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In Time and Eternity: Shakers in the Industrial Age

This slideshow contains 49 items
1
Meeting House, Dwelling House, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1915

Meeting House, Dwelling House, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1915

Item 6910 info
United Society of Shakers

The two buildings symbolize the blending of the old and the new at the Sabbathday Lake community. In contrast to the traditional Meeting House designed by Brother Moses Johnson (1752-1842) of Enfield, NH, the Dwelling House was designed by the Portland architectural firm of Fassett and Stevens and built under the supervision of George Brock also of Portland.

Groundbreaking took place on April 24, 1883 and the community ate its first meal in the 40 foot by 80 foot, five story building on Thanksgiving Day 1884.

The windmill in the background pumped water from a well to a water tower. In the foreground is the community vegetable garden.


2
View of Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village

View of Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village

Item 6746 info
United Society of Shakers

The December 17, 1879, entry in the Sabbathday Lake Church Journal records that "Elder Otis (Sawyer) arrived late this evening with an artist who has come to take a view of our village to insert in the forthcoming 'History of Cumberland County'." The history containing Mr. Goist's illustration was published in 1880.

The vantage point for this view was the property of the former Square House family, which was situated between the Church and Poland Hill families. Together the three families comprised the Sabbathday Lake (West Gloucester) Shaker community.

At the time of Mr. Goist's visit, total membership at Sabbathday Lake was 70, consisting 21 brothers and 49 Sisters.


3
Birds'-eye view of Alfred Shaker community, 1880

Birds'-eye view of Alfred Shaker community, 1880

Item 6735 info
United Society of Shakers

The 1880 Alfred Church Journal records that on January 29th "Phares F. Goist the Artist came today and took a Bird's eye view of our beautiful Shaker Home which is to be inserted in the forthcoming 'History of York Co'."

Visible from the left to the right are the Church family and Second Family and in the distance, the disbanded Third or Gathering Family. At the time 19 Brothers and 36 Sisters resided at the community.


4
Stone Dwelling House, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1915

Stone Dwelling House, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1915

Item 6740 info
United Society of Shakers

When the third Maine Shaker community located at Gorham closed in 1819, the remaining members moved to Poland Hill. Serving as the Novitiate Order of the Sabbathday Lake Shaker community, the Poland Hill Family took in potential converts. By 1887 there was insufficient membership to warrant the maintenance of two families.

Therefore, members of the Poland Hill Family moved down the road to the Church family. In 1899 the property was sold to the Rickers, proprietors of the Poland Spring Hotel and bottling works.

In the background is the Brethren's Shop, which had originally served as the first Dwelling House at Poland Hill. In 1853 work was begun on the new stone dwelling. It proved to be a monumental project and was not dedicated until May 25, 1879. The resulting financial burden was one of the factors leading to the closing of the Poland Hill Family.

The dwelling House was gutted by fire in 1955. Today, a cemetery is the last evidence of this once-thriving Shaker family.


5
Second Dwelling House, Alfred Shaker Village, ca. 1903

Second Dwelling House, Alfred Shaker Village, ca. 1903

Item 6748 info
United Society of Shakers

On August 2, 1901, the 1795 Dwelling House, "one of the most perfect examples of Shaker architecture. Simple in design, yet stately and beautiful in its purity of line," according to Sister Mildred Barker, was destroyed by a fire, which began in a defective chimney. The fire spread to the Meeting House and Ministry's Shop across the road with similarly devastating results.

Out of the ashes was built a new dwelling complete with its Edwardian adornments and fenestration. On June 23, 1913, it, too, burned to the ground. This time the culprit was a teenaged girl who had recently been taken in by the community.

The Third Dwelling House blended the contrasting architectural styles with its two predecessors. Although extensively remodeled, the Third Dwelling House still stands at Alfred.


6
View from the Garden Hill, New Gloucester, ca. 1907

View from the Garden Hill, New Gloucester, ca. 1907

Item 6627 info
United Society of Shakers

This panorama shows most of the buildings at the Church Family, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village. From left to right are the Mill complex, School House, Carriage Shed, Ministry's Shop, Dwelling House, Meeting House, Garden seed House, Cow Barn, Brethren's Shop, Spin House, Trustees' Office, Ox and Horse Barns and Hired Men's House. Obscured are the Girls' Shop, Sisters' Shop and Herb House. Other landmarks of note are the community's orchard and vegetable garden and in the background, Sabbathday Lake.

This view is a composite of two photographs and was probably also taken with a panoramic camera which accounts for the odd perspective. Panoramic views created by composite printing or by the use of special panoramic cameras were particularly popular from the late nineteenth through the early twentieth century.


7
Canal Street, Lewiston, ca. 1900

Canal Street, Lewiston, ca. 1900

Item 6739 info
United Society of Shakers

To the right are the Hill and Bates Mills, which were built about the same time as the Shaker Great Mill (1853) at Sabbathday Lake. Unlike the Shaker Great Mill, which produced a variety of goods, these Lewiston mills specialized in the manufacture of textiles. Much of the production of the Shaker Great Mill was sold in Lewiston. The city was also an important market for fancy goods and agricultural produce from the Poland Hill Family.

