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A Shaker Family Album: Photographs from the Collection of Canterbury Shaker Village

By Scott T. David R.Swank
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Book Details
  • Author: Scott T. David R.Swank
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Brand: UPNE
  • Published: 1998-02-15
  • Edition: 1st
This collection of more than 200 images captures the essence of Shaker life in poses both pious and playful, and records how individual identity was not erased by the community but instead thrived within it. Carefully chosen from thousands of archival photos and from a drawerful of snapshots saved by Eldress Bertha Lindsay, one of the last Shakers to live at Canterbury and herself a consummate photographer, these pictures - most of them never intended for publication - give new life to the Shaker lifestyle. These farmers, artisans, seed-producers, and celibate guardians of orphan children lived in what David R. Starbuck calls an unusually humane environment and maintained a faith that was "remarkably resilient and longlasting."

These images show Shakers apple-picking, haying, and cooking, but also record the more creative and recreational aspects of Shaker life: excursions to other Shaker villages; boat rides on nearby lakes; theatricals complete with costumes and scenery. A group of women makes popcorn balls at Christmas time; another stands before 500 cords of wood stacked against a cold New Hampshire winter; Elder Henry and his bees work busily; several women romp in the snow outside the schoolhouse; the "Tenuvus" harmonica band poses after a concert. This wide range of subjects, Starbuck says, provides "convincing proof that the Canterbury Shakers were a hard-working but fun-loving people, filled with enthusiasm for their way of life and engaged in nearly all of the same activities as the world's people."

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