Date of Award


Call Number

RC155.5 .D47 2005

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


American New England Studies

First Advisor

Kent Ryden

Second Advisor

Ardis Cameron


Lyme Disease, 17th century Massachusetts - disease, American & New England Studies


This study looks for evidence that Lyme disease is an old affliction that predates its "discovery" in Connecticut in the nineteen seventies. It analyzes the role that Lyme disease may have played in the history of English settlement in Massachusetts during the seventeenth century. Early settlers at Plymouth and in the Boston area described sicknesses that they suffered from at contact as being the result of starvation and scurvy. In 1692, the residents of the Salem Village area were describing physical and mental afflictions that they felt were caused by witchcraft. Some of the seventeenth-century symptoms are very similar to those that are suffered during Lyme disease.