John Winthrop’s name is famously synonymous with the Puritans who founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony. But a wide-ranging research project by Jacob Pomerantz ’12 shows the Pilgrim father’s influence on the British colonies was felt far from Plymouth Plantation.
Pomerantz spent two semesters last year in Wheaton’s library poring over archival letters sent and received by Winthrop, his sons and their associates, piecing together how they spread their wings from Massachusetts to Connecticut, the Caribbean, and England—and the vital role played by written correspondence in connecting their distant societies.
“Within one generation, the Winthrop family went from being an unremarkable Puritan family living in England to a family that spanned the globe,” says Pomerantz, a history major who grew up in New Jersey. “The Winthrops were not just founders of Massachusetts, but also participants in the development of a much broader English Atlantic world.”