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Historical Dictionary of the Shakers
By Stephen J. Paterwic
The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, commonly known
as the Shakers, followed Mother Ann Lee to the United States in 1774 when life
in England became difficult. In the United States, they established several
colonies whose governing principals included celibacy and agrarian communal
living. Even at its peak, however, Shakerism claimed only about 4,500 members.
Today, except for one active community in Sabbathday, Maine, the great S5Fhaker
villages are diminished, but the Shakers left an enduring impact on the
religion and culture of the United States.
The Historical Dictionary of the Shakers relates the history of this
fascinating group through a chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography,
and over two hundred cross-referenced dictionary entries on Shaker
communities, industries, individual families, and important people. Every
definition, biography, and point of history was submitted to the Shakers at
Sabbathday Lake for their review before it was included for publication. As
such, the voice of the contemporary Shakers is found in the dictionary, and
they have given it their unequivocal endorsement.