FOR more than a decade, the Colonial Society of Massachusetts has sponsored periodic conferences devoted to the illumination of specific areas of life and living during the colonial era of America. Each conference, in turn, has resulted in one or more volumes published by the Society and subsequently distributed by the University Press of Virginia. Thus, the series to date has explored in considerable detail the intricacies of American colonial architecture, furniture, medicine, music, prints and printmakers, and seafaring. To these is now added Seventeenth-Century New England. Others volumes concerning colonial law and music are forthcoming in the not-too-distant future.

A brainchild of the late Walter Muir Whitehill, for many years the Society’s principal shaker, mover, and motive spirit, these conferences and their attendant volumes have filled numerous gaps in the existing literature and have tapped the knowledge, the fruits of continuing research, and the current thinking of many a preeminent scholar in the various fields they have addressed. Each conference and volume, however, has borne the mark not only of Walter Muir Whitehill and his successor as the Society’s Editor of Publications, Frederick S. Allis, Jr., but also of the individual conference organizers, who have labored diligently as well to gather, organize, scrutinize, and prepare the papers for publication.

As the Society’s Associate Editor deputed to undertake the overall production responsibility for the present work, I must commend the energy and dedication of Messrs. David Grayson Allen and David D. Hall. The “two Davids,” as they have become known to Fritz Allis and me, have constantly striven for excellence and have had no small part in the editing process as a result. We are both in their debt for their monumental labors, and I, especially, thank them both for their patient assistance over the past eighteen months.

Seventeenth-Century New England is an unusual volume, as I am sure its readers will agree. That it is, is entirely due to the doggedness of these two scholars and to their colleagues who have thoughtfully kindled lamps in many an obscure corner of our colonial legacy.

Philip Chadwick Foster Smith

Associate Editor

Bath, Maine

September 1984