LaPlante, Eve. Amrican Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defied the Puritans. New York: Harper Collins, 2004.
Anne Hutchinson was a remarkable colonial woman who first came to Massachusetts in the fall of 1634. She is less remembered for her contributions in the new world as a wife, mother of fourteen, and midwife to many than for her eventual trial and banishment from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. I was interested in writing a paper on a colonial woman and chose Anne Hutchinson after a "Google" search turned up a very good review on a recent book about her life. I have been intrigued by the fact that the Puritans came to America to practice their religion freely, yet allowed no freedom to question their doctrine. The book, American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defied the Puritans, is an excellent examination of this lack of religious freedom and the life of a woman that intersects it.
Anne Marbury Hutchinson was the second born child of a Cambridge educated, outspoken Anglican preacher named Francis Marbury. She was born at a time when he was openly quarrelling with church leaders about their "catholic tendencies" and the selection of "ill-educated Bishops that in turn chose poorly trained ministers" (LaPlante, p. 33). Francis was eventually put on trial and accused of being a Puritan. He won his trial but was removed from his church and sentenced to be at home. This time was to have a big impact on the lives of his children, especially Anne.
Francis Marbury was considered to be a gifted preacher and teacher. It seems he was quite passionate about it. When he no longer had a public forum for these activities he focused his attentions in this area on his children. He taught them to read from the bible, the book of martyrs (a book about those that died for the protestant cause), and the actual transcripts from his trial. One would assume that Anne was quite bright and inquisitive and received a lot of her father's attention. Even privileged girls of this time period were not given this kind of education. Eventually Francis Marbury was allowed to resume preaching, but the education of his children continued. This education would serve her well at her future trial; she knew scripture as well as any minister and this helped her greatly when confronted by the powerful Puritan church leaders.
Anne also spent a good deal of time with her mother who was a midwife. She began to accompany her at a young age to births of women in their village. As a young woman she became a midwife. She continued her midwifery in the New World and was highly regarded by the women in every community in which she lived. They looked up to her and sought her advice in matters that were spiritual in nature. Without the training by her mother in midwifery she would not have had this kind of contact and influence in the lives of so many women. Anne was able to put her ideals and...