Abigail Williams (July 12, 1680 – ?) was one of the initial accusers in the Salem witch trials of 1692, which led to the arrest and imprisonment of over 150 supposed witches.
The Crucible is a 1953 play by the American playwright Arthur Miller. It was initially called "The Chronicles of Sarah Good". It is a dramatized and partially fictionalized story of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Province of Massachusetts Bay during 1692 and 1693. Miller wrote the play as an allegory of McCarthyism, when the U.S. government blacklisted accused communists. Miller himself was questioned by the House of Representatives' Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956 and convicted of "contempt of Congress" for refusing to identify others present at meetings he had attended. It was first performed at the Martin Beck Theater on Broadway on January 22, 1953. Miller felt that this production was too stylized and cold and the reviews for it were largely hostile (although The New York Times noted "a powerful play [in a] driving performance"). Nonetheless, the production won the 1953 "Best Play" Tony Award. A year later a new production succeeded and the play became a classic. It is a central work in the canon of American drama.
Salem is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. The population was 41,340 at the 2010 census. Salem and Lawrence were the county seats of Essex County prior to the abolishment of county government in 1999. Home to Salem State University, the Salem Willows Park and the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem is a residential and tourist area which includes the neighborhoods of Salem Neck, The Point, South Salem and North Salem, Witchcraft Heights, Pickering Wharf, and the McIntire Historic District (named after Salem's famous architect and carver, Samuel McIntire). Salem was one of the most significant seaports in early America.
Featured notably in Arthur Miller's The Crucible, much of the city's cultural identity is reflective of its role as the location of the Salem witch trials of 1692: Police cars are adorned with witch logos, a local public school is known as the Witchcraft Heights Elementary School, the Salem High School athletic teams are named the Witches; and Gallows Hill, a site of numerous public hangings, is currently used as a playing field for various sports. Tourists know Salem as a mix of important historical sites, New Age and Wiccan boutiques, kitschy Halloween, witch-themed attractions and a vibrant downtown that has more than 60 restaurants, cafes and coffee shops. The 15th Annual Retailers Association of Massachusetts awarded Salem as the best place to shop in 2012. President Barack Obama on January 10, 2013 signed executive order HR1339 "which designates the City of Salem, Mass., as the birthplace of the U.S. National Guard.
The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. Despite being generally known as the Salem witch trials, the preliminary hearings in 1692 were conducted in a variety of towns across the province: Salem Village (now Danvers), Ipswich, Andover and Salem Town.
The most infamous trials were conducted by the Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692 in Salem Town. One contemporary writer summed the results of the trials thus: