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Mather, Cotton, 1663-1728



  • Existence: 1663 - 1728

Biographical Note

Cotton Mather was born in 1663, in Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was the son of Puritan minister and Harvard College President (1685-1701) Increase Mather and his wife Maria Cotton. He entered Harvard College at age twelve and graduated with his master's degree at eighteen. He was ordained in 1685 and devoted himself to preaching, prayer, and publishing academic work. He served as minister at the Second Church in Boston from 1685 until his death. Mather is well known for his involvement in the Salem witch trials of 1692, and his research into the devil, witches, and possession. He published Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions in 1689, where he chronicled the account of a thirteen-year-old he believed to be possessed by the Devil. While not directly involved in the trials, Mather's education and writing on the topic made him an expert, and his counsel was sought during the trial. He published over four hundred works on Christianity and science during his lifetime. Cotton Mather died in 1728.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Boston College collection of Cotton Mather letters


Comprised of three letters written by Cotton Mather and addressed to Chief Justice William Stoughton.

Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research; digital version also available.

Dates: 1692