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More Witchcraft!

· Fine Book Collecting,Witchcraft,George Lyman Kittredge,New England,Harvard University

Here is how I started my last musing to kick off October.

In November 1999, Glenda and I went on a Thanksgiving excursion. We were living in Maryland at the time, so this was the American November Thanksgiving weekend. We drove down into Virginia and West Virginia, and the mountainous terrain was spectacular. We went into Lexington, Virginia where there was a nice little bookstore called The Bookery. Wandering through the bookshelves, I noticed a small handwritten sign “Witchcraft” and I bought all the books in the section – maybe four or five. I would imagine that the sign came down after we left.

Here is one of the books that I acquired.

Here is another of the books acquired that day.

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Witchcraft in Old and New England; by George Lyman Kittredge; Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1929.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about this author.

George Lyman Kittredge (1860 – 1941) was a professor of English literature at Harvard University. His scholarly edition of the works of William Shakespeare was influential in the early 20th century. He was also involved in American folklore studies and was instrumental in the formation and management of the Harvard University Press. One of his better-known books concerned witchcraft in England.

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Kittredge also collected folk tales and songs, writing extensively on the folk lore of New England and on the New England witch trials.”

That’s all the reference to his interest in witchcraft. But it was noted that in 1907 he was the author of Notes on Witchcraft. This is an incredibly scarce book and there are no copies available on Abebooks today. But, it does explain the 2 page letter that is pasted inside this work on witchcraft.

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The first edition of this book is very scarce and it has been reprinted a number of times.

It is obviously a scholarly work as evidenced by the fact that of a total of 641 pages, the text is only 373 pages and the balance of the book is small text notes and references followed by a 40 page index.

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My disappointment with this volume is that it is not illustrated.

But this lack of visual delights is made up for in next weeks featured book on witchcraft that has no end of illustrations – it will be hard to choose which ones will accompany the musing!