I'm a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, and a graduate of Carleton College and Harvard University. I speak about and write books and articles on seventeenth century Puritan history. I live on Cape Cod.
By paying close attention to primary historical records and cross-correlating them carefully I uncover a dimension of depth that gives life to the persons, trends, and movements which played vital roles in shaping our history -- and which arguably continue to shape attitudes and actions today.
I find that one topic leads to another. So I keep looking at the fascinating saga of early New England, with an eye to what I might explore next: perhaps mini biographies of understudied people -- the sachem Chickataubut? A Jewish merchant from Holland stranded in early Boston? An African living in Springfield in the 1650s?
Press the PYNCHON BOOK tab at the top to find out more about my study of a remarkable leader in early New England, the merchant and founder of Springfield, Massachusetts, and author of the first book banned (and burned) in Boston. Discover William Pynchon's origins in England, his role in colonizing Massachusetts, and his return to England under a cloud. The first book-length biography of an important American founder.
Press the MOXON BOOK tab at the top for more information about my transcription of coded notes which the teenaged John Pynchon took of sermons by the Rev. George Moxon in the 1640s. This symbol-by-symbol transcription into a word-for-word text lets us listen in on weekly sermons from the earliest years in the Connecticut River Valley. Hear the encouraging -- and sometimes challenging -- messages to the growing plantation of Springfield.
“David Powers' new book makes an important contribution to the long and venerable tradition of early New England studies. His subject, William Pynchon, was one of the movers and shakers of the period. His achievement, however, goes beyond biography to more general matters: life in and around western Massachusetts, the cross-cutting textures of Puritan belief and practice, the very shape of life at ground level in the "world we have lost." The research is thorough and deep. The book's architecture is effective, even elegant. The prose, too, is excellent: smooth, clear, with many pleasing touches. Altogether: a remarkable accomplishment!”
-- John P. Demos, Professor of History emeritus, Yale University, New Haven, CT
“David Powers’s careful, learned, and imaginative scholarship brings us yet another step closer to the lived experience of New England’s first settlers. Like no other study, this one takes us right into church and sits us down in a pew; we can almost hear the spoken words of the sermon, still ringing in the ears of the hearers. Powers has provided a unique and valuable addition to our understanding of the ordinary people who made Puritan New England possible.”
-- Margaret Bendroth, Executive Director, The Congregational Library and Archives, Boston, MA