Photo from "Lewiston and Auburn, Their Manufacturing Industries and Attractions," courtesy of the Androscoggin County Historical Society.


8
Looking up Congress Street, Portland, ca. 1905

Looking up Congress Street, Portland, ca. 1905

Item 6731 info
United Society of Shakers

Only thirty miles from Sabbathday Lake, Portland was an important urban center to the Shakers. As early as the 1790s bolts of linen cloth woven by the Sisters were sold in the city. Later Portland became an important market for Shaker herbs. Fancy goods such as jewelry and sewing boxes, candy, pen wipes, potholders, stuffed toys and dolls were sold in several of the city's hotels and gift shops into the 1950s.

A frequent trading partner of the community was the Edward D. Pettengill Company, distributors of Shaker Pickles, Horse Radish and Ketchup. In addition, many of the supplies the community required were purchased in Portland.


9
Sisters and girls, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1902

Sisters and girls, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1902

Item 6733 info
United Society of Shakers

Pictured from left to right are: back row: Sisters Clara Stewart, Amanda Stickney, Mamie Curtis, Katherine McTigue, Lizzie Bailey, Laura Bailey, Sarah Fletcher, Jennie Mathers, Ada Cummings and Claire Chace; front row, Rosamond Drake, Ethel Corcoran, Grace Freeman, unidentified girl, Irene Corcoran, Iona Sedgley, unidentified girl, Emma Soule and Emma Freeman.

Although organized as celibate religious communities, Shakers still made provisions for the raising of children. By this time, most of the children who entered the community were orphans. They were placed in either the Girls' Shop or Boys' Shop, apart from the adults in the Dwelling House. Caretakers looked after the children, supervising their education, work and play.

Front porch of the Girls' Shop, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village.


10
Brothers and boys, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1910

Brothers and boys, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1910

Item 6623 info
United Society of Shakers

Pictured from left to right: Elder Delmer Wilson, Brother Stephen Gowen, Charles Durrett, John Warren Callahan and Pup.

Warren Callahan of Malden, MA, was brought to Sabbathday Lake by his grandparents at the age of twelve in 1907. Born in Montpelier, VT, in 1900, Charles Durrett came to the community from Portland in 1909. Sister Aurelia Mace, keeper of the Church Journal at the time, observed that Charlie was "very small for his age but as smart as a cricket." Neither boy officially joined the community. Pup was Elder William Dumont's pet dog.


11
Sisters and young girls, Alfred Shaker Village, ca. 1927

Sisters and young girls, Alfred Shaker Village, ca. 1927

Item 6744 info
United Society of Shakers

Pictured from left to right: back row: Sisters Ethel Peacock, Edith Gardner, Eva May Libby, Harriett Coolbroth, Etta Goodwin, Grace Philbrook, Minnie Greene, Dorothea Page and Della Haskell; front row: Lillian Healey, Helena Lovely, Mabel Lovely, Frieda Coffin, Ellen Greene, Helen Page, Carol Coffin, Eleanor Philbrook and Avis Todd.

Note the number of Sisters wearing glasses. Eyeglasses were part of the medical care deemed so important by the Shakers. The Shakers welcomed modern medical care. In time, herbal doctors like Elder John Vance were replaced by professional physicians and surgeons and Shaker village Nurses' Shops were discontinued in favor of hospital care in Portland and Lewiston. The Shakers also practiced preventive medicine, paying strict attention to the cleanliness of their farms, soundness of their diets and ventilation and lighting of their buildings.

Of the eight Sisters pictured here who remained Shakers, six lived at least into their 70th year.

Church Family, Alfred Shaker Village


12
Shaker group portrait, ca. 1893

Shaker group portrait, ca. 1893

Item 6741 info
United Society of Shakers

Pictured from left to right: back row: Sisters Ada Cummings, Nellie Love and Sarah Fletcher middle row: Sisters Amanda Stickney, Elizabeth Haskell, Aurelia Mace, Eldress Harriet Goodwin and Laura Love; front row: Fannie Simpson and Laura Bailey.

Jennie Eastman was a photographer from Boston who visited the community on several occasions. According to the Sabbathday Lake Church Journal, on this day she photographed the Sisters individually, as well as in a group.

Having subjects glance in different directions was a common convention of Victorian photography.

Note the habits worn by the Sisters, particularly the variety of designs and patterns. Shaker dress was neither drab nor entirely uniform. Especially colorful were kerchiefs like the one worn by Eldress Harriet. By this time, however, most Sisters preferred to wear a yoke over the shoulders rather than a kerchief. Another alteration of the costume took place in the mid-1890s when wearing of the bonnet became optional.


