Current Developments

New Publication: Eastham Records

Strangers and Pilgrims, Travellers and Sojourners.

THE TOWN RECORDS OF EASTHAM DURING THE TIME OF PLYMOUTH COLONY, 1620-1692 transcribed and edited by Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs - A new publication from the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum - now available in America, hard cover. Quarto page size (8.25 x 10.75 inches), case bound, 480 pp.; one map of Eastham. The book is available directly from the printer: Lulu, at: http://www.lulu.com/shop/jeremy-dupertuis-bangs/the-town-records-of-eastham-during-the-time-of-plymouth-colony-1620-1692/hardcover/product-21651836.html The records of Eastham, founded by the Pilgrims at Nauset on Cape Cod in 1645, are published here for the first time. A calendar of summaries of the documents includes Eastham records from the Plymouth Colony Records series, thus giving a unified chronological overview of the town's documented development. Eastham's commerical horse breeding and early whaling regulations bring peaceful relations with the Nauset Indians into focus and contribute to understanding why the Nauset Indians did not rebel against Plymouth Colony in King Philip's War in 1675.

Also just published: THE TOWN RECORDS OF SANDWICH DURING THE TIME OF PLYMOUTH COLONY, 1620-1692 This book presents transcriptions of the manuscript town records of Sandwich on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts, during the time of Plymouth Colony, 1620-1692. Full transcriptions in the original chaotic order are clarified by summaries of each entry in the form of a calendar of documents.

Available directly from the printer, Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/shop/jeremy-dupertuis-bangs/the-town-records-of-sandwich-during-the-time-of-plymouth-colony-1620-1692/hardcover/product-21640259.html

STRANGERS AND PILGRIMS, TRAVELLERS AND SOJOURNERS AVAILABLE AGAIN! In 2009, Jeremy Bangs' new history of the Pilgrims in Leiden appeared, marking the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims' arrival in Leiden in 1609. Strangers and Pilgrims, Travellers and Sojourners - Leiden and the Foundations of Plymouth Plantation can be ordered from the publisher - The General Society of Mayflower Descendants, in Plymouth, Massachusetts. To order the book, call: (508) 746-5058.

Strangers and Pilgrims thoroughly revises our views of the origins and development of the Pilgrim adventure; and the book shows how their Leiden exile influenced the new society the Pilgrims created in Plymouth Colony. Read what people are saying:

"It is hard to adequately express the importance of this massive volume, the life work of a singularly gifted historian whose profound knowledge of Puritan theology and historic art and architecture, coupled with an unprecedented mastery (by a writer in English) of Dutch sources, enabled him to compose this unsurpassed in-depth analysis and description of the Dutch context of the Pilgrim experience. Unlike Philbrick’s more popular treatment, Bangs’ work is not a “quick read,” although his style and acerbic humor make it far more accessible than standard academic stodge. It is, however, the answer to the prayers of anyone seriously interested in the life and times of the Pilgrims, and especially of their formative sojourn in the Netherlands, as well as in England and America. It effectively supersedes the Dexters’ England and Holland of the Pilgrims (1905), previously the major source for the Dutch experience, and its extensive digressions – often comprehensive theses in themselves – fully elucidate the doctrines, politics, and culture of the era in which the Pilgrims were actors." from a review by James W. Baker, Chief Historian at Plimoth Plantation for 25 years, former Director of Alden House, and author of an excellent historical survey of America's Thanksgiving commemorations, Thanksgiving, The Biography of an American Holiday(UPNE, 2009). The review is published online: http://www.sail1620.org/articles/the-pilgrim-story-20

"For an encyclopedic treatment of the Pilgrims' experience in Leiden before migrating to Plymouth, you might peruse Jeremy D. Bangs, Strangers and Pilgrims, Travellers and Sojourners: Leiden and the Foundations ofPlymouth Plantation (Plymouth, MA, 2009), but know that the author is openly contemptuous of the Pilgrims' religious beliefs." from "Suggested Reading" (p. 199) of The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History (Intervarsity Press, 2013), by Robert Tracy McKenzie, historian of Civil War era Tennessee, chairman of the history department of Wheaton College (in Illinois).

"In this incredible work Jeremy Bangs rips away nearly four centuries of encrusted knowledge about the Pilgrims. Not content to rely on 'received knowledge' about this separatist community, Bangs has spent a lifetime searching them out in archives - Dutch, English and American. The result is an extrordinary reassessment of these people. Never mincing words (Bangs is refreshingly direct), his scholarship is the starting line for any historian interested in the Pilgrim story or early American history writ large. The bibliography alone (107 pages) is worth whatever price this book carries. Forget what you think you know about the Pilgrims. Read Bangs!" - William M. Fowler, Professor of History, Northeastern University, formerly Director of the Massachusetts Historical Society, author of several historical books, including biographies of John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Silas Talbot, and Under Two Flags, a Naval History of the Civil War.

"No one knows more about the Pilgrims than Jeremy Bangs. This exhaustive study is a rich trove for those seeking to learn more about their lives and thoughts in England, the Netherlands, and America." - Francis J. Bremer, Professor of History, Millersville University, author of John Winthrop: America's Forgotten Founding Father.

