tv Salems Witch City Notoriety CSPAN July 30, 2017 4:30pm-6:01pm EDT
announcer 1: this year marks the 325th anniversary of the salem witch trials. up next on american history tv, historians discuss how salem, massachusetts became known by tourists as "witch city." they argue whether commercialism and popular culture have been -- salem's tragic history. -- have dimmed salem's tragic history. this discussion was part of an all-day symposium held at salem university in massachusetts. chad baker: all right, good afternoon. let's get started. i'm chad baker. i'd like to welcome you back to the afternoon sessions of salem's trials. i will say about that time, that was the title for my book. so i was pleased actually when the gang thought it would be a good title for this day, because it seems to me they were around those trials of 1692, i think as we all know, those of us who live and work and hang out around salem, that there are other trials that are related to
the trial, and to some degrees, that's what we're talking about this afternoon in our sessions on "witch city" and also our keynote speech by professor foote on gallows hill. just one thought for me before i introduce the panel for the panel discussion, and that is that it's my sincere hope that the work of the past couple years to recognize the execution site at proctor's ledge can hopefully be a new start, a fresh beginning for salem to really recognize officially and formally this troubled history. and i just want to say, i probably should have said this this morning when the mayor was here, but the mayor and her staff, and everyone in the city of salem, i think, has just been incredibly supportive. when we first came forward to them as a member of the gallows hill team and told them that we had the execution site, i didn't
know what the response would be. and some of us were saying, like mary and i were saying, wow, how are we gonna raise money to build the memorial and what do we do? and from the moment we met with the mayor and dominic, everyone said, don't worry, folks. the city is doing this. this is this is our , responsibility. we want to do this. and i think it's hopefully the beginning of sort 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 "witch city." something that we all know here, every halloween, and in fact sort of year-round, and particularly just to sort of deal with those historical roots of it, more in the 19th century and how it's treated. we have a wonderful panel, four good friends and colleagues who have thought long and hard about this in different ways, and
we'll ask them each to make sort of an in directory -- introductory thoughts for five, 10 minutes. particularly, we really want them to have free range in discussion from the audience. so first off i'll introduce the speakers. we can have them go in turn. starting down at the far end, steve mnuchin professor of , geography at salem state university. steve is a historical geographer who has spent a great deal of time looking and thinking about salem as place. and i will say that steve is my first encounter in this realm, i think, backing into each other on a halloween in salem as we were both madly taking pictures and we bothed we'd both been doing the same thing for years and scholars was documenting the amazing phenomenon that is salem at halloween. if you've never seen it, it may be as close to mardi gras as you can get to in the north. i highly recommend it, for both the fried dough and also the amazing landscape.
[laughter] chad baker: next to steve is bethanie jay, an associate professor of history at salem state. she is one of our public historians and also experts in educational history. she has also spent a lot of work in local history looking at salem and its rich past. her academic specialty in many ways is a little bit out of time here. i think she's a little worried. but she's really an expert on civil war in the 19th century and slavery. she is really a renowned author and scholar and probably one of the leading experts in the country on the teaching and interpretation of museums on slavery. so we really have sort of asked her to put her thinking cap on about another sort of troubled part of our past, not slavery but how we sort of interpret the salem witch trials. next in line is our department chair, donna seager, who you've met before. donna is really the heart and
soul behind today's events. and in many ways, everything to do it salem and its rich history. in addition to being an expert on early modern history, she regularly teaches courses on the european witch hunts and also too has an amazing blog that many of you are familiar with, called streets of salem, where she regularly blogs about all things having to do with salem's history. and in fact i kidded her and said she can just basically read some of her blog entries this afternoon, with some of the amazing things she has -- thoughts she's had on "witch city." last but definitely not least is my good friend, marilyn roche, who is author on numerous books and articles on the history of the salem witch trials, most recently "six women of salem." marilyn, i am hoping six men of salem is coming soon. marilyn: i'm working on it. chad baker: good. marilyn: anybody knows a publisher? chad baker: and also marilyn's work her day-by-day chronicle of , salem, a community under siege, is one of the most
important books on the salem witch trials. i could not have written my book without that, the records of the salem witch hunt. i honestly think there are a lot of us who know a lot about salem , but i really think marilyn knows the most and perhaps cares the most. we're honored to have her today. i'm proud to call her a colleague on the gallows hill team, where we will be meeting again in just a little over a month. so -- and also too, she also wrote the biographies, over 1300 i think biographies for the record of the salem witch hunt as well too. she knows these people very well. without further a do we'll turn , it over to the panel. we start with steve. do you want to lead off and give us some of your thoughts? and then we'll go down the line and open it up to the audience. steve: ok. so i think i'd like to try to give you a little background on salem as a tourist city, in the beginnings of witchcraft celebrations, memorials in salem.
and that said, i think i'm overlapping with donna a little bit. and she can correct me in just a few minutes. so tourism in new england began in the colonial era. newport was the great tourist hott city, followed by the near boston. most tourism didn't begin until the 1830's, 1840's. coincides with the railroads, industrialization. salem's tourism lagged. we were not a tourist destination. if we wanted to, we went to the beach at three different cities. it seems that 1879, there was a non-texting railway, -- nonkeg steam railway which was in salem. and there was also a horse-drawn trolley that went down essex street, and it went to the willows. and the willows is where salem's tourism begins. there was the gazebos down there.
the method is' -- methodists' su mmer camp changed ownership there. the wealthy of salem lived there. salem became a small second-tier tourism destination, in the 1880's. it's not lost that this was the home of the witchcraft hysteria in 1692. it was always part of our history. apparently in the 1880's, both the witch house, and the old goal of the basement remained. it was on federal street. now since gone. they're both private residences. and you can arrange to visit both places. and that was perhaps the beginning. the turning point, i think, for understanding witchcraft in salem was the bicentennial in
1892. and so at that time, there were celebrations of salem more than the 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 park act. it was up at the essex institute. they held the first great symposium on the witchcraft trials, and the lecture by a harvard professor barrett wendell was -- were the salem witches guiltless? who knew? [laughter] steve: professional wendell was a psychologist. and he was applying the latest psychological theories of hypnosis, mediums, to the
accused. and at the end of the day, the answer was, hypnotic excess. so yeah, i can comment on that later. so 1892, salem witchcraft was on the table. witchcraft hysteria was on the table. the essex institute was celebrating it. or at least questioning it, having academic discussions about it. but 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. and salem was not shy. probably the prime mover was daniel lowe, whose store is now rockefeller's on washington street. it was a unitarian church before that.
and mr. lowe, you probably have all seen the witch spoons. chad baker: put them up on screen here actually. they will pass through. steve: they'll come through. but he was -- he made not only witch spoons but he made porcelain and jewelry that celebrated lexington conquered. and he saw this as a tremendous opportunity. and he suggested that salem become the "witch city." and his proposal was accepted. and by 1892, salem was officially the witch city. and in this memorabilia that you see behind us, at that time, all kinds of kitsch was popular at tourism destinations, and we fit right into this regional and national pattern. we had artists-distinguishing branding. and that's what it was. we are the witches. and we became the witch city. and so we had mr. lowe's
jewelry, the porcelain, the postcards. other unique things you'd like to buy, like scissors and thimbles. it doesn't seem to be t-shirts were that big then. other than t-shirts, we were right there. so we became the witch city. it was not on the high school or on the police cars, i believe, until the 1930's. so there was a gap there. but the identity, and i think the branding, and beverly became the panthers. and then the falcons. i think the whole thing has to do with the second tier of the industrial revolution, of a vast array of new products, into the mass marketing. and we'd just been to that. that was our niche. in terms of salem and its promotion, beyond the willows,
early 20th century, carolyn anderton, 1908, the house of seven gables. spent three years refurbishing it, then became charging a quarter a person to tour the house of seven gables. the money that the profit that she makes is reinvested in her settlement house and activities for immigrants to salem. it's worth noting that the house of seven gables was right on the trolley track line. and so you're uniting the center of the city, and the willows, and the house of seven gables. and that becomes the core of salem as a tourism destination. the only thing to add is, shortly thereafter, you have hawthorne as becoming a major figure in salem's tourism. the development of the hawthorne
hotel, hawthorne boulevard, hawthorne statue in 1925. 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 historically. and in those days, probably part of what is now the peabody essex museum, where they were more of a regionally focused institution. am i saying this correctly? you are just nodding. that means it is a good sign. the last one is architecture. we have a tremendous stand of historical architecture. if there's one aspect of salem's tourism which is not fully appreciated, i think it's our architectural component. and over the years, the witchcraft component has really surged ahead.
out of time, but i would like to end with the idea that i think that i think -- idea that i think that the reason why witchcraft is so dominant in salem's tourism is because of the issues that it raises, the subject matter itself. the human tragedy and the compelling nature of the whole event. and secondarily is the fact that there is such a tie between our popular culture and the witchcraft trials and that in popular culture, it always refreshes the general public's interest. and so there's a tremendous tie between the two, where we're never allowed to let the witchcraft trials slip totally into history, because it's always brought back to our attention through a variety of authors, television shows, plays.
and so with that, i'd like to pass the baton. >> thank you. >> thanks, steve. >> thanks. as ted mentioned, i'm a little far afield here, as a 19th century historian. so i prepared my remarks so that i wouldn't sound unprepared. as steve has said, right, you know, thinking about the history of salem as a tourist destination, those of us who spend a lot of time in salem are reminded daily about the city's status as a tourist destination. we're reminded when we hit the brakes, as a distracted visitor wonders in the street to take a picture. we are reminded as we drive home and see numerous people in full costume. but we're also reminded, when we find ourselves at the national park service, watching boats navigate the historic wharf, when we walk down the street surrounded by meticulously maintained examples of 19th
century architecture. there are many reasons to spend time in salem. kate fox, the director of destination salem, the city's main tourism marketing arm, has stated that about one 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 salem news reporter named tom dalton asked a question that has occupied salem for more than a century. what's drawing the most visitors? and salem's community offered varying responses in answer to that question, reflecting the tensions that i think are at the heart of salem's status as a site of historic importance and modern tourism. the owner of the popular salem witch museum contended that the witch trials were the most things -- -- the most important things aspects of salem's modern , tourism, citing the fact that more than 300,000 people visit the witch museum annually. other members of the community thought differently. but chief marketing officer at
the peabody essex museum, which has emerged as a major cultural hub argued i don't think , witch-related tourism is the main engine. her response captured the larger history and status as a tourist destination. she said, what we're finding is people will come just for the witch trial history and get here and say, i had no idea there was a national park site or i didn't know the pem was here. they'll live with a much fuller experience than they expected. saying, i have got to come back. the tensions revealed by these varied answers to what may seem like a simple question are not new. several of my colleagues have considered the history of salem as witch city and will sort of uncover the way that the city's historical community has in variously propelled by the incomplete and exploitive focus, but also attracted to the trials as a unique feature that has
kept the city national irrelevant long past its cultural heyday. so what i hope to do is to shift our gaze from salem exclusively to consider the city as part of several larger conversations about memory, identity and tourism. so the first of these conversations revolves around community identity. historian john bonder has examined the connections between identity and public historical memory, which he defines as a body of beliefs and ideas about the past that helps a public or society understand both its past, present, and by implications, its future. end quote. assigning meaning to a place, though, is never -- whether it's an individual site, a district or an entire community, is by no means an organic act. coordinated acts of remembering and forgetting to create a unified narrative. this process can create tension between varying constituencies who wish to determine a community's identity. the history of colonial
williamsburg actually offers a useful parallel as we consider the connection in salem. much like salem, williamsburg was a colonial powerhouse whose influence and economy had waned by the early 20th century. in the early 1920's, a local minister decided that the city could capitalize on its historic legacy. to both preserve the town and revitalize its economy. he approached several investors, eventually catching the interest of john d rockefeller jr., who agreed to finance the project as long as the entire city was dingor districts.t particular in exerting control over the entire city, rockefeller gave himself complete power, at least initially, to articulate williamsburg's new tourist identity. rockefeller decided to focus on the colonial era at the height of the city's influence and use the physical space as what one newspaper called a shrine, where the great events of early