13
Young Sisters Knitting, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1915

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

Item 6743 info
United Society of Shakers

Left to right: Elsie McCool (1900-1993), Eugenia Coolbroth (b. 1898), 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


14
Sisters Ada S. Cummings and Lizzie Bailey, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1915

Sisters Ada S. Cummings and Lizzie Bailey, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1915

Item 6625 info
United Society of Shakers

Girls' Shop, Sabbathday Lake. The furnishing of a Shaker room has been aptly described as falling between the starkness of a prison and the ostentation of a boarding house. In time, decorations - within reason - were permitted; note for instance the knickknacks on the shelf. Nevertheless, simplicity and straightforwardness are still indicated in this photograph.

Both women are framed by plain architectural background rectangles that divide the room into organizing quadrants. Within this setting, the upright positions of the Sisters convey dignity and strength, attributes seldom revealed in contemporary photographs of women.

The difficult balancing of tradition and modernity may have been the greatest challenge to Shakerism. Take, for example, the sewing machine pictured. Like most labor-saving inventions, it was readily accepted by the Shakers. To keep their "hands at work," the Sisterhood developed a fancy goods industry that serviced the needs of other women who owned sewing machines.

Oval carriers like the one in Sister Lizzie's lap were sold as sewing baskets, each outfitted with a pin cushion, needlebook, emery and bee's wax. The irony is that through this process of adaptation, Shakerism has come to be identified more with material products than the underlying religious principles.


15
Dwelling House dining room, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1905

Dwelling House dining room, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1905

Item 6629 info
United Society of Shakers

Like most Shaker activities, dining was an orderly affair. Brothers and Sisters ate at separate tables. The low-back chairs were designed to slide underneath the dining tables after meals for added space.

Settings of four, so that each member of the square had access to serving dishes, made possible the eating of meals in silence.

Shaker cooking was distinguished by its simplicity and wholesomeness. Fresh produce from the barns, gardens and orchards, eggs, dairy products, vegetables and fruits, seasoned with homegrown herbs, were the staples of the diet.

Note the gaslights that had recently been installed by Elder Delmer Wilson.


16
Brother Stephen Gowen, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1910

Brother Stephen Gowen, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1910

Item 6737 info
United Society of Shakers

While posed in the conventional style of early 20th-century photographs, the picture reveals a great deal about Shaker life. First, although they belonged to a religious community, Shakers were permitted time for personal reflection and study. The very nature of their faith dictated the need for quiet introspection. The creative wellspring of solitude transformed mechanics like Elder Delmer into painters and farmers like Brother Stephen into poets.

Br. Stephen sent the following to Sister Mildred Barker: Live for those who love you, For those whose hearts are true, For the heaven that smiles above you, And the good that you can do.

Second, the contents of Elder Delmer's desk indicate that much time was also spent attending to business. As the number of Brothers at Sabbathday Lake decreased, the burdens of operating the farm and mill fell increasingly to Elder Delmer.

Undoubtedly, a portion of each day was spent at this very desk recording daily events in diaries, which he faithfully kept until a few weeks before his death in 1961.

Original photo taken in Elder Delmer's room, Dwelling House, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village


17
Going Blueberrying, Alfred

Going Blueberrying, Alfred

Item 6738 info
United Society of Shakers

Driving the wagon at the Alfred community is Brother Stephen Gowen; behind him is Sister Etta Goodwin. Second from the left is Eldress Harriett Coolbroth.

Note the utility pole in the background. Since the Alfred community was powered by gas and not electricity, it is probably either a telephone or telegraph pole.


18
Girls at the Gazebo, Sabbathday Lake

Girls at the Gazebo, Sabbathday Lake

Item 6902 info
United Society of Shakers

Pictured from left to right: Elsie McCool, Ruth Miller, Eliza McCool, Leila McCool, Emma Freeman and an unidentified girl.

Speaking from first-hand experience both as a child and as a caretaker, Sister Mildred Barker has written: "Life was not all work for Shaker boys and girls, for there was always much pleasure to be shared within the fellowship of the community. Picnics, swimming, hiking, sleigh rides, apple and corn husking bees-all of these were a part of growing up in a Shaker community."

The Gazebo was built in 1895 by Elder Delmer Wilson to house a swing made for the girls by Elder Henry Green. It stood between the Girls' Shop and the Sisters' Shop in the background.


19
Boys Sledding, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1900

Boys Sledding, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1900

Item 6736 info
United Society of Shakers

Pictured from left to right: Walter Chace (b.1887), Milan Corey (b.1888) and Hiram Bailey (b.1888).

This picture was taken a few yards to the left of the Boys' Shop. Behind the boys are the Cow Barn and the Greenhouse. The Greenhouse was built in 1896 by Elder Delmer Wilson and Brother Chellis Wing (b. 1876).

The 15 by 50 foot building was kept warm by a homemade heater fueled by cordwood. Hot water circulated through 500 feet of 2-inch iron pipe. Approximately 2,000 boxes of cabbage and tomato plants were raised for sale each year.


20
Pageant, Sabbathday Lake

Pageant, Sabbathday Lake

Item 6732 info
United Society of Shakers

In addition to work and play, pageantry was another important aspect in the raising of Shaker children.

