Sewall. The Diary of Samuel Sewall, 1674-1729 (2 volume set)

Sewall. The Diary of Samuel Sewall, 1674-1729 (2 volume set)

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Sewall, Samuel. The Diary of Samuel Sewall, 1674-1729 (2 volume set); Newly edited from the Manuscripts at the Massachusetts Historical Society by M. Halsey Thomas. New York: Farrar , Straus and Giroux, 1973. First Edition, First Printing. ISBN: 9780374139520. [8664]

Two volumes in gray cloth, 9 1/2 x 6 inches, bindings very good with light blotches/smudges at the tops of the spines, texts fine - clean and unmarked. With a very good original slip case, light soil, all edges intact. Very good. Hardcover.

Samuel Sewall (1652-1730), American Puritan, graduate & teaching fellow of Harvard College, jurist most famous for his participation in the Salem witch trials. He was an early critic of chattel slavery, publishing The Selling of Joseph in 1700. For many years he was chief justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court of Judicature.

He began to keep a diary soon after he graduated at Harvard College, "towards the end of 1673. His last entries were made fifty-six years later, three months before his death. Diary-keeping was common among the Puritans, and hundreds of these records have survived. Most of them are bare and factual, or documents of spiritual self-analysis, but Sewall set down the fullest existing record of how life was lived in his time, and it can be read for pleasure after three centuries because he wrote of so much that interests us today. Nearly all the Puritan diaries were honest: under the eye of an all-seeing and all-knowing God it was useless to try to cheat. The idea of creating a favorable image of himself probably never occurred to Sewall; diaries of that sort came with more sophisticated times. Neither is it likely that Sewall ever envisioned publication, since no diary was printed until John Evelyn's appeared in 1818...Because of his devotion to record-keeping, more details and facts of his life are preserved than for most of his contemporaries, and we have nearly everything, even his weight. In fact, Sewall revealed himself so fully that those who have undertaken biographies have usually disclosed more about themselves than about him." - Preface.