american history and the many men who made it may be visualized in their proper setting. with rockefeller's $79 million investment, modern williamsburg became colonial williamsburg. by the end of the initial era of restoration rockefeller had , demolished or removed 720 buildings and reconstructed or restored hundreds of others to achieve a single colonial visual narrative throughout the town. rockefeller's unprecedented purchase and his power over the physical and historic landscape of williamsburg prompted one shocked resident to declare, my god, they stole the town. it's a really cute poem they wrote. williamsburg is, of course, a unique example of historic preservation in public memory. but the deliberate way in which rockefeller approached the task is instructive, as we seek to understand the more complicated negotiations around identity-making elsewhere. in salem, there is no unified visual narrative. the city's first period history exists alongside impressive structures from its time as a
wealthy port city, massive warehouses from when it was an industrial powerhouse, and the homes and businesses of people from the modern era. the choice of which aspects of the city's history to emphasize has been at the heart of the conversations about salem's identity. with the local historic community generally resisting a disproportionate focus on the witch trials in favor of a more balanced narrative. historian stephen's analysis of tourism guides indicates some of the effects of these unique competing visions of salem's past. as rockefeller was restoring colonial williamsburg, salem was preparing guides to accompany the centenary. competing guidebooks demonstrates the constituencies vying for power to determine the city's identity. the guidebook, directed at salem residents, plays on a more broadly defined heritage and downplayed the witch trials. it said, we are citizens of a city which has a proud history, and we should consider it a
privilege to explain our many historical points of interest to those visiting us. a competing guidebook, aimed at the tourist population, focused on, quote, reliable firms with which the tourist can trade and had a deliberate focus on the witch trials. more recently, the 2005 unveiling of the statue from bewitched identified salem in a -- identified arguments of salem in a new form. i'm going past the 1920 cutoff date here. [laughter] >> the statue too. bethanie: i know. the then-mayor saw the statue as a little bit of fun, portions of the larger salem community objected to it. salem historic district commissioner gave the best quote. he said it's like tv land going to auschwitz and proposing to erect a statue of colonel clink. [laughter] roberte: as historian weir reminds us, those who objected to the samantha statue which included a large part of the local community saw it as a
trivialization of the tragedy of the witch trials. others saw the statue as a tribute to a different part of salem's history, the very modern association of the city as a tourist destination for kitschy halloween fun. even today, the logo for destination salem, which i think is one of the things flashing up there, reflects the conflict over the city's identity. it offers a stylized image that can be interpreted either as a sailboat or a which had depending on your -- witch hat depending on your inclination. of course, salem as a fun halloween destination, and salem as witch city, are related aspects of the city's identity. several historians have argued that the modern association of salem with halloween with -- can be attributed in part at least to the popularity of the bewitched episodes that steve referred to earlier. alongside other popular cultural developments of the mid-20th century, bewitched reminded the larger american public about the association of salem with witchcraft. and, of course, the bewitched
producers chose salem as the site for these episodes because of the historic association of salem and the witch trials. but as will sort of be covered today, the trials of 1692 were a tragedy where innocent people suffered and died. so this brings us to our second conversation. how do we foster a vibrant memory of tragedy in tourist sites? difficult, unwelcome, or unexpected narratives at historic sites can be an uncomfortable fit for busloads of tourists expecting to enjoy a beautiful landscape or a historic home. museums and historic sites that seek to tell these stories often feel pressured to do so in a way that is still tourist-friendly. this difficult is further complicated by the by studies of , tourism that show that telling complicated historical narratives without corresponding artifacts often fails to have an impact on visitors. so museums that are sites of slavery, for example, struggle with this fact every day. sleepe of the lack of
material. one visitor to colonial williamsburg remarked, after an african-american walking tour, it was really just a walking lecture. what were we seeing on this tour that had any particular relevance about slavery? in the case of plantation museums, the lack of material culture means that the narratives of slavery often do little to subvert the romantic image of the old south that the tourists have come in with, and that is more visible, right, in the site itself. of course, some sites of slavery also lack basic information about the enslaved population. and this, of course, is not the case with the salem witch trials, which as marilyn knows, they are well-documented. what salem lacks is not an historic understanding but a single site that is dedicated to telling that history using authentic artifacts from the past. i believe it's the peabody essex museum that holds many of the artifacts, but they're not on display. many of the sites associated
with witch trials are in what's now danver or have been demolished. aside from the execution site at proctor's ledge -- >> no. wait a second. we as a team confirmed what early did. bethanie: well, i only had 10 minutes. ted baker: ok. [laughter] bethanie: one spot truly associated with the trials is the home of judge korwin. even that building has been altered from its 17th century form. as robert notes, but one couldn't actually see much in salem other than gazing upon noting where certain buildings once stood. the lack of extant structures or a single museum has left the telling of that important narrative to a diverse set of sites that range from attractions to more serious attempts at historical inquiry. still public history studies indicate that in the absence of material culture connections, the actual events of 1692 have
likely been overwhelmed by other parts of the tourist landscape. in this case, the public history of the witch trials is similar to the public history of slavery. just as slavery has been subordinated to a more marketable and visible "gone with the wind" narrative in plantation museums across the american south, the history of 1692 has become subordinated to a more general celebration of the macabre in salem. site such as dracula's castle, the wax museum, nightmare gallery, far outnumber sites associated with 1692. so what we find is that visitors tend to come to salem and leave, learning very little about the actual witch trials history. and this juxtaposition between revelry and tragedy in salem brings us to our last conversation. the debate about how to reconcile sites of tragedy as tourist destinations. most recently this debate has raged about the appropriateness of tourists taking selfies at auschwitz.