Pageant themes generally dealt either with nature, as in this picture taken at Sabbathday Lake, patriotism or religious holidays.

Traditional pageants celebrating the Nativity and Resurrection were performed at Christmas and Easter respectively.


21
Sabbathday Lake Quartette

Sabbathday Lake Quartette

Item 6628 info
United Society of Shakers

Left to right: Claire Chace (b.1884), Laura Bailey (b. 1882), Lizzie Bailey (b.1886), Mamie Curtis (b. 1883).

Among the most significant contributions of the Shakers is their rich musical legacy. Much of their worship is expressed through inspired "gift" songs.

The Quartette reflects a new use of music within the community, for entertainment. As part of this trend, prohibitions against musical instruments were relaxed.

Clubs such as the Quartette were formed to train young people in the skills of singing, playing instruments and elocution.

Careful presentation of the subjects is evident in this photograph. The Sisters have been posed so that their varying heights form a gentle arc that counteracts the visual rigidity of the background and verticality of their dresses.

Uniform hand and head gestures reinforce the unity of the group. The use of foreground flowers with a draped candle stand produces the sense of a social rather than a religious gathering.


22
Christmas Tree and Sister Mamie Curtis, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, 1916

Christmas Tree and Sister Mamie Curtis, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, 1916

Item 6734 info
United Society of Shakers

From the December 25th, 1916, entry of the Sabbathday Lake Church Journal: "We were gladdened this morning by the children singing Christmas carols all around the family before breakfast. Tonight we have a beautiful Christmas Tree. All day was one round of joyousness and every heart here was made glad and happy. Before the gifts were distributed the young people gave us another very lovely Entertainment, Marches, Pantomines, and recitations and songs."

Note that photographs and paintings are being given as Christmas presents.

The photo was taken at the Meeting Room, Dwelling House, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village.


23
Aurelia G. Mace, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, 1905

Aurelia G. Mace, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, 1905

Item 6631 info
United Society of Shakers

Trustees' Office. This picture was taken on the occasion of Sister Aurelia's 70th birthday. The cake and flowers were gifts of Edward and Amelia Ricker, proprietors of the Poland Spring Hotel.

One of the outstanding Believers of the era. Aurelia came with her parents to Sabbathday Lake from Strong, ME, in 1836. For nearly a quarter of a century beginning in 1856 she taught school for Shaker children.

Thereafter, as a Trustee of the Society, Sr. Aurelia turned her attention to developing the nascent fancy goods industry. She introduced new products such as Shaker Lemon Syrup and revived the traditional fir balsam pillow and horse-hair sieve and brush industries.

All the while, Sr. Aurelia found time to promote her religion through her literary gift. Among those with whom she corresponded was Leo Tolstoi. In 1899 a collection of her letters and essays entitled "The Aletheia: Spirit of Truth" was published in Farmington. It remains one of the clearest expositions on the Shaker faith.


24
Elder Delmer Wilson and Harry Wilson, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1905

Elder Delmer Wilson and Harry Wilson, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1905

Item 6622 info
United Society of Shakers

In 1882 Dorcas Wilson, a widow from Topsham, left her two sons at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker community. Several years later when she returned to retake custody of her sons, Delmer refused to leave his Shaker home.

Over the years he became a valued member of the community. His interests and skills were wide ranging, including mechanics, woodworking, farming, painting and photography. In fact, most of the photographs in the Shaker Library collection of glass plates are attributable to Elder Delmer who took thousands of pictures during his lifetime.

The setting for this picture is a makeshift community studio located at the Trustees' Office. A favorite prop in the studio was the marble-topped table that was purchased by Brother Nelson Chase (1830-1898), inventor of a folding stereoscope.


25
Group Portrait of Alfred Shakers

Group Portrait of Alfred Shakers

Item 6742 info
United Society of Shakers

Pictured from left to right: front row: unidentified Sister, Sister Jennie Staten, unidentified Sister; middle row: Eldress Mary Walker, Brother Stephen Gowen, Eldress Eliza R. Smith, Brother Frank Libby and unidentified Sister; back row: Sister Louise Easton, Sister Ellen Griffin, Eldress Fannie Casey, unidentified Brother and Sister Susie West.

Developed in 1856, tintypes experienced resurgence at the beginning of this century. Tin typists were often found in recreational areas such as beaches. Frequently, people wanted just such an "old fashioned" but quickly processed photograph as a record of a vacation or outing.

Note the use of painted backdrop for this group portrait.


26
Hancock Shakers Visiting Scarboro Beach, 1916

Hancock Shakers Visiting Scarboro Beach, 1916

Item 6632 info
United Society of Shakers

The automobile made long-distance travel far more feasible. The Shakers took full advantage of opportunities to visit their Brothers and Sisters at distant communities. Along the way they would be sure to take in points of interest- for example, the Maine coast.

Serving as guide on this expedition is Elder William Dumont of Sabbathday Lake at the left rear. Visiting from the Hancock, MA, community are, left to right: Sisters Frances Hall, Jennie Pettif, Catherine Dimitroff, Anna Delcheff and Alice Smith, accompanied by Brother Alexander Pettit.

