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The Colonial Church Records of the First Church of Reading (Wakefield) and the First Church of Rumney Marsh (Revere)

James F. Cooper and Kenneth P. Minkema, eds.
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Long dismissed as conventional and antiquarian, church records are actually unparalleled sources for historians offering information on a wide range of topics, such as the founding and evolution of churches, popular involvement in religious institutions and practices, modes of church governance, deviance, and resistance, and the interactions of churches—not to mention revealing information on significant moments in the lives of laity and ministers alike. This volume includes two of the finest sets of church records from the colonial era of Massachusetts history thus far unpublished. The Reading church records, in particular, are unique because they cover the entire period prior to the American Revolution, while the Rumney Marsh records cast light on the often-neglected period of 1715 through 1757. In addition, these records illuminate the otherwise unknown lives and activities of common folk, white and black, men and women, who debate, bicker, admonish, exhort, and uplift each other.