discussing the string of photographs on social media of tourists in the barracks, in the gas chambers, or standing under the famous work makes you free sign, an author has argued auschwitz is no longer an authentic site. the savagery, the millions who died, there's no way for this to grip you when you're in the presence of sun-bathing tourists thinking about where they'll have lunch. they hold hands, straining to take in all of the holocaust highlights. of course, salem is very different than auschwitz. i'm not arguing that they are the same. but underlying many people's discomfort with salem as witch city is a pervasive sense that takeslloween situation away from this site of tragedy. this discomfort was nicely articulated by donna seager, who -- [laughter] bethanie: who reflected on the juxtaposition between halloween revelry, the old burying point, and the salem witch trials memory, an understated tribute
to the victims. as dr. seager wrote on her blog, desecration, the two most sacred sites downtown, the old burying point downtown and the adjacent witch trials memorial, 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 can all picture it, right? sat on the stones, representing the victims of 1692, while smiling tourists took their pictures. salem is a unique city, and both the locals and the tourists are grateful for its many interests. in the modern tourist site, however salem has a lot in , common with other destinations, and its history can inform larger conversations about the creation of public historical memory and the role of historic tragedy at tourist sites, both how to discuss tragedy effectively and how to engender respect for the past
while still fostering an attractive atmosphere for tourists. these are not easy questions. and all indications are that salem will continue to grapple with them for years to come. i'm thankful for opportunities like this one where the community can come together to think about these issues together. thank you. [applause] ted baker: now that you've been quoted-- donna: -- bethanie: my apologies to dr. seager for multiple things. [laughter] ted baker: good response to your department chair. donna: now thank you, both of you. you set me up very well, very well. i see now how i'm going to fit in here. but the first thing that i really want to say, that i really don't have an academic perspective on this. i don't see myself as an academic here. i certainly am not in this storied company. i kind of foisted myself on this
panel, because i live in salem, and i love salem. and so it's really very personal for me. it's 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. [laughter] donna: it's very, 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 period from the 1890's and 1910s, up to maybe 1920, and i don't see it quite as such a freight train, to use your reference there, that you do. i guess maybe i just want to see that there was a moment that it could have gone another way. in that, in the period, in 1910. 1890's 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 sort of academic looks at 1892, and the rural also a lot of fictional, romance -- what was then called romantic books, young adult books, some of them that i put in there. oh. did we stop? ok. so it was big. there was daniel lowe. there was an attempt to have kind of a studied yield approach that was a bit more academic. and then there was a full-fledged commercial campaign. there is no question about it. then after 1892 settled down for a bit, i was reading -- the guidebooks are great for this. i love to read the guidebooks in chronological order. to me, it just looks like the official guidebooks are trying to say we are a city of the china trade. we are the city of hawthorne.
we are a city of beautiful architecture. and that's the official line. and they say very little about the delusion. but that doesn't quite seem to be working. and they see that the spoons and the postcards and porcelain are doing very, 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. i see them more battling, but maybe i just want to see it that way. the way that my prism, my window into this period -- because, again, i'm not an american historian. i'm an english historian. i really focused a lot on the photographer and writer frank cousins. who was an amazing photographer. mcintyre scholar. 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 a photographer. and very much a preservationist. i really think he was filled -- film's first prominent preservationist. in his work, i can see both sides, you know. you know, the scholar looks at mcintyre and the architecture, the work that he does documenting every house this salem -- beautiful photographs, beautiful street views, all of which are in the peabody essex museum and not digitized. [laughter] >> a senior? donna: but at the same time, so i am totally into frank cousins. i'm like, he is it for me. he is the vanguard. he's going to stop "witch city"" because i'm convinced it's going to stop at some period. this 1890-1910 period. this is when he is most active. and then i look at the archives
of his shop. and what's there? "witch city" wares. he's playing it both sides. he's playing it both sides. he's standing up for the architectural, colonial beautiful city that we all -- or some of us want salem to be. but at the same time, he's making money off the witch trials. so if he couldn't do it, i don't know if it's possible after that point. [laughter] again, i really -- it seems to escalate. i also, in addition to foisting myself on this panel, i also kind of made an early date. i really didn't want to go after 1960. i understand you really want to get after 1960. i really don't want to get after 1920, because i think things get just so much more intensely commercial after that point. but i think there was a window in time where maybe we could have made -- gone another route.
and i'm kind of depressed, because i think that the train is out of the station now. but i wistfully look back to that previous time and focus my attentions on preservation. and i'm glad i'm not a salem historian so i don't have to deal with these things every day. [laughter] ted baker: thank you, donna. marilyn? marilyn: ah, well-- salem is finally going to get a memorial. and it's been a long time coming, which is actually a good thing. in 1892, the bicentennial of the salem witch trials, a reporter was sent to salem, from some national paper, to interview people about this topic. and he interviewed a cab driver at the railroad station. the cabbie told him, when passengers had time between trains, there were two things they wanted to see. where nathaniel hawthorne was born and where the witches were hanged.
for the latter, they were probably taken to the wrong location. guidebooks sent tourists to the top of gallows hill, and other books showed it turned out to be private land at the corner of hansen street at witch square. this is where they were hanged. author and politician charles upland had already declared, in his 1867 history, that the summit was the site, because of a tradition, uniform and continuous. but he did not site his sources. there was, in fact, another continuing tradition, continuing in living memory today even, among some of the longest-termed residents of proctor street, that the lower ledges of gallow s hill was the actual spot. but upland's theory prevailed. in 1892, again, the historically-minded community proposed building a monument for those executed and collected enough funds to produce an
architect's rendering of a three-story, solid granite block lookout tower, which would offer a fine view of the harbor, while completely obliterating the spot. in 1898, the city of salem set aside $600 to purchase witch square, because it was private land, but this project evaporated. to pave$600 were used the ground in salem comments. -- commons. although witch square was still widely believed to be the correct site of the hangings, the landowners divided it and sold it, and the place is now occupied by several houses. meanwhile, pearly, one of my heroes who is a lawyer, and he must have read every deed and will in the essex count courthouse. he's researching a whole series of articles on land ownership, up to the time of about 1700. and this 35 articles on salem
alone, plus the adjacent towns that used to be salem. article number seven appeared in 1901 and clearly labeled and on tap, the lower ledges, what we now call proctor's ledge, as the site of the execution. what i only recently learned is that his article caused a furor. pearly had dared to continue -- contradict the great charles upland. feelings were still simmering a decade later, in 1911, when the essex institute announced a walking tour that would begin at the lower ledges, where pearly would speak about why he felt that was the site of the hangings. the salem evening news printed an article which the newspaper editor titled the salem hanging site. in the following day, they printed an irate letter to the editor, from one william nevins, who had also written on the trials. he was shocked.
