Primary source documents are an essential piece in the historian’s tool-box. They allow us to step into the shoes of those who came before us and gain insight into the everyday lives of Shakers.
Below are writings that were composed by Shakers or those who had been members of the Society. These examples emphasize daily life in the community and the experiences of Shaker children. Several Shaker villages are represented here including Canterbury and Enfield in New Hampshire and Sabbathday Lake in Maine.
Special thanks to Mary Ann Haagen for providing some of these wonderful excerpts for students and teachers.
For additional primary source information, please visit the Shaker Studies section of our website.
Almira Allard – “Memory from Her Shaker Childhood”
Nicholas Briggs – “The Honest Shaker’s Cheese”
Nicholas Briggs – Canterbury and Enfield Youth Meet at Andover
Excerpts from Rhoda Carter’s “Journey of Life”
Henry Cumings -“Agricultural Industries”
Henry Cumings – “The Sap Bush”
Henry Cumings – “Two Busy Summer Days at the Church Family”
Letter From Ella Briggs to Marion Carroll- October 1911
Letter from Melissa Chase to Henry Greene
Letter of Canterbury Shaker Girl’s Shaker Experience
N.H. Journal of Agriculture – “A Day with the United Society of Shakers at Enfield
Reminiscence of Alberta MacMillan Kirkpatrick