A Salem Witch: The Trial, Execution, and Exoneration of Rebecca Nurse (2021)

The first full biography of Rebecca Nurse, one of the most well-known victims of the 1692 Salem Village Witch-Hunt, published in 2021 – the 400th anniversary of her birth.

Advance Praise for A Salem Witch:

“Dan Gagnon has written a highly readable and first scholarly biography of Rebecca Nurse, perhaps the most famous of the Massachusetts Salem witchcraft victims of 1692. Meticulously researched, Gagnon traces the history and biography of Nurse and her family through their New World settlement; the dramatic events of her accusation, trial, and final execution; and the later remembrances of her and her legacy in today’s world. In telling the powerful story of Rebecca, Gagnon makes the complex history of the Salem witch trials more easily understood, while at the same time giving us a very good read.”

-Richard B. Trask, author of The Devil Hath Been Raised and Town Archivist of Danvers, Massachusetts (formerly known as Salem Village)

“Daniel Gagnon’s biography of Rebecca Nurse, A Salem Witch, places her life and continuing legacy as well as her death in thorough historical context, unravels some previous assumptions, and suggests new lines of inquiry. The bibliography and notes are valuable resources in themselves.”

– Marilynne K. Roach, author of The Salem Witch Trials, and Six Women of Salem

Published Reviews:

“A well-written look at the judicial misconduct that took place in 1692 and the perfect storm of events that facilitated this awful period in our history. But most of all, it is the story of the Nurse family and its undying love for its matriarch, who they not only stood by in the worst hours of her life, but even after death, getting both her conviction and excommunication overturned and creating a legacy that has outlasted them all.”

Berkshire Eagle

“Anyone with an interest in legal history, law and religion, or both, will find this book an enlightening account of how the processes of justice can be alarmingly frail under emotional, social and political pressure. Some of the factors which were in play in 17th century New England are far removed from our present experience, but many of patterns of behaviour are not. This is an extremely scholarly account, which would be of interest both to those with longstanding knowledge and expertise on the Salem trials but is also accessible and readable enough to make an enticing starting point for further study.”

—Law & Justice

“No matter how much you may have read, there is always something new to learn about the subject, and with Dan’s book, I was not disappointed. I have never read anything that described these topics so thoroughly….. I am not into hard bound books anymore except for the ones I want to keep forever and pass down. This is definitely one of them!”

-Rae Russell Johnson, in About Towne, the newsletter of the Towne Family Association, a genealogical organization for the descendants of Rebecca (Towne) Nurse and her siblings.

Author Presentations and Events

Media Appearances

About the Author

Specters of Salem Village Blog

Recent Blog Posts

Map: Sites in the Life of Rebecca Nurse

Online Historical Resources

The Rebecca Nurse Homestead Museum

Learn more about the only home of a victim of the 1692 Salem Village Witch-Hunt that is preserved and open to the public. The historical museum is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.


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