shocked that the essex institute, of all places, would give any credence to pearly's theories, which were no better than the yellow journalism plaguing our newspapers of today. [laughter] marilyn: this was yellow antiquarianism. [laughter] marilyn: not to be confused with the working conclusions of real w.iquarian, quoting charles upland. and there were plenty of reasons to conclude that the summit was the actual site, but nevins didn't have the time to tell you what they were. [laughter] marilyn: nevertheless, 200 people attended pearly's talks and the walk was a success. a decade later, pearly 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 closer to the trials, though still not eyewitnesses, 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, easier access than the summit, for a public execution, which after all, has to be public. in 1936, the city of salem purchased two adjacent lots on the lower ledges that were available for $500 apiece. and designated this whole as witch memorial land, a rather unfortunate title. and it was to be a public area forever. forever is right in the deed. however, the site was not marked. it was the depression, after all. and since then, anonymous parties have dumped trash on it. the site, the neighborhood, and
a great swath of salem were nearly wiped out by a proposed extension of i-95 in the 1960's. the same decade when historic salem incorporated proposed marking the place of execution. another project that faded when no one involved could agree on the exact location. in 1976, during the nation's bicentennial of the revolution, when local history got attention generally, robert booth rediscovered a crevice on the ledges that pearly had identified as the temporary grave where some of the victims were kept, thrown, in which pearly had clearly described as having been since cleared out so that there was no earth or artifacts in them. this prompted discussion of archeological examination and a memorial, 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 house lots. neither happened. in the 1980's, the city nearly sold the park as surplus land to a high-rise developer, until vigilant neighbors reminded them what the word "forever" meant. [laughter] marilyn: thank goodness for that. and in 1997, i found a clue in the trial papers that pearly had not mentioned. the notes for witch suspect rebecca ames' hearing of august 1962 -- being brought to salem from where she had to have traveled. and she's left in the house below the hill, while her guards pause to watch all the excitement, because there is a hanging taking place. from where she was, she told the magistrates, only hours later at most, she could see folks at the execution. so by itself, 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 weren't 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 pearly and the above information, benjamin wray and chris of the university of virginia applied a computerized analysis program, which certainly didn't exist in 1997, to the area's topography and determined that proctor's ledge is the thing you can see, not the summit. so now the city is landscaping the park land, on proctor's ledge, the correct site. and that 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 will likewise respect the privacy and peace of the site's living neighbors. so there's been a long tradition about that spot that connects us all to the all-too-real tragedies that happened there. traditions that have at last
been proven by science and archival research. and that's not yellow antiquarianism. thank you. [applause] ted baker: well, as moderator, i get a chance to just make a few thoughts on your wonderful ideas. and maybe ask a question or two and then i'll turn it over to you folks too, because i'm sure you want to join in on this very interesting conversation. you know, it is interesting, bethany, you talk about that one site, that one destination. as a matter of fact i'll admit, this semester, when i was teaching my museum studies class, the final, their final exam essay question was, ok, you are the new director of a brand-new museum in salem, which is going to be built somewhere near proctor's ledge, and you have the chance to tell the salem witch trial story. what would you do? and it was very interesting to see some of their answers.
but basically, i guess that's kind of in some ways the dream that a lot of us have, right? because, you know, we have the peabody essex museum in town, which is an amazing world-class library that we're just so lucky to have. but it's got an interesting history, right? 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 very quickly left their mission , and they became an art museum. and art museums are wonderful places. one of my daughters actually is in graduate school, art history, so i don't diss the field, but in some ways, it can be very different than history in that that aren't all that interested in the interpretation the historians might have, right? and so what we see right here is that the peabody essex museum has the -- well, not the ownership, but they have the agreement with the state of massachusetts, they hold for the
state all the salem witch trials documents, over 900 of them i guess it probably is. they also have all these amazing objects that are so important to the 17th century including the , portrait of judge samuel and so on. so in some ways, if they were a history museum, they would have the ability to tell that story and tell it with authority, right? and to tell it right. but they're not. >> with dignity. ted baker: with dignity. but they're not. so in that sense, the organization that has the best chance to do it, and sort of abdicated the moral high ground and the scholarly high ground to do that right. so i'm not sure what, how we do that. i thought about this a bit, as i was in england recently. i always drag my wife to all the different museums and tourist attractions. went to the york viking center
in york, which is really interesting, a sort of controversial place. it is this really good amazing museum, of viking archeological excavations. you also go through part of it, through this reconstructed viking village in this little cart ride underground. so it is sort of like, you know, animatronics vikings and so on. and, ok, you know, it's a little bit different. and some people are sort of poo-pooing that approach. but i'm wondering, would it be possible in salem to do something like this? to make a high-tech modern sort of especially virtual presentation of salem in 1692 and the witch trials, tastefully, with proper moral authority, mixed in with objects from 1692 and replicas? right? i mean it is it's probably -- , 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 think -- i'd like to think that we need something like that
to try to change the narrative, right? but what is interesting to me too is, steve and donna both sort of talking about a late 1900, early 20th century, where it seems like, you know, for that brief and shining moment that was camelot maybe, there was the chance that even though we were witch city, we weren't going to be witch wind chill. -- be witch city. that maybe it didn't have to be that way. it seems to be something -- i want to talk about this. i think there is an ebb and flow even to this day that salem has felt very strong and mixed feelings about what parts of our heritage we want to portray, to whom, for what reasons. right? and even in the creation of gallows hill, maryland there is , this dichotomy, right? there is the ebb and flow. we want to build a memorial. no, we don't. even if it's in the wrong place, we don't want to do this. and particularly i want to mention one thing. you mentioned about the 1936, when the parcel was finally
purchased. that's really interesting. i was actually giving a talk on proctor's ledge. and emily murphy, a friend of many of hours, she is a historian for the park service in salem, very talented historian and curator. emily said, wait a second. i think i know what might have happened. because in 1936, the city of salem, she pointed out, was buying up tracts of land in the city for the creation, years later -- i'm not quite sure how they knew this, what was in the works with our congressmen in washington, but they were planning to create salem national maritime historic site, which of course is the first historic site in the national parks service. if you don't know, salem is filled with many, many firsts. so she kind of she threw out the , question, i don't know. maybe we could 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, no, wait a second. we're the national maritime. maybe the national park service said we don't want to do , witchcraft either, right? this is nowhere near the waterfront, this is nowhere near our theme, so city of salem, you can keep that parcel. i don't know if that happened. don't know. but it does -- it is an interesting sort of twist to it. i think it's like emily said. we'd have to see if we can explore. maybe that's a good internship next year for one of our students is to research that. >> the witch house would have been a departure from what the park service is trying to accomplish from those historic sites. which is really sort of the great march of american civilization. ted baker: right, the dead white man history in many ways. and this is not exactly that shining moment. so maybe we don't want to talk about witches. so -- but i guess that's kind of maybe the question that i throw out to you folks is this whole issue of witch city.