The middle three Sisters were all born in Bulgaria and were among many Central Europeans who joined the Mt. Lebanon, NY, and Hancock Shaker communities at the turn of the century.


27
Shaker Elder Henry Green on sales trip, ca. 1896

Shaker Elder Henry Green on sales trip, ca. 1896

Item 6747 info
United Society of Shakers

In addition to selling fancy goods in gift shops, the Alfred and Sabbathday Lake Shaker communities made regular trips to resort hotels throughout the region. Especially lucrative routes led to the White Mountains and along the coast from Bar Harbor, ME to Rye, NH.

Chief salesman was Elder Henry Green (1844-1931) who for 55 years made two coastal and two mountain trips for which he became known as "The Old Man of the Mountains." Sale trips were even made as far south as Florida.

On this particular occasion captured in this photo, Old Dan, one of the trusty workhorses that took Elder Henry thousands of miles, is pulling the wagon. The trunk at the lower right was one used for maple sugar candy.

To the left of the trunks are folding tables made by Elder Henry for the display of goods and still in use today by the Sabbathday Lake Shakers.


28
Trustees' Office, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1915

Trustees' Office, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1915

Item 6634 info
United Society of Shakers

Built in 1816 as a home for the aged members of the Sabbathday Lake community, by 1877 the building had become the Trustees' Office. As such it was the center of contact between Believers and the "world's" people.

The sign reveals two of the functions of the Office-post office and store. Sister Eleanor Philbrick (1899-1976) sent out the last piece of mail from the Sabbathday Lake post office on June 30, 1955. The Shaker Store is still in operation.


29
Interior of Shaker Store, Sabbathday Lake

Interior of Shaker Store, Sabbathday Lake

Item 6630 info
United Society of Shakers

Catering to the tourist traffic associated with the Poland Spring Hotel several miles to the north, the Shaker Store at Sabbathday Lake featured a full line of handmade goods.

Among the most noteworthy wares on display are, left to right: the Shaker Cloak, horsehair brushes, pincushions, oval carriers, poplar boxes and the costumed doll.

Notice the marble-topped table, which once again appears as a prop.


30
Elder Delmer Wilson, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, ca. 1905

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

Item 6912 info
United Society of Shakers

A popular product of the fancy goods trade was the oval carrier. Lidded oval boxes had long been used within the community, primarily for storage of food and herbs. The transformation to a handled carrier suitable for use as a sewing box was mastered and perfected by Elder Delmer of Sabbathday Lake who 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.


31
Sisters Working on Fancy Goods, Sabbathday Lake

Sisters Working on Fancy Goods, Sabbathday Lake

Item 6901 info
United Society of Shakers

Many hours of work were required to produce the items sold in the Shaker Store at Sabbathday Lake and at resort hotels. Here Eldress Prudence Stickney (1860-1950) and Sisters Fannie Simpson (b. 1884), Laura Bailey, Jennie Mathers (1878-1946), and Sarah Fletcher (1853-1923) are preparing poplar boxes.

This was the most labor-intensive fancy goods industry. Once the Brothers had cut down a poplar tree, it had to be debarked, quartered, frozen, planed, ironed, dried, gauged and woven.

Woven poplar cloth was then attached to cardboard or wooden forms and nailed together to produce boxes in a variety of shapes and sizes.

The box was complete after the interior had been lined with fabric, the base covered with paper, the edges trimmed with kid and the lid attached with decorative ribbons. The poplar trade is testimony to the industriousness, resourcefulness and ingenuity of the Shakers.

Note the telephone being used by Sister Jennie. The Shaker community acquired its first three phones in 1894. Additional phones and improved service followed over the years.


32
Aroostook Wheat Field

Aroostook Wheat Field

Item 6903 info
United Society of Shakers

Drawn by the economic and cultural opportunities of the cities, thousands of people abandoned the often harsh and isolated rural farm life. The decrease in membership between 1872 and 1918 at Sabbathday Lake and Alfred, then, should be considered in the context of a general decrease in rural population.

Assuredly, Nelson Chase who left Sabbathday Lake for California in 1889 was not the only person drawn to the promised lands of the West. The dreams that lured young men and women away from farms throughout Maine likely drew Hiram, Laura and Lizzie Bailey and other Shaker youths away from Sabbathday Lake also.

The challenge to those left behind was to adapt to the modern world of mills, factories, tenements, office buildings and mass transportation without abandoning fundamental values learned on family farms and in small towns.


33
Cutting Silage, New Gloucester, ca. 1904

Cutting Silage, New Gloucester, ca. 1904

Item 6911 info
United Society of Shakers

Pictured from left to right: Brother Hiram Bailey (b.1888), hired man, Brother Pliny Fisk Wooster (1827-1905) and hired man. Essential to the welfare of the Shaker communal economy was agriculture. In addition to providing food for the community, commercial crops were a source of revenue.

