Daughters of Eve
Pregnant Brides and Unwed Mothers in Seventeenth Century Essex County, Massachusetts
Published October 29th 2012 by Routledge – 216 pages
This study examines cases of fornication, bastardy, and paternity cases brought before the courts in Essex County, Massachusetts between 1640 and 1692. Prosecution and conviction rates, sentencing patterns, and socio-economic data, as well as attitudes, were analyzed to determine that women who bore illegitimate children were punished more severely than their male partners, and regarded with contempt by the majority of women.