Elder Delmer Wilson, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1905

Contributed by United Society of Shakers


Elder Delmer of Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village surveying oval carriers, which were a popular product of the fancy goods trade of the Village.

Delmer mastered and perfected the transformation of the lidded oval boxes, which had long been used within the community, primarily for storage of food and herbs, to handled carriers suitable for use as sewing boxes. Delmer became known as "Dean of the Carrier Makers."

His skill was more the result of mechanical aptitude than of craftsmanship or artistry. From his shop journals, it is estimated that Elder Delmer made nearly 50,000 carriers during his lifetime. The Sisters varnished the carriers, lined the interiors with colorful fabrics and attached useful sewing accessories to finish them for sale.

Elder Delmer's workshop was originally at the Great Mill. As Brothers began moving out of the old Brethren's Shop and into the Boys' Shop, Elder Delmer relocated his workshop too. He also set up a photographic darkroom in the building.

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About This Item

  • Title: Elder Delmer Wilson, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1905
  • Creator: United Society of Shakers
  • Creation Date: circa 1905
  • Subject Date: circa 1905
  • Local Name: Sabbathday Lake
  • Town: New Gloucester
  • County: Cumberland
  • State: ME
  • Media: Slide from a glass-plate negative
  • Local Code: ITE 31
  • Object Type: Text and 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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