and i guess, in some degrees, it seems like a response to this, it seems like it's our own sort of self-imposed scarlet letter that we have managed to give ourselves. and that we may not ever have built that memorial in 1892 or, you know, or even in the early mid-20th century, or may not have built it at proctor's ledge until now. but to some degrees, to what degree does that whole moniker of witch city, is that our ownership of this or not? and i guess is that is the case, donna, maybe is that necessarily a bad thing? so i guess, my thoughts, are we witch city forever? and is that necessarily a horrible thing? what do you think? donna i know you're just -- ,donna: it's hard for me, because the camera. you know, those of you who know me, i would have a lot to say on this. and i don't really want to say it. [laughter]
donna: but -- but i -- ted baker: i need to put you -- i didn't mean to put you on the spot. donna: but i will say that i like that idea, the self-imposed scarlet letter. i think that's how it started. but i don't think it's that way anymore. i think it's become more than that. i think it's -- and i think that largely has 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. we, we -- tv land put samantha there. you know? ted baker: and donna has tried to get them to remove it, without much luck. donna: no, i just take we have kind of have given up, it seems
to me. and it's obviously economic. i mean, steve is exactly right. i would really like to see the numbers. every -- if you're critical of any of this -- everyone says, but it brings jobs to salem, 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've been here in halloween, but there is so much security. it's also a very expensive enterprise for the city now. so i would really like to see the economics on it, frankly. i think everyone just assumes it's an economic engine for us. i'm not sure that's true. it might be true. but i would argue that it's benefiting a lot of people as peoplelem as well -- maybe more than people inside salem. ted baker: so it's not a good thing? you'd like to get rid of "witch city"? >> there's been so much scholarship about the witch trials. you know, thaad and others, he talks about -- i feel like that
conversation exists, and then salem exists, but the two don't meet for the average person. ted baker: right. right. >> and that's, i think -- i mean, that's where i think a lot of the discomfort is, is that people kind of come, and they spend however much time here, and they leave probably not knowing a lot more about 1692. maybe leaving with the impression that the accused in 1692 were witches. ted baker: yep. depending on where they visit. so, the american public is very interested in the witch trials. but, it is not happening in salem. >> right. next they come here to get their vampire six and then they go home. question,o, thus the it is interesting that you pointed out. salem is this place that people want to come to. it is a destination. and it's associated with the
witch trials. but as kate fox would tell you, when they come here, they're not entirely sure where they're supposed to go. there is no sort of signal place, right? this is it? if you go to boston, you're going to go to the freedom trail. here it's like, i'm here in salem, now what? i think there's the opportunity to try to get people to get that story, and to get it well. but i'm not sure -- first, i'm not sure how we do that, right? >> more history and less halloween. >> more history and less halloween. that's the other premise that's impossible. i think like most of us come i have given up, maryland. i think to some degrees, maybe -- i have given up, marilyn. i think to some degrees, maybe you have to. but, you know, i've gotten to the stage that, oh, we'd love to hear you come talk. or can you appear on t.v. or on the radio? it's like, great, i'd be glad to do that. no, no. we don't want you now. we want you on october 31, right? what i'd
like to do is, okay, i'll do that, but the first thing i'm going to say, there's no connection, right? >> there isn't. >> is there anything we can do, marilyn? >> well, i don't know. >> ha ha! >> you can try to do the history. try to get their attention with it. and hope that they at least remember the sum of that before they get their vampire fangs and fried dough. [laughter] of, steve youot might know better than i do, that peabody essex museum stops displaying the witch artifacts, around the time that haunted happenings and all that, around of the 1970's, 1980's? >> yes. a little bit into the early to mid-1990's. >> they had a little room over to the side. with the documents behind the >> yes. >>with the documents behind the curtains. >> yeah, yeah. >> so that feels like kind of an abdication. >> since they on solved the --
-- since they absolved the history the essex , museum, which was a history museum, shouldn't it be part of their mission to tell the actual facts? this is a rhetorical question. [applause] [laughter] >> okay. people agree. i'm not alone in this. >> what do you make of this? >> i agree completely. i think the opportunity is really for the p.e.m. to step up. they do have all the resources they do have. and they do have houses and buildings that they are not using, and they are refurbishing the old building. i think it is for them in a way, to say, were going to take a leadership position. there will be one of attraction, just one. which will be an authentic, historic goal, using authentic
material. and that that could stand in relationship to all of the other venues that are open. and at least, there will be some place for a historical, academic, thoughtful exhibition. i am sure it would be profitable , i am sure many people would want to see it, as they do other sites. it does not have to be in the new building. it does not have to be in the gallery next to the moving art museums. there should be enough space in town to have an exhibit, a destination, which would greatly add to salem's veracity when it comes to promoting, studying, or offering halloween and witchcraft at the same time. i mean, that balance. her's werei mean to originally pleasure seekers. they saw pleasure, and that is
t pleasure andugh i don't think that was necessarily academic. i think the whole thrust of tourist most of the time will be from pleasurable activity, including vampire, things. i think that will be undeniable. that will be the primary thrust of salem's tourism. i just would really hope that some part of it would become far more authentic. emerson: to get back to your point, when you are talking about the boosterism of the late 19th century, with the creation of witch city and sioux city. where i grew up in worchester county, you had a big chair city. or toytown. there was a neighboring town, pioneer plastic city, and if you go to the local tourist shop they have pink flamingos because this is where they were first
made. invented by a guy there. this is my this whole idea of point, witch city was created in 1890's and it was meant to be a point of local boosterism and pride. maybe it had sort of gotten twisted and co-opted overtime in most unfortunate ways. we could go on talking forever. we have about 20 minutes or so left. i know a lot of people would love to ask questions. >> everyone would like to step to the microphone, please. at even though you are right there, yes, right there. >> i am interested in steve's comment that the witch city in hawthorne sort of merged.
my observation, without any particular evidence, has been that hot third was introduced to start of displaced in the witch city, to bring the image of salem to a higher level. certainly after the salem fire of 1914, hawthorne boulevard was laid out. then in the early the hawthorne 1920's, hotel was built. the house of the seven gables moved the hawthorne birthplace to show that to the public. i have occasionally seen a business that does not say, witch city, but says hawthorne. [laughter] there a hawthorne cleaners at one time? my question is, is hawthorne a part of witch city? or is it an alternative to witch
city? >> great question. steve: i think it is neither. i think they are just on separate tracks. you have the witch city, which we have discussed, and then you have the hawthorne torque -- track, during the early to mid 20th century hawthorne became part of america's literary canon. and every high school student, but after the shakespeare reading, there was a scarlet letter. it was part of american education. it was celebrated as a major author, the house, the house of seven gables, became a primary landmark. i think he was especially important in the creation of the national park. i think the fact that he was a surveyor of customs, i think it was three years, three months and 12 days or something.
