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Lawyer Mines Court Records to Pen ‘Naked Quaker’

Posted Mar 6, 2008 11:14 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Contrary to what we now tend to think, bad behavior was common among the Puritans during the 1660s, according to Diane Rapaport. And she should know: Long-ago court records have proven a treasure trove for the Massachusetts lawyer, who has used them to pen not only a more traditional historic tome but a racy account of the spicier details of the Puritans' daily lives.

Purloined pigs, a disbarred lawyer and at least one naked churchgoer are among the misconduct she discusses in The Naked Quaker: True Crimes and Controversies from the Courts of Colonial New England, reports the Boston Globe.

"There are hundreds of stories from the court records that I could write," Rapaport says. "Anyone who thinks that the litigation explosion is a modern phenomenon needs to think again. It started back in the 1600s. People had more of a sense of freedom over here to protest and speak out, and they really made use of the courts to do that."

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