Sisters Working on Fancy Goods, Sabbathday Lake

Contributed by 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.

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About This Item

  • Title: Sisters Working on Fancy Goods, Sabbathday Lake
  • Creator: Delmer Charles Wilson
  • Creation Date: circa 1902
  • Subject Date: circa 1902
  • Location: New Gloucester, Cumberland County, ME
  • Media: Slide from a glass-plate negative
  • Local Code: ITE 32
  • Object Type: Image

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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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