he looked out that front window and he saw derby wharf. the original first chapter of the house of seven gables is about the house. the manuscript was found in a safe of the customs house. i think that connection, helped our congressional delegation the the empty customs house first national source site in the country. i think it was political muscle, due to oppression, and hawthorne, which made it all possible. i think everton, -- emerton, she made the house of seven gables a tourist attraction. i don't think she thought of witch city, -- i don't think she city,t -- g, we are witch
and that we would be opposed to it or parallel. i think they said, this is an economic opportunity. here is a cultural resource which we could develop, independently of the witchcraft trials. i don't see them as combining, i think salem as a tourist destination becomes a basket with more than one egg. and i think so probably has several exit in the basket. i mean, it has the maritime, the before,e, and as i said architecture is usually the fourth leg of this. so i think it is a combination of things. so although salem may always be , witch city, of that earlier moniker, it will have other important places to see in it. and they don't displace each other. they don't really compete with each other, i think they just exist separately of each other, that they happen to be in the same place. i don't think they necessarily complement each other either. >> next question. take the microphone, please.
>> i am fascinated by the proctor's ledge background and also this memorial. one of the things about the site though, is that it is quite a walk from the main area of asylum -- of salem. i was wondering, that is the hanging site, but has there been any discussion of creating say a marker for the site of the pressing at howard street, which is again, so much closer to the center of town? emerson: marilyn, you're the expert. marilyn: i wrote an article about this for a geological magazine. it is near the jail or the jail yard the building is, i think the whole block. it is outside. people are watching it.
so it is not away from the public. you want to make a warning for what people are not supposed to do. all of this could happen to you. where the howard street burying ground is is someone's back acreage. there are a couple of stonewalls in the way. you have to go around to get into it through someone's backyard. it turns out there was a pastor next door, there was not a house on it. presumably it was used for cows. it was owned by thomas proctor. >> i think you mean putnam. marilyn: putnam, excuse me, what a difference. [laughter] thank you for that. thomas putnam who's daughters, -- who's daughters, the night -- whose daughters, the night before, had been visited
by a ghost of his victim jacob , goodale who said corey killed me. this is only appropriate because he will die now. if they had to do this on public property nearby, because of the distance, i don't think putnam would have objected. and it was right there, so location, location, location. >> on what is now washington street, towards the train station. >> really? marilyn: what is the --? >> church street. it is behind the jail. marilyn: down towards the river. >> on the other lane, or? >> the same side, on the back. i think the bigger question is, as far as memorials -- again, we are not sure about that place. it is private property. there are bigger questions as to what we do at proctor's ledge
and -- i go back, isn't it too bad it is not the 17th century, when the city owned the land. now what we are trying to do is a balancing act. the site is in the backyard of a neighborhood. there is no parking. there are also traffic problems there. but what the city is doing, in addition to the memorial at proctor's ledge, there is nearby parking at gallows hill park. and there will be a historical panel, put up in their, describing the events that took place. and one of to park, these is -- there will be one specifically on the whole proctor's ledge in gallows hill. there will be another site nearby that is frankly a little bit more accessible. you don't have to worry about being right over. where you can be able to get
that story as well. the corner of happy and healthy will still be there. [laughter] >> one thing this has done for me today is opened my eyes, i am from new hampshire, opened my eyes to the real dilemma 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, sorry, is inevitable. we are a culture of theme parks, and at this point, and i think your point is well taken -- i think 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 a european counterpart to salem? any city in europe and the -- in this situation?
>> there is not. >> so you are the only -- >> we are the witchcraft capital of the world. there are some that are getting there. [laughter] but they are late to the party. [laughter] , in myre just is not presentation we talked about the huge witch trials and other places. i showed very sedate memorials. there is no equivalent. >> our american take on halloween too is different? >> yes. >> we also have the difference that there is an active witch immunity who identify as witches. today. so, i think that is a difference too. emerson: the story gets tangled with neopaganism and the wiccan community who refer to themselves as witches.
which frankly, makes things confusing. it makes for a rich community, but i have to be careful when i say there are no witches. my students say, what about me? another question. [laughter] >> this idea of a place to tell the story of the salem trials. in one spot 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? because, in full disclosure, i am from the landover historical society. because you are talking about the desecration of graves, and this spot, wear something horrific happened. but i think about the places where these people were taken from their homes and accused of , something they could not imagine. what responsibility would there be than to tell those stories,
as well? >> fascinating. >> i think that is where you get into, we talked about this a little bit in the earlier panel of the balancing act between telling a really in-depth, complex, complicated history and telling something that is manageable. you know what i mean? for the tourists. as historians we always want to tell the whole story. ideally that information would be available. that would be a sort of territorial interpretive decision of how long are people doing to stay here? what is the average experience going to be? how far away are we from the fried no? [applause] -- fried dough?
emerson: part of the problem, i know that marilyn could stick to this as well, and trying to -- speak to this as well. in trying to do this, 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. beyond that, here is another 150 to go. it is thanks to margo burns, i use for wonderful list of accused. the problem is, in this case, there are so many compelling stories. 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. to me, we have the basis we could do it. to me, the stories are so compelling. and that is what people like in history, these personal stories. and they are from people from throughout the region, with different backgrounds. some who were born in england,
others born from other places and who arrived here. the problem is, it becomes a territorial choice. to me personally, i think it is our responsibility to tell her -- tell their story here, without a doubt to even if they are from andover. [laughter] andover, that i will say this, what is interesting to me is -- i spent three years at the academy. stacy was there at the same time, and she wrote a book on the salem witch trials as well. i don't think either one of us had a concept that andover had anything to do with the salem witch trials. it could be considered andover's little secret, but maybe that is just the nature of the business. to me part of this is the process of ownership for salem and the whole region, that this is our very conflicted past. marilyn: if there were a museum founded in salem or an exhibit, at least focusing on the 20 would be something. more is known about some individuals than others.
sometimes you're lucky to get birth, death, and marriage, if that. but, at least though if you can , get some of the people and have others recognized from stories, then it grabs you into history. emerson: another way to do it is virtually. i codeveloped an app on the salem witch trials. it allows you to look at different sites, and in the map, it allows you to look up the biographies. -- ihibit i quote curated go-curated in maine -- we are , talking about thousands of people and you cannot tell all of their stories. the exhibit is a touchscreen or you can touch any part of the map and hear a story from someone who lived in the committee. -- in that community. so i think there are ways that we can do that, giving people the options of learning these different stories. if someone wants to write a check for a couple million
the ball rolling, talk to us, afterwards leaves. back there. >> i have been saying this, i am not sure if it is a statement or a question. emerson: i am sure you will get a response. [applause] >> i think what you are saying about having a purpose to the audience and what donna was saying, they are not which is an -- they are not witches, and having the audience in that. as you were saying at the beginning of this whole thing, how do you condense what you do into one hour? a one hour lecture? how do you provide an overview, and is that what your audience of salem is coming for? do they want witchcraft light? witchcraft-lite?
