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The Three Codes of Adonijah Bidwell

April 27, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Learn about the codes of Adonijah Bidwell

Join the Bidwell House Museum on April 27th for a fascinating look at the code writing of Adonijah Bidwell with scholar David Powers.

Reverend Bidwell left copious shorthand notes in code and cipher, and because his short-writing changes over time, unpacking his notes presents unique challenges. In this talk, Mr. Powers theorizes that in addition to the two obvious ciphers Bidwell employed, he proposes that in addition to his written notes, Bidwell employed a third code – not lexical, but semantic. Through a curious metaphorical interplay, he ostensibly spoke of the devil while his actual subject was the American Revolutionary War.

David M. Powers is a native of Springfield, Massachusetts. He was educated at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he majored in Latin. His graduate studies were at Harvard University and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. In 2013 David tackled the “short-writing” of the Rev. Adonijah Bidwell, and he was able to decipher some pages at that time. His current research expands upon his prior discoveries. David is the author of two volumes: a biography of the Puritan founder of Springfield, Massachusetts, Damnable Heresy: William Pynchon, the Indians, and the First Book Banned (and Burned) in Boston (Wipf & Stock: 2015), and Good and Comfortable Words: The Coded Sermon Notes of John Pynchon and the Frontier Preaching Ministry of George Moxon (Wipf & Stock: 2017).

This program will be held via Zoom and details for how to access the event will be sent via email a few days in advance.


April 27, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


The Bidwell House Museum

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