Society Religion and Spirituality Christianity Church History North America United States Shakers
The Shakers, officially known as the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Coming, were an offshoot religious movement which originated in England in 1747. Called the "Shaking Quakers" for their trembling from religious fervor, the movement bloomed after adherent Ann Lee emigrated to New York and founded the upstate colony of Watervliet. The movement peaked in the mid-19th century in the Northeast before falling into decline. Shakerism holds that God has dual natures, male and female; reflected in this are beliefs in the equality of the sexes and familial communism. The Shakers were also pacifists, believed in the communal ownership of property, and participatory worship involving singing, marching, and open confession of sins. Shakers were probably best known, however, for their furniture and crafts, and in their belief in total celibacy-- a belief which required a constant stream of new converts to maintain the sect. The Shaker communities peaked in membership around 1860, but by the late 1990s only the New Gloucester, Maine community remained.
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Canterbury Shaker Village
Cultural museum, restaurant, and store (Canterbury, NH). virtual tour, contact information and online shopping.
Connecticut Cane and Reed Company
Offers Shaker herbs and crafts.
The Enfield Shaker Museum
(Enfield, NH) Visitors' information; bibliography.
Hancock Shaker Village
(Pittsfield, Massachusetts) Cultural museum: virtual tour, online shop.
(Maine) A profile of the only remaining active Shaker community.
Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village
Historical background of the United Society of Believers (Shakers), links to museum, library archives, calendar, and the herb catalog.
Shaker Heritage Society
A non-profit historic preservation group which runs interpretive educational programming about the Shakers and their influence on the region.
Shaker Manuscripts On-Line
Online versions of some of the documents published by the early Shakers in times past, including those discussing their beliefs, prophecies and inspired transmissions from the Godhead.
Shaker Museum And Library
Explains museum collections, library resources, special events, nearby accommodations, and gift shop offerings at site devoted to local Shaker history.
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
A restored Shaker community and living museum. Includes a profile of facilities which include dining, lodging, and crafts.
Shaker Villages and Museums
(Old Chatham, NY) Visitors' information and calendar.
Shaker Workshops - Who are the Shakers?
Article on Shaker culture and craftsmanship. Includes references and links.
Smithsonian Magazine: Living a Tradition
Includes article, music clips, recipes, and links. (April 01, 2001)