January 28 - 7:30 pm (Berwick Academy) - "The Naked Quaker: True Crimes and Controversies from the Courts of Colonial New England” – Lawyer and historian Diane Rapaport takes us into the lives of our ancestors, revealing how they behaved and spoke, in amusing, poignant & shocking true stories from pre-Revolutionary court records.
Court records from before the American Revolution can bring alive the passions and concerns of New England’s early European settlers more than three centuries after the emotion-charged events that brought them to court. Using these abundant court records, lawyer and historian Diane Rapaport will pass on some of the amusing, poignant and shocking true stories at a lecture 7:30 pm Thursday, Jan. 28, at Berwick Academy’s Jeppesen Science Center on Academy Street. Admission is free, and refreshments will be served by volunteers.
On court days in colonial New England, folks gathered from miles around to listen as local magistrates convened to hear cases. Abundant records from these hearings allow people today to learn how ordinary people behaved and spoke in pre-Revolutionary times.
Rapaport, a former trial lawyer, has made a new career as a writer and speaker. Her first book, “New England Court Records: A Research Guide for Genealogists and Historians,” won 2007 Benjamin Franklin Awards from the Independent Book Publishers Association for Best History Book, Best Reference Book, and was a finalist for Best New Voice in Nonfiction. Her “Tales from the Courthouse” column for New England Ancestors magazine is a three-time winner of Excellence in Writing awards from the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors. She lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.
This event is part of the Old Berwick Historical Society's 2010 series of talks, walks and historical events. The series, supported by a grant from Kennebunk Savings Bank, includes seven monthly evening presentations as well as other local history events around South Berwick, including the society's Counting House Museum.