The earliest crops grown for sale were herbs. From 1794 until 1911 the Sabbathday Lake community carried on an extensive pharmaceutical herb trade. During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, a popular and lucrative product of the herb department was Shaker Tamar Laxative. Profits from this industry helped fund construction of the 1883 Dwelling House.

During the same period, Shaker-made food products such as applesauce, horseradish, pickles and ketchup were also marketed. It was the Boys' Order under the direction of Brother Samuel Kendrick (1811-1898), which was responsible for preparation of the latter two products.

Serving as distributor for Shaker foodstuffs until the end of the nineteenth century was the Edward D. Pettengill Company of Portland.

After 1912 attention shifted away from the cultivation of herbs and to development of a commercial orchard. Under the care of Elder Delmer Wilson, a model orchard of some 2400 apple trees was established. The orchard remains commercially viable.


34
Cow Barn, Alfred Shakers, ca. 1905

Cow Barn, Alfred Shakers, ca. 1905

Item 6624 info
United Society of Shakers

Still remembered with a great deal of pride by those who grew up at the Alfred Shaker Village, the 1833 Cow Barn was for many years the largest barn in the State of Maine. Measuring 150 feet in length, the building was used for milking cows and storing hay. The barn still stands (2003).

The trees in the foreground are part of the apple orchard.


35
Loading Hay into the Cow Barn, Alfred

Loading Hay into the Cow Barn, Alfred

Item 6909 info
United Society of Shakers

Left to right: Bill Eaton, driving oxen; Brother Stephen Gowen, on load; Brother Frank Butler (1833-1917), next to wagon.

Assisting the Brothers with the farm work at the Alfred community was Bill Eaton, a hired hand. As the number of Brethren decreased it became increasingly necessary to employ outside help.

For example, in 1872 the Sabbathday Lake community employed 18 hired men to work on the farm and in the mill. This almost doubled the male work force, as between the Church and Poland Hill Families there were 21 Brothers.

The two-wheeled cart made it easier to tip and unload.


36
The Dairy, Alfred Shakers, ca. 1915

The Dairy, Alfred Shakers, ca. 1915

Item 6906 info
United Society of Shakers

In addition to Brothers and hired hands, operating the farm required the labor of Sisters. Here the Sisters at Alfred are shown tending the Dairy.

The cart to the far left was used to transport milk from the Cow Barn, the building with the cupola. The cans visible in the wheelbarrow and wagon were used for shipping milk via rail to Boston. Brother Stephen Gowen is driving the wagon.

The community's Pierce-Arrow automobile was kept in the Garage to the right. The Garage was also the second home of the Chestnut Inn. At this time Sisters served chicken dinners to tourists in a Gazebo, which became known as the Chestnut Inn. When more space was needed, the Garage was used.


37
Elder Henry Green's Workshop, Alfred Shaker Village, ca. 1900

Elder Henry Green's Workshop, Alfred Shaker Village, ca. 1900

Item 6907 info
United Society of Shakers

Aside from his roles as community leader and chief salesman, Elder Henry was an accomplished woodworker. Visible in the picture are many oval carriers, which Elder Henry made.

His greatest talent, however, was in the area of cabinetry. He made many exquisite secretaries, writing desks and sewing desks, which are still in use today at the Sabbathday Lake community.

The steam boiler was used to power tools in the workshop.


38
Sawing Winter Cordwood, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1905

Sawing Winter Cordwood, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1905

Item 6900 info
United Society of Shakers

Pictured from left to right at Sabbathday Lake are Frank Carpenter, hired man, and Brothers Hiram Bailey, John Dorrington (b. 1878) and John Pine (b. 1875).

The saw in the photograph was purchased in the 1890s. Elder Delmer Wilson built the gasoline engine that powered it.


39
Hired men, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1895

Hired men, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1895

Item 6904 info
United Society of Shakers

Milling at Sabbathday Lake actually predated the formal organization of the community in 1794. A small grist mill was constructed by Shaker Brethren in 1786. In 1809 a larger grist mill which also served area farmers was built. In addition, the community had mill facilities for sawing lumber and carding wool.

In 1853 milling capabilities were expanded with the addition of the Great Mill. The three-story building was the center of much activity. Throughout the period between 1872 and 1918, milling was the basis of the Sabbathday Lake economy. Industrial production was even more important than agricultural production.

In addition to lumber, finished woodenwares such as barrels, metric measures, spinning wheels, pails, tubs and packing crates were produced at the mill.

The Improved Shakers' Maine Mower was another item made at the Great Mill. Invented by Brother Hewett Chandler (b. 1833) and patented in 1865, hundreds of mowers were assembled until Br. Hewett left the community in 1882. By the close of the 19th century, the grist and carding operations ceased and all attention turned to lumbering and woodworking. The Great Mill finally closed in 1942 and was dismantled in 1949.