i had such an emotive time at the museum, the holocaust museum, which stayed with me. again, i am not comparing it. but what i got, and this was going back to when i was a got aer, was that you card and it corresponded to a living person. you found outvel more about the person and at the end he found out if they lived or died. that really stuck with me. it took thes like message home, it really hit me. i thought -- fought with having that message that donna was saying, coming back to the fact, are they witches? do you want people to come away from witch city saying -- it's not really witch city? it is just the city of the macabre. if you can separate the macabre from the actual story would be great. the kitsch can have the kitsch. they can have their hats, but they come away with the right legacy.
from my little time in salem, what has done, the personal really shows that. again, it is a statement and a question. emerson: any responses? i like what you said. other questions? done. hang on a second. hold on to that. so much for spontaneity. can we get the microphone over here for him? she has a question. >> i do hope you read i think most of us came today to see what new things might learn, that we do not know before. i think it is the most successful day in that respect. i certainly, as a person who thinks of herself as a his dorian, like the eight -- a
historian, like the idea of having some sort of entity that would tell me the true story is much as we can document of the witchcraft trials. of tworetired employee institutions that have been mentioned i'm happy to see some of my folks that i have worked with here before today. what i wonder if there is a momentum in this group to be applicants of that respect. that is the question i would leave you all with. [laughter] thank you for that one. >> yes, thank you. any responses? it is kind of at uphill battle. right? i think, to me i come back to, i really hope that the genfirmation of proctor's led is a way to trigger that broad
discussion, to get committee support for those kinds of ideas. so that -- not of one full of us will get this done, it will take a whole community to get it done. >> if one is looking for a model for my agar -- biographies, i suggest in petersburg virginia, the national museum of the civil war soldier. where individual biographies are presented. that could get at the whole witchcraft episode. including those who died. accused others who were , and also, the accusers. area,ther people in the -- the judges. but those individual biographies, -- >> how did they do that?
how do they present those? is it through multimedia, or through objects? >> my recollection, it has been some years since i have been there is that the visitor selects a profile to follow. in there. it is at multimedia, little older than multimedia. emerson: some of us are older than multimedia. [laughter] >> but it is effective. now they are doing it -- they may be doing it differently. but it gets at individuals. made,think that the point finding the lives of these individuals, can get us much closer to the whole story. emerson: absolutely. we have time for one or two more questions. over here? >> your preference to the viking center, we have visited.
>> they just reopened it. and it is utter, they told me. >> may be so. it might be an interesting model. they recognize people are coming for different purposes, with different backgrounds. the ground floor, if you will, is a typical walk-through exhibit of maps, artifacts, documents. and then, as you mentioned, in the basement -- the historic level, is a disney-like ride along and animatronic re-creation of a viking village. so, it kind of meets those needs. here is what is left behind. here are the documents. and then they let people experience it. because, going back to williamsburg people want to be a , see it, to feel it. and in some cases smell it. that is what appeals to them. that is what they remember so they leave behind the vampire teeth. emerson: if you have not been to
the viking center, they have a latrine. i have actually had students send me a scratch and sniff postcard of the latrine feature. [laughter] thank you. >> this program is excellent. thank you. >> i live in the neighborhood. i am interested in frank cousins. i actually live on the street, i think, named after him. where can we find out more information on frank cousins? see some of his actual photographs? that is one question. as part of a historic neighborhood association, what can we do to help to create an actual museum that is not somebody screaming at you with dioramas? that is an actual good museum? >> frank cousins is a little elusive.
the peabody essex museum library has all of his photographs, thousands of them. of other a couple smaller libraries, that have digitized somehow. aenever i am going to use cousins photograph, i always go to the duke university's urban landscape collection where there are about 200. >> available online? >> yes. you also have his books, of course. in which most of his photographs are in. historic new england. he had an art company as well. i think i neglected to tell you his reach was national because he was so entrepreneurial. he had the frank cousins art company. everyone wanted pictures of you -- of ye old salem. and he gave them to them. they show up in all of the periodicals in the 1890's, 1910s and 1920's. so historic new england has , digitized his salesman book
with all of his samples. it is all digitized. you can go through it and it is lovely, because you kind of see , and a, of the ye olde few things from the witchcraft in there. what can you do to help? i do not know. >> the work they did in philadelphia and new york. yes, he published books on philadelphia and new york. the new york preservation society, has a little archive of his photographs that you can access online as well. a lot of, if you go through sort of architectural publications from the 1890's and 1910s, his photographs are constantly popping up in them. he really had a big reach, and he was the go to guy for the old would --whether he
whether he had any connection to witchcraft or not. [laughter] emerson: it is 3:00. i want to thank the panel for a great job. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy, visit ncicap.org] interested in american history tv? visit c-span three. you can view archival films, and more. american history tv, at c-span.org. q&a, this tonight, on author talks about his book -- 1968, 1 of the longest and toughest battles of the vietnam war. >> the battle shocked me because the saigon military command was so out of touch with reality,
and they literally got a lot of young americans killed. one of the generals denied that the city had been taken. it was the fact that he continued to denied for nearly the whole time that the battle was fought. as a consequence, he would never conceive the sheer number of enemy forces that were in the city. so, small units of marines and troopers were being art -- ordered to attack from positions that were held by overwhelmingly superior enemy forces in entrenched positions. announcer: tonight, at 8:00 eastern on q&a. tonight, on afterwards, connecticut them a credit congresswoman, -- a congresswoman from connecticut, talks about a program -- waging a battle for the normal. social security -- when social security reached its
lowest point, we had one of reagan, and tip o'neill, who came together and acted, along with congress, to make social security solvent into the future. hands this, wringing of about social security so security -- social security can be self immediately. >> tonight on c-span book tv. >> each week american artifacts takes viewers into archives, museums and historic sites around the country. former president john fitzgerald kennedy was born on may 29, 1917. to mark the centennial of the smithsonian american art museum collected dozens of images that chronicle the life of the 35th president.