"A summary of the main emphases of this exceptional study cannot do justice to Bangs's superb achievement. This book translates for experts and lay readers alike the gnarled points of Calvinist and Catholic polemics in Amsterdam and Leiden; the grand national struggle among Hapsburg Spain, Jacobean England, and Holland; and the plight and destitution of commoners in their quest for freedom of conscience in the Low Countries and ultimately in New England. Bangs brings to the discussion an abundance of new material ... reconstructs the challenges of everyday life within the walls of Leiden: the demands on families to live in crowded hovels and cook meals in cumbersome fireplaces, to compete in new trades with Dutch artisans, to rear children in their evolving Separatist faith, to negotiate the purchase and sale of dwellings and the use of church buildings, and to participate in an unfamiliar social and political environment. ... a fascinating, even suspenseful, tale. Bangs strips away layers of images and assumptions constucting the Pilgrims as mere effigies of our own unrealized fears and aspirations, allowing them to finally emerge as people of flesh and blood." from a review in The New England Quarterlyby Reinier Smolinski, Professor of Early American Literature and HIstory, Georgia State University, scholar of Cotton Mather.

Bangs' study of the Pilgrims' experience in Holland is an invaluable addition to the scholarly literature. He not only reviews what is already known (albeit much of it published only piecemeal) but brings new findings and fresh insights. Bangs' book reinforces the significance of the years spent by the Pilgrim leadership in Leiden and will be a fascinating eye-opener for Mayflower descendants and American history enthusiasts alike." Peggy Baker, former Director and Librarian of the Pilgrim Society/ Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth.

"Strangers and Pilgrims" is an absorbing and compelling combination of intellectural history and vivid writing. Dr. Jeremy Bangs has given us another splendid chronicle of Pilgrim history." Judith H. Swan, Governor General, General Society of Mayflower Descendants.

A review of Strangers and Pilgrims by Stacy Wood is published online at: http://www.sail1620.org/history/articles/142-review-strangers-pilgrims.html


A WESTERWALD JUG now sits on our table. Grey and blue stoneware pottery from Germany - Westerwald ware - was shipped down the Rijn (Rhine) River and sold in large quantities in The Netherlands. Some pieces were made specially for the Dutch market, including, for example, the coat-of-arms of Amsterdam. The Leiden American Pilgrim Museum has exhibited examples of such Westerwald pottery since the museum's opening. Fragments of Westerwald pottery have been found in Plymouth excavations (the Eel River site, known as RM), as well as in Martin's Hundred in Virginia and in the Dutch colony of New Netherland. The Leiden American Pilgrim Museum has recently acquired a Westerwald jug that incorporates design elements like those in the Plymouth fragement. Our jug is very similar to the Virigina example, which is illustrated in Ivor Noel Hume's Martin's Hundred, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982, ill. 7-4. Our newly acquired pot is shown next to a wooden plate, a coopered beer mug, and a knife, all ca. 1600.

A grey Westerwald stoneware jug.

A Great Screw. Height of block: 24", extendable to 36".


Come to the museum and discover what a real great screw is!

William Bradford recalled the furious Atlantic storm that broke the main beam of the "Mayflower" in her voyage to New England in 1620. Fearing leaks, Master Christopher Jones and his crew inspected the hull by candlelight, rib by rib and plank by plank. Reassuring the Pilgrims, they "affirmed they knew the ship to be strong & firm under water; and for the buckling of the main beam, there was a great iron screw the passengers brought out of Holland, which would raise the beam into his place; the which being done, the carpenter & master affirmed that with a post put under it, set firm in the lower deck, & otherwise bound, he would make it sufficient. And as for the decks & upper works they would caulk them as well as they could, and though with the working of the ship they would not longe keep stanch, yet there would otherwise be not great danger, if they did not overpress her with sails. So they committed themselves to the will of God, & resolved to proceed."

The Great Iron Screw inspired a myth that has entered Pilgrim historiography with almost unconquerable persistence. J. Rendel Harris asked in 1922, "what the emigrants were doing with a great iron screw. It would have been one of the last things a company of exiles would have laden themselves with." But he turns the question around, to ask why the Pilgrims had owned such a screw in Holland, since they "were not likely to have secured it as a new acquisition when they were departing." For Harris, "The answer is obvious; it was part of the printing press, which the Leyden authorities had not carried off. There was no object in leaving it in Leyden; the two printers on board the ship (Brewster and Winslow) might have been reluctant to part with it. Perhaps they even thought that in a few years' time they would be able to import some type, and begin once more their civil and spiritual propaganda. It is certainly curious, this story of the great screw, and, up to the present, has never been elucidated." [...] The idea that the Pilgrims took a printing press to America in 1620 was thus born in Harris's imaginings inspired by the anniversary year 1920 and first published in 1922. [...] Quite a different answer can be given to Harris's rhetorical question (what were the emigrants doing with a great iron screw). Joseph Moxon, in his book Mechanick Exercises (first published 1678-1680) describes all the tools used in "house-carpentry." He remarks, "There are also some Engines used in Carpentry, for the management of their heavy Timber, and hard Labour, viz, the Jack, the Crab, to which belongs Pullies and Tackle, &c. Wedges, Rowlers, great Screws, &c." The term "great screw" thus referred to a particular tool. Needed in the construction of a home, a Great Screw could raise the roof, as Moxon informs us. [excerpted from Bangs, Strangers and Pilgrims, Travellers and Sojourners pp. 607-609] "

Grimestone - Petit, A Generall Historie of the Netherlands London, 1608.

The museum collections have also been enriched with Edward Grimestone's English translation of Petit's A Generall Historie of The Netherlands, published in London in 1608. William Bradford mentions this book (even citing the particular page number) as the source for information about the Dutch law establishing civil marriage, which the Pilgrims adopted in the laws of Plymouth Colony. This was the first step towards legal separation of church and state. Our copy (on long-term loan) is the only known example in Holland.