Public Program- John P. Demos

Lectures and Performances
Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 7:30pm

"The Unredeemed Captive: Her Journey, and My Own" by John P. Demos

2011 Robert C. Baron Lecture

Book cover for The Unredeemed Captive
The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America was published by Knopf in 1994, and won the Francis Parkman and Ray Allen Billington prizes in American history. Since then, it has become a model for new approaches to writing narrative history. In The Unredeemed Captive, Demos offers a striking retelling of the aftermath of the 1704 French and Native American raid on the Puritan settlement in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Reverend John Williams, his wife, and five children were captured during this raid, forever altering the bonds that held the Williams family together. Although Williams and four of his children were later released, his wife died on the march. His fifth child, Eunice, converted to Catholicism and married a Native American in Canada. Despite the ongoing attempts of Eunice's family to persuade her to return to Massachusetts, she chose her new life, and her new family, thus remaining "unredeemed." In this lecture, Demos will reflect on the book's career, as well as its impact on his own career as a scholar and teacher of generations of early Americanists at Brandeis and Yale.

John Demos is the Samuel Knight Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University. Demos's award-winning books cover topics ranging from family life in Plymouth County, Massachusetts to witch-hunting in the Western World. These works include A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony (1970), the Bancroft Prize-winning Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England (1982), Circles and Lines: The Shape of Life in Early America (2004), and The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-hunting in the Western World (2008). Demos is a member of the Antiquarian Society, and he will be the Mellon Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence during the 2012 calendar year.

Named in honor of Robert C. Baron, past AAS chairman and president of Fulcrum Publishing, the annual Baron Lecture asks distinguished AAS members who have written seminal works of history to reflect on one book and its impact on scholarship and society in the years since its first appearance.

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