Young Sisters Knitting, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1915

Contributed by United Society of Shakers


Young Shakers knitting are, from left, Elsie McCool (1900-1993), Eugenia Coolbroth (b. 1898) and Cora Soule (b. 1900).

Of the three girls pictured, only Sister Elsie McCool chose to remain as a Shaker. Children raised by the community were never compelled to join, but rather given the chance to sign the covenant at age 21.

The other young knitters, Cora Soule and Eugenia Coolbroth, left the community in 1920 and 1947 respectively.

The way that each girl came to Sabbathday Lake is instructive. Her widowed father left Cora with the Shakers; Genie came to the community with her father, Eben; and Elsie was an orphan sent with her three sisters from the State Home in Providence, RI.

Note the camera on the table. Informal picture taking has been part of Shaker life since the late nineteenth century. Communal cameras gave rise to personal photograph albums in which community events and portraits were recorded. Many young Shaker women, including Sisters Elsie and Eugenia, prepared such albums.

The photo was taken at the Sisters' Shop, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village.

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About This Item

  • Title: Young Sisters Knitting, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1915
  • Creator: United Society of Shakers
  • Creation Date: circa 1915
  • Subject Date: circa 1915
  • Local Name: Sabbathday Lake
  • Town: New Gloucester
  • County: Cumberland
  • State: ME
  • Media: Slide from a film negative
  • Local Code: ITE 13
  • Object Type: Image

For more information about this item, contact:

United Society of Shakers
707 Shaker Road, New Gloucester, ME 04260
(207) 926-4597

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