Using full transcripts of dozens of letters, along with extracts from diaries and other private papers, Robert C. Winthrop created a detailed account of the life and family of John Winthrop, first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, from his birth down to 1630, when he sailed for New England.
Robert C. Winthrop was a descendant of Governor John Winthrop, and had in his possession most of the sixteenth and seventeenth century documents that he utilized in creating this documentary biography. Most of these documents are now owned by the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston.
The story told by Robert C. Winthrop has importance at many levels of the history of the time. First, of course, the narrative has primary importance for the Winthrop family itself. Given the large number of surviving documents, we learn far more about the day-to-day details and the inner lives of the members of this family than we do for most families of the period. Although the Winthrops were near the top of the social ladder at the time, many of their experiences would have been common to all English men and women of the period.
Beyond that, though, this account is essential for the understanding of the Great Migration to New England. Winthrop thought long and hard about the reasons for and against making the move to New England, and put these thoughts to paper. At the same time that he was agonizing about this decision, he was also recruiting his neighbors from southwestern Suffolk to make the voyage to New England in 1630. Many of the men and women seen in the letters published in this volume were members of the Winthrop Fleet of 1630, and helped found Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Summary by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG
for Archive CD Books USA
The CD includes high-quality images of every page as originally published (not just a transcript) and is fully searchable using Adobe Acrobat Reader (version 5 or later recommended) on any Windows, Macintosh, or Unix computer. The data on this CD is completely self-contained, and requires no installation.