Recuperating Cotton Mather, one school child at a time

At The Anxious Bench, Agnes Howard notes how difficult it is to recuperate Cotton Mather’s reputation. The point was brought home because of her daughter’s school project. Howard, a professor at Gordon College, writes:

“The difficulty of translating Cotton Mather to a general audience was brought home last year when our daughter chose him as the subject for a school project. Each child in the fifth grade had to dress up and present a biography of an American worthy who lived between 1650 and 1850. But what to tell her classmates, besides the obvious attraction of that name?  (He was named after his grandfathers John Cotton and Richard Mather, both first-generation Massachusetts ministers.) She found herself talking about witchcraft and smallpox, regular fixtures of Mather biographies.”

He also, as evidenced by the picture of her daughter’s costume, had a pretty great wig.

— Daniel Silliman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *