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The History of Witchcraft


WE PARTNERED with the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois to present “The History of Witchcraft” on October 29, 2020. The event went viral, reaching more than 2 million people worldwide. All 500 tickets  for this free event “sold out” in just a few days. Due to unprecedented demand, we broadcast live via Facebook and YouTube, with a total of 3,000 viewers tuning in during the presentation. The featured speakers were curators Cait Coker and Ruthann Miller from the Rare Book & Manuscript Library who specialize in medieval and early modern literatures and cultures. Our event host was Business Librarian Madeleine Wolske.

The History of Witchcraft explored European witchcraft from the medieval period through modern popular culture. Drawing on 16th and 17th century manuscripts, books, and herbals,  discussion included the case of the Lancashire, or Pendle, witches whose arrests, trials, and executions captured the attention of the day. The presentation was followed by a lively Q & A with questions shared by witchcraft fans from around the world.

>> Find history of witchcraft titles at the library

Champaign Public Library offers monthly webinars for job seekers, entrepreneurs, Crafty Adults, and anyone who wants to improve their tech skills. You’ll find archived recordings on the library’s YouTube channel.  


Presenters: Dr. Cait Coker is co-editor of the Women in Book History Bibliography, author of numerous essays on the history of genre, popular culture, and women in publishing. Dr. Ruthann Miller is  visiting curator at the University of Illinois Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

(1 hour, 45 minutes)


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