Cover image for Pillars of salt : an anthology of early American criminal narratives
Pillars of salt : an anthology of early American criminal narratives
1st ed.
Publication Information:
Madison, Wis. : Madison House, 1993.

Physical Description:
xvi, 368 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Contains articles previously published between 1699 and 1796.
Pillars of salt / Cotton Mather -- The declaration & confession of Esther Rodgers -- The vial poured out upon the sea / William Fly -- The faithful narrative of the wicked life and remarkable conversion of Patience Boston -- A short account of the life of John *** alias Owen Syllavan -- A brief account of the life and abominable thefts of the notorious Isaac Frasier -- The confession and dying words of John Jubeart -- The life and confession of Herman Rosencrantz -- The life, last words, and dying speech of Levi Ames -- An authentic and particular account of the life of Francis Burdett Personel -- A journal of the life and travels of Joseph-Bill Packer -- The dying declarations of James Buchanan, Ezra Ross, and William Brooks -- The American bloody register / Richard Barrick, John Sullivan & Alexander White -- The life and confession of Johnson Green -- A faithful narrative of Elizabeth Wilson -- Life, last words, and dying confession of Rachel Wall -- Sketches of the life of Joseph Mountain, a Negro -- The confession, &c. of Thomas Mount -- The confession and dying words of Samuel Frost -- The narrative and confession of Thomas Powers, a Negro.
Contains articles previously published between 1699 and 1796.


Material Type
Shelf Number
Book PS648.C7P54 1992 1

On Order



By collecting and presenting thirty-two examples of crime narratives ranging from the late-seventeenth to the late-eighteenth centuries, Williams explores the public ritual of capital punishment in colonial America.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This anthology of criminal narratives originally published between 1699 and 1796 is valuable primary source material, important to the study of 17th- and 18th-century America. In his excellent critical introduction, Williams (English, Univ. of Mississippi) explores the stylistic conventions of this genre. His commentary on the role of the printer is well worth noting. The criminal narrative was immensely popular in colonial America, where thousands of spectators witnessed public executions and thousands more devoured the printed versions. The executions were carefully staged rituals of ``sin and salvation''; condemned criminals served as warnings to the multitude. Toward the late 18th century, changing economic and social conditions refocused the narratives as a source of entertainment. With excellent source notes and a bibliography, this work is enthusiastically recommended for American history and literature collections.-- Lesley Jorbin, Cleveland State Univ. Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.