away are we from the fried dough. >> and to me that is part of the problem and marilyn can probably speak to this. but to do anything, you have so many people. i felt obligated to make sure in my book that i mentioned all of the people who died by name. but beyond that, there are another hundred 50 to go and thanks to margo, i loosed -- i used her list, which got everyone in there, but the
problem is there's so many compelling stories and how do you try to tell them all and tell them well and say that, yes, there were more people accused in andover than anywhere else. but to me, these stories are so compelling and that is what people like in history are personal stories and they are from people throughout this region with different backgrounds. some who were born in england and others that come from other places and arrive here. but the problem is, it becomes that territorial choice. i think it is our responsibility tell their story , even if they were from andover. i love andover. and north andover. but what is interesting to me is that i spent three years there, and i don't think we had
any concept that andover had anything to do with the salem witch trials. maybe that is just the nature of this business. but part of this is the process of ownership or salem in the whole region that this is our conflicted past. >> if there was a museum founded , at least focusing on the 20 people would be something. more is known about some individuals than others. but at least if you can bring some of people alive and have others recognize them as individuals with stories, then it grabs you. >> i actually developed an app which takes you around town and
in that you can have the people there look up their biography or an exhibit that i helped to curate his on life in the 17th century. you cannot tell all the stories, but the centerpiece of the exhibit is a touchscreen we can touch any part of the map and listen to someone who lived in that community. so there ways that we could do that and giving people the options of learning some of those different stories and narratives. but if someone wants to write a check for a couple million dollars, talk to us afterwards. >> i'm not quite sure if this is a statement or question i think what you're saying about the fact they are not witches
and having an audience come away from salem knowing that, and then how you're saying that you actually tell that story because as you said the beginning of this whole day, how do you condense what you do into one hour and had you provided an overview and is that what they are coming for, or do they want witchcraft light. having a personal story, and i'm thinking back to the most emotive times i had in a museum that stayed with me that was the holocaust museum. but what i got, and this is going back to when i was a teenager, was you got a card and corresponded to a living person. and at each level you find out about that person.
and then at the end you find out if they lived or died. and that really stuck with me because it took the message home and it hit me. and i thought having that message and do you want people to come away saying it really isn't witch city and if you could separate the actual stories, it would be great because then the kids can have the kids and then they also come away with the right legacy. and i think from my little time in salem, the personal really shows up. so again it is a statement and a question. >> any responses?
>> hold on to that. we have to get a microphone. can we get the microphone here? >> i think most of us came today to see what new things we might learn that we did not know before and i think and a has been a most successful day not respect and someone who thinks of herself as a historian i like the idea of having some sort of an entity that would tell the true story is much as we can document that and i am and it -- a retired employee and i'm happy to see some of the people that i've worked with before here today. but i'm wondering if there is momentum in this group to try and be advocates for this type
of the thing. and i think that is a question i will leave you with. >> thank you, irene. >> this is an uphill battle. and i think to me i come back to i really hope that the confirmation of proctor's ledge is away to trigger that broader kind of discussion where maybe we can get community support for those kinds of ideas and a room full of us -- it is going to take a ground swell of support from the community. >> if one is looking for a model for biographies, i suggest in
petersburg virginia, the natural -- the national museum of the civil war soldier where individual biographies are presented in that could get at the whole witchcraft episode, including those who died, but others who were accused and also the accusers. and even other people in the area. but those individual biographies are very effective. >> how do they do that? have they present those? >> my recollection, and it has been years since i've been there is that the visitor selects a profile to follow, but it is not multimedia. it is a little older than multimedia.
>> some of us are a little older than multimedia.>> that it is effective and they may be doing it differently now. but gets at the individuals and i think the point was made that finding the lives of these individuals can get us much closer to the whole story. >> we have time for maybe one or two more questions. >> your reference to the viking center calls to mind, we visited that. but it might be an interesting model because they recognize people coming there are coming for different purposes with different backgrounds. and the ground floor, if you will, is a typical walk-through exhibit of maps and artifacts and documents. and in the basement i will use
the historical level is a disney like ride along and animatronic recreation of the viking village. so it kind of meets both needs here is what is left behind and then let people experience that because going back to williamsburg, people want to be able to see this and that is what appeals to them. and that is what they were members of the they beef behind the vampire teeth. >> i've actually had students sent me a scratches of -- a scratch and sniff postcard there . >> i live in the neighborhood and i am interested in cousins.
i actually live on the street, i think named after him. where can we find out more information on frank cousins and then as part of an historic neighborhood association, what we do to help to create an actual museum that is not somebody screaming at you? >> the peabody has a lot of his photographs. there are a couple of other smaller libraries that of digitized portions. but i always go to duke university's urban landscape collections where there about 200 of his photographs.
you also have his books, of course, in which most of his photographs are there. he has an art company as well. i think i neglected to tell you that his reach was national because he was so entrepreneur. he had the frank cousins our company and everybody wanted pictures of old salem. and they show up in all of these periodicals and so they digitized his salesman book, with all of his pictures and you can go through it and it is lovely to see it because you can see the mix of the witchcraft things put in there. and what can you do to help? i don't know.
well, there is the book. he published books. and the new york preservation society has a small archive of his photographs. and you can access those online as well. if you go through sort of architectural publications from the 1890s, his photographs are constantly coming up in those. he had a big reach. he was the go to guy. whether it had any connection to witchcraft or not. >> it is 3 pm and i want to thank the panel for a great job. this week on washington journal we are looking at battleground states. the most competitive races of the midterm election in minnesota, new york, california
, pennsylvania, and florida. join us for the life campaign calling during washington journal at 7 am eastern on c- span. our debate coverage continues thursday with the senate raced in west virginia between joe manchin and patrick morrisey. that is live at a p.m. eastern. after that claudia tenney bases anthony brown d.c. in the race for the 2nd congressional district and that is live at 9 pm. was election day less than a week away, president trump has a number of rallies planned over the next several days. thursday he goes to columbia, missouri, to campaign for josh hawley. that is live at 7:30 pm. friday barack obama holds a get out the vote rally in florida where bill nelson is seeking
reelection and andrew gillum is running for governor. that is live at 2:30 pm eastern on c-span, your primary source for campaign 2018. >> c-span where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television company. and we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public- policy events in washington, d.c., and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> american history tv continues with author kenneth but talking about the memorializing of salem.