40
No. 4 Goodall Plush Mill, Sanford, ca. 1915

No. 4 Goodall Plush Mill, Sanford, ca. 1915

Item 6915 info
United Society of Shakers

As fabric production moved out of the home and into the mill, the Shakers took advantage of this labor-saving convenience. The Alfred Shakers frequently purchased material from the No. 4 Goodall Plush Mill in nearby Sanford. The plush was made into rugs, as well as carriage robes, which auto passengers used to keep warm.

The Goodall family, owners of the mill, were very friendly with the Alfred Shakers. In fact, the Goodalls were considered Outer Order Believers (Shakers). Although they were not covenanted members of the community, the Goodalls did follow the Shaker lifestyle to a great extent, even regularly confessing their sins to the Elders and Eldresses.

The post card view of the mill shown here was produced by Fred Charles Philpot (1856-1925), a professional photographer from Limerick. From 1886 until 1905 he owned a studio in Springvale and later opened a second studio in Sanford. The Alfred Shakers often had individual portraits taken at the Philpot Studios.


41
Old Shaker Mill Wheel, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1905

Old Shaker Mill Wheel, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1905

Item 6899 info
United Society of Shakers

The Great Mill at Sabbathday Lake was the last mill in Maine to be powered by an overshot waterwheel. Measuring 31 feet in diameter and 90 feet in circumference, the wheel was the largest in the state at the time.

In 1915 the battered wheel was removed and replaced with a 30,000-pound wheel from an unused mill at the Alfred Shaker community. In payment the Sabbathday Lake community traded 25 bushels of potatoes.


42
Students, teachers, Alfred Shaker Village, 1885

Students, teachers, Alfred Shaker Village, 1885

Item 6913 info
United Society of Shakers

In accordance with Massachusetts state law (controlling the District of Maine until 1820), provisions for the schooling of children at the Alfred community were made in 1813.

A decade later the Central Ministry at Mt. Lebanon, NY, sent Seth Youngs Wells (1767-1847), an able and learned Brother who had taught school before becoming a Shaker, to the eastern societies to improve the level of instruction.

Brother Seth was a proponent of the Lancastrian or Tutorial method. While at Alfred he taught briefly and trained a successor. From Alfred he proceeded on to Sabbathday Lake where he likewise improved the level of instruction.

A notable teacher at Alfred was Elder John Bell Vance (1833-1896), pictured second from right standing next to the Superintendent. Elder John taught from 1850 to 1856 and again from 1865 to 1880. Known among Shakers as a "Gatherer of Souls," he was a gifted speaker.

His oratorical skills served him well not only as an educator of children and leader of the community, but also as a spokesman for his religion. On a number of occasions he delivered public lectures in such cities as Portland, Boston, Lynn, Worcester, and New York.

Elder John's successor as teacher was Eldress Fannie Casey (1862-1911) who taught until the end of the century. Thereafter, Sisters and outside instructors alternated teaching duties until the closing of the school in 1931 when the Alfred and Sabbathday Lake communities consolidated.

At Sabbathday Lake a school house was constructed in 1880 under the direction of Brother Hewett Chandler. During that first school year, Sister Ada Cummings began a teaching career with twelve students, which would last over two decades. Their education stressed, but was not restricted to, reading, writing and arithmetic.

Students attended school until the age of sixteen. Those with ability could then receive a Normal School education by correspondence. Successful completion of courses was the prerequisite for receiving teacher certification. It was Sisters so trained who succeeded Sr. Ada. From 1939 until the Shaker School was finally closed in 1950, however, instructors had to he hired.


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Eldresses, Alfred Shaker Village, ca. 1879

Eldresses, Alfred Shaker Village, ca. 1879

Item 6917 info
United Society of Shakers

Having been founded by a woman, Mother Ann Lee(s) (1736-1784), the Shakers have always believed in the "equality of the sexes in all departments of life." In practice this meant women were entrusted with as much responsibility and authority as their male counterparts.

Pictured here are five Eldresses, Francella Blake (1843-1879) of Alfred's Second Family, Mary P. Vance (1845-1892) and Eliza R. Smith (1831-1899) of Alfred's Church Family, and Hester Ann Adams (1817-1888) and Mary Ann Gillespie (1829-1887) of the Maine Ministry.

Like its Sabbathday Lake counterpart, the Alfred Meeting House was designed by Brother Moses Johnson.


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Shaker Meeting, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, 1885

Shaker Meeting, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, 1885

Item 6908 info
United Society of Shakers

This is the only known picture of a nineteenth-century Shaker worship service taken while in progress. Given the importance of the Poland Spring Hotel and the Rickers to the Sabbathday Lake Shakers, the Shakers deemed it advisable to grant this rare privilege. Later the picture was used in The Aletheia, written by Sister Aurelia Mace.

The picture, with its emphasis on rows of worshippers and the strong lines of the ceiling beams, provides a visual equivalent for lives that were governed by order. Note that the girls and Sisters are seated on the opposite side of the Meeting Room from the boys and Brothers. Separation of the sexes was in keeping with the belief in celibacy.

