Michael Wigglesworth was born on October 18, 1631 in
Yorkshire, England, the son of Edward Wigglesworth and Ester
Middlebrook. In 1638, the family moved to America, New England
to join the growing community of Puritans. Michael studied
at the new University of Harvard where he graduated in 1651.
He taught until 1654 and then he became a minister in Malden,
Massachusetts. He was ordained in 1656. As a Puritan preacher
he struggled with the thought that he could do everything
but actually preach. He wrote several times in his journals
about his feelings of inferiority. He confused and disappointed
his congregation. The congregation appointed a replacement
for him, however, this man stole funds from the Church.
Wigglesworth was then reinstalled as the minister and was
invited to preach. In 1663, Michael Wigglesworth studied
medicine. He became a doctor whilst remaining active as
a preacher. In addition he was a poet; something which gave
him a great deal of joy.
Michael Wigglesworth died on June 10, in Malden 1705.
On his gravestone was written that this man "was a
doctor of the soul and the body". He was married three
times. First to his cousin Mary Reyner, and then after her
death to Martha Mudge and finally after her death to Sybil
He published "The Day of Doom" in 1662, the
book that we show here. This book was a poetic description
of "the great and last judgment". The book was
the first bestseller in America, and had no less than 10