Abstract. This article presents the results of a study of New England first colonists of the 17th century known as the Massachusetts Bay Puritans and the New Plymouth Pilgrim Fathers who symbolize national ancestors of the United States in the light of historiographic discussions that developed in the 20th century and have not subsided to this day. The mythologized images of the first New England settlements’ founders have been living on in the historical memory of the American nation for four centuries. During this time two groups of colonists have worked their way from intense competition for the metaphorical “birthright” up to a kind of “diffusion”, which resulted in the formation of a collective portrait of the first colonist – the bearer of “truly American” spiritual and moral values. The author believes that the images of the first colonists continue their further transformation, despite the fact that they have the status of the nation’s ancestors. This is facilitated by a critical reassessment of the national myth, initiated by overcoming the traditional perception of the past (“white, male and Protestant”) on the wave of the rise of memory studies and expanding the series of interpretations by including the experience of those who previously found themselves on the sidelines of historical reconstructions.
Keywords: Pilgrim Fathers, Puritans, New Plymouth, Massachusetts, colonists, memory, USA.