Brown-Bag: Communicating Terror in Early New England

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Terror ubique tremor: Communicating Terror in Early New England, 1677-1713

Katherine Grandjean, Wellesley College

This program investigates two concurrent stories: the wars plaguing New England’s northern frontier around the turn of the eighteenth century and, in the same years, the rise of the press. Between the 1670s and 1710s, the borderlands of northern New England were repeatedly convulsed by violence.  French and Indian raiders doggedly punished English towns, snatched captives, ambushed farmers in their fields. And, for better or worse, the news spread widely. Although printing had been present in New England since the 1630s, it was only in the latter part of the century—as the most terrific frontier violence was unfolding—that it truly took off. To what extent did the appetite for news of imperial warfare drive the rise of print publication? What appeared in print concerning the border raids—and how did these items circulate? Following the spread of terror in early New England suggests new ways to gauge the effects of imperial warfare in early America.