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Shaker Collection

Image - Shaker Woman

A Shaker woman

Description of the Shaker Collection

The Shaker collection consists of digitized materials related to the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, more commonly called Shakers. Non-digital printed materials can be found in the Special Collections Department of the Hamilton College Library.


Who are the Shakers?

The Shakers were established in New York in 1774 when Ann Lee and a small group of followers emigrated from Manchester, England. Shakers live communally and at one time had villages in New England and New York, but later spread into Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. The movement peaked with approximately 4500 members around 1840. Today there is one active community at Sabbathday Lake, Maine.

The word "Shaker" is most commonly associated with a style of furniture. Shakers were industrious, innovative, and inventive, qualities underpinned by their religion. Shakers believe that the Christ Spirit returned through the vessel of Mother Ann Lee. Converts confess their sins, become celibate, and consecrate their assets to the community. Living the "Christ life" according to these precepts is the goal of the spiritual resurrection of Shakerism. Shakers believe God is biune: male and female. They practiced gender and racial equality. Some Shaker families were vegetarian and were early advocates for abolitionism and women's rights.

The Shaker collection at Hamilton College Library is rich in manuscript, printed, visual, audio/video materials, as well as ephemera and a few artifacts. Major additions, such as the collections of Scott and Elizabeth De Wolfe, Walter A. Brumm, Richard Brooker, M. Stephen and Miriam R. Miller, and Lauren and Julie Stiles, have greatly increased our holdings.

External Resources

Research on site at Hamilton College

To schedule a research visit, please contact us in advance.

Christian Goodwillie, Director and Curator of Special Collections and Archives
E-mail: cgoodwil (at) hamilton (dot) edu
Telephone: (315) 859-4447

Special Collections
Burke Library
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
Regular hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Finding Aid


Manuscripts - on this website

The Current Record of Events from 1792 to 1885 is a community journal for Shaker Village, East Canterbury, New Hampshire, 107 pages. This presentation includes digital images of each page, transcription of the text, and TEI color encoding of all names and places.