Brides from Bridewell is the story of the female felons from England and France who were sent to Colonial America to serve their prison sentences. It sets forth the harsh, often inhuman, penal conditions then prevailing in those lands, and the fact that these thousands of feminine felons constituted one of the primary marital elements in the mothering of early America. Many women whose offenses were minor were deported. Others were confessed criminals. The facts constitute one of the neglected (or hidden) retrospects to the American past. Descent from the Mayflower lineage is stressed by genealogists; but the fact is forgotten that many unknowing present-day Americans of colonial descent derive their American beginnings from female prisoners sent against their will.