Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Naked Quaker

Diane Rapaport's second book, The Naked Quaker: True Crimes and Controversies from the Courts of Colonial New England, is due out in October. Based on her examination of court records, she has concluded that my ancestors probably did have sex.

“I think most of these stories could end up surprising to readers who imagine Puritan New England was some drab, dull place where people sat around in church and never had fun ... or sex,” she said. “I think people will be surprised by how feisty the early Colonists were.”

The book’s title story involves a 17th century Quaker woman from Hampton, Lydia Wardell, one of New England’s early Quakers, who showed her contempt for Puritan authorities by taking her clothes off during church services. [Link]
Rapaport's first book, by the way, was the indispensable New England Court Records: A Research Guide for Genealogists and Historians. Anyone whose New England ancestor left a will or dropped her drawers at church should own it.

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