Marion L. Starkey

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Marion Lena Starkey (April 13, 1901 – December 18, 1991) was an American author of history books, including The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry Into the Salem Witch Trials.


After working as a newspaper editor for the Saugus Herald and teaching at the Hampton Institute and at the University of Connecticut at New London, she became a full-time writer.[1] She began writing as a child, but did not take up writing full-time for many years. Her books include: The Tall Man from Boston, The Visionary Girls: Witchcraft in Salem Village, Cherokee Nation, The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Inquiry into the Salem Witch Trials, Land Where Our Fathers Died, Striving to Make It My Home, Congregational Way and The First Plantation: A History of Hampton and Elizabeth City County, Virginia, 1607-1887.

The Devil in Massachusetts[edit]

Motivated in part by the question of how the Holocaust could have happened, Starkey delved into the Salem archives to explore the underpinnings of an earlier, American tragedy: the Salem Witch Trials. Working from court records, she created a psychological portrait tracing the development of the event from child fantasies to societal hysteria, eventually publishing in 1949 The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry Into the Salem Witch Trials. Arthur Miller is said to have used this work in his research for The Crucible.[2]


  1. ^ "Marion L. Starkey". Penguin Random House. Retrieved 2017-08-11.
  2. ^ Kate Bolick (October 27, 2015). "Salem's Reign of Terror". The New Republic. Retrieved 2017-08-11.