During meeting, members sat facing the Elders and Eldresses who led the worship service. Seated behind the Shakers are visitors who were welcome to attend public meeting. Again, it was the Poland Spring Hotel that brought most visitors to the area.

Although the term "Shaker" derived from their religious dances, by this time the meeting consisted solely of testimonies and songs. The official name of the sect is the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing.

Photo taken by the Poland Spring Hotel staff photographer - name unknown.


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Eldress Elizabeth M. Noyes and Sister Edith Green, New Hampshire

Eldress Elizabeth M. Noyes and Sister Edith Green, New Hampshire

Item 6626 info
United Society of Shakers

A sincere belief in universal brotherhood permitted neither racial nor ethnic discrimination among the Shakers. Sister Edith was born in Gloucester, MA, and joined the Canterbury Shaker community in 1895.

Interestingly, Eldress Lizzie's father and uncle, Brothers Josiah (1802-1887) and Thomas E. Noyes (1813-1898), published abolitionist tracts and were associated with William Lloyd Garrison before joining the Sabbathday Lake community in 1863.

Eldress Lizzie was an 1868 graduate of Hebron Academy. After teaching in Missouri for a time, she returned to Maine and joined the Sabbathday lake community in 1873. During her long career, she served as Postmaster, Trustee and Eldress.

This eulogy is from the Church Journal: "She had a most wonderful brain, great executive ability, and was rich in wisdom, and experience. Her greatest virtue was 'Charity' being noted for this everywhere. She was like unto a mighty oak in the forest!"


46
Loons Point, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1915

Loons Point, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1915

Item 6633 info
United Society of Shakers

Caption by Elder Delmer Wilson. Among the thousands of pictures taken by Elder Delmer Wilson are many of the lake, especially this particular view of Loons' Point. Apparently, he saw more than the clouds and pines in the reflective waters of Sabbathday Lake.

For other members of the community, the lake was a timeless, unchanging reference point. This sentiment is eloquently expressed in the following verses from a poem by Sister Aurelia Mace:

The years rolled by, the village grew The mighty forests fell. You saw the steeple rise afar, You heard the Sabbath bell. You heard the whistle of the train Upon its iron rails. The wilderness was all aglow Along the hills and dales. O lovely lake, I walk thy shores, This calm midsummer day, And muse on wonders thus hast seen In ages passed away.


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Elder William Dumont with Jennie and colt, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1910

Elder William Dumont with Jennie and colt, Sabbathday Lake, ca. 1910

Item 6914 info
United Society of Shakers

The Shakers' reverence for nature was also manifested by their love of animals. Entries by Elder Otis Sawyer in the 1872 Sabbathday Lake Church journal reflect this attitude.

November 11, 1872: The Horses are harnessed today for the first time since they were seized with prevailing Epidemic (Epizootic). Much credit is due Br. Wm. Dumont for his unwearied care and attention for those noble animals.

November 12, 1872: Two Beef oxen were slaughtered today and sad to relate, by inexperienced hands. Lord hasten the day when they shall not destroy life to furnish food for fleshe (sic) eaters, nor harm any of thy creatures in all the holy Mount Zion of God.

Held in even higher esteem was a succession of pet dogs. Elder William's dog, Pup, was the first to be allowed in the Dwelling House.

Elder William has not become as well known as such contemporary Maine Elders as Otis Sawyer, John Vance, Joshua Bussell, Joseph Brackett, Henry Green and Delmer Wilson.

He was neither an authoritative leader and meticulous historian like Elder Otis nor an inspiring orator and teacher like Elder John. He did not possess any outstanding skill, unlike Elder Joshua who painted watercolor maps, Elder Joseph who wrote "Simple Gifts," the most famous Shaker hymn, Elder Henry who built cabinetry and Elder Delmer who made oval boxes.

Nevertheless, Elder William was an exemplary Shaker who cared for the farm animals, developed the orchard, planted poplar, marketed Tamar Laxative and in general, contributed to the betterment of Sabbathday Lake in an unassuming way.


48
Going for an Evening Ride, Sabbathday Lake, 1913

Going for an Evening Ride, Sabbathday Lake, 1913

Item 6905 info
United Society of Shakers

Friends often came down from the Poland Spring Hotel to accompany members of the community on automobile rides. On the left is the community's first car, a Silent Seldon purchased in 1909 from Fred A. Nickerson of Portland for $2,100. Elder Delmer Wilson is at the wheel. The passenger in the front seat of the second car is Elder William Dumont.


49
Going for a Surrey Ride, Alfred Shaker Village, ca. 1918

Going for a Surrey Ride, Alfred Shaker Village, ca. 1918

Item 6916 info
United Society of Shakers

This photograph was probably taken soon after the Second family at Alfred closed in April of 1918. Eldress Harriett Coolbroth (1864-1953), patting Old Dan, Brother Stephen Gowen, driving the surrey, and 13 Sisters moved to the Church Family at that time.

In 1931 the Church family itself closed and 21 Alfred Shakers moved to the community at Sabbathday Lake.

The photo is taken in front of the Third Dwelling House, Alfred.


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