Diane is an experienced public speaker and has presented more than 150 public lectures and workshops—at colleges and universities, libraries, historical and genealogical groups, museums and bookstores, and on TV and radio programs. Her lively programs include:

“The Naked Quaker and other Tales from the Courthouse”

Diane brings New England history to life with true court cases—amusing, poignant, shocking—about our feisty colonial ancestors. In the title story, a Quaker woman walks into Puritan Sunday meeting and drops her dress as a protest tactic. Another case features the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather of President Obama!

“Finding Your Ancestors in Court Records”


Court records offer a wealth of information for tracing ancestors and regional history, but these valuable resources remain underutilized. Learn how to find and use court records—from the 17th to 21st centuries—in courthouses, archives, books, microfilm and the latest computer sources.

“Scots for Sale"

The English Civil War brought hundreds of Scottish prisoners to New England in the mid 1600s. These captive Scotsmen, sold to English colonists, labored at the Massachusetts ironworks, at sawmills in New Hampshire and Maine, and at towns and farms throughout the region. Diane reveals the surprising story of these unwilling exiles.



“The Many Faces of Early Colonial Slavery: True Stories from New England”

Diane traces the lives of forgotten African Americans and other people enslaved in colonial New England during the 17th and early 18th centuries. These surprising true stories, drawn from research in unpublished court records and little-known archives, reveal new perspectives on northern slavery and race relations.


n addition to these topics, Diane will prepare customized talks or in-depth workshops tailored to the interests of your audience. Please contact Diane for more information.

     What Audience Members are Saying:

“Thank you for presenting your wonderful program, The Naked Quaker. All of us in the audience came away with a clearer understanding of crime and punishment as practiced in the 17th century, as well as a deeper appreciation for our current judicial system!”

Jane M. Hennedy, Director
Old Colony Historical Society

Taunton, Mass.

“What a hit you were! Our attendees were enthralled with “The Naked Quaker” and your presentation. Thank you, Ms. Rapaport, for all that you did to make our 2008 Series such a resounding success.”

Sara Murphy
and Publicity
Sweetser Lecture Series

Wakefield, Mass.

“Many thanks for your visit to the Library and your thoroughly interesting and engaging discussion of the crimes and controversies of our colonial past. As they say, “the more things change…."

Anne C. Peters
Director of External Relations
Social Law Library
Boston, Mass.

“Thank you for a fabulous program last month at Forbes Library! The crowd loved it and we can’t keep your book on the shelf.”

Julie H. Bartlett, Archivist
Forbes Library  Northampton, Mass.


“I can’t tell you how much your wonderful presentations enriched our understanding of the 17th century, and this site. Your research was focused and passionately presented, and we were thrilled to have you.”

Bethany Groff
North Shore Regional Site
Historic New England
Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm Newbury,

“You're a wonderful speaker—lively, interesting, articulate, and enthusiastic. It was a real pleasure for me to listen to you and I know others felt the same because they told me so.”

Laurie Beckelman, President
Women’s National Book Association

“That was a memorable talk last night. Thank you so much. Your multimedia material was excellent and I for one felt that I was back in the 17th Century.”

Jonathan Frank,
Scots’ Charitable Society of Boston

“Diane, I was very much impressed with your presentation and your knowledge of the facts. The audience was obviously engaged. A terrific job.”

Malcolm Hamilton
New England Regional Genealogical Conference 2005Portland, Maine

“What a delightful and informative evening you gave us. I appreciated the clearness of your illustrations—the first time I had seen a presentation with PowerPoint slides. We all learned something last night thanks to all your work.”

Jean Nall, President,    Wrentham (Mass.)  Historical Society

“A wonderful way to begin the Dublin Seminar. Your elegant visuals during your presentation have made me vow to transform my classroom lectures. Your well-chosen images focused hearers’ attention excellently; you were a hard act to follow!”

Ruth Herndon, Associate Professor of History
University of Toledo, after the 2003 Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife in Deerfield, Mass

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   © Diane Rapaport, 2014. All rights reserved.