By Alice Earle
Alice Morse Earle was a social historian of great note at the turn of the century, and many of her books have lived on as well-researched and well-written texts of everyday life in Colonial America. Curious Punishments of Bygone Days was published in 1896. It is a catalog of early American crimes and their penalties, with chapters on the pillories, stocks, the scarlet letter, the ducking stool, discipline of authors and books (egad!), and four other horrifying examples of ways in which those who transgressed the laws of Colonial America were made to pay for their sins.