My interest in the Shakers began in the late 1960’s when I first visited Pleasant Hill, Ky with my KY family. Here we were introduced to the Shakers at a meal of their classic recipes. This village operated from 1805-1910 with about 500 members at its’ peak. Today the village has been restored and is a beautiful, peaceful place to visit.

                   THE SHAKERS

The Shakers are a religious community which came to the United States in 1794 with a woman, Ann Lee as the head of the sect. Their formal name---The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Coming---was soon shortened to “Shakers”. During the Shaker church services, singing and dancing was a way of expressing their love of God and as they twirled around, the World’s people called them Shakers. Between 1794 and 1805, the following communities were established: Watervieliet, NY; Sabbathday lake, Maine; Gorham, Maine; Alfred, Maine; Canterbury, NH; Enfield, NH; Tyringham, MA; Shirley, MA; Hancock, MA; MT Lebanon, NY; Pleasant Hill, KY;  Union Village, O; and North Union, O. Other communities soon followed until there were 25 villages from Florida to New England to Ohio and Kentucky.

As a weaver and historian, I became interested in the Shaker textiles--particularly their hand woven linen towels and weft twisted rugs. These weavings have been reproduced by my students and are today on display at several Shaker museums. In 1981 I was asked to weave some of the Shaker items for the Metropolitan Museum’s Shaker room. In this room can be seen a bed with a reproduction Shaker wool blanket and linen pillow cover. Handwoven Shaker towels  are in another part of the room.