The Shakers Suggested Readings, Recordings, and Links

The Shakers Suggested Readings, Recordings, and Links

By Daniel W. Patterson

Publications about the Shakers began in the last third of the eighteenth century and ones by Shakers followed shortly after. Mary Richmond's Shaker Literature: A Bibliography (Hancock, Mass.: Shaker Community; Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1977) covers the materials well through the period in which Edward Deming Andrews opened up Shaker scholarship. Stephen Stein's institutional history is a portal into more recent concerns in the abundant recent scholarship on Shakerism.

On Shaker history—
Stein, Stephen J. The Shaker Experience in America: A History of the United Society of Believers. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992.

On Shaker music—
Patterson, Daniel W. The Shaker Spiritual. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978; 2nd ed. rev., Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 2000.

On Shaker art—
Andrews, Edward D., and Faith Andrews, Visions of the Heavenly Sphere: A Study in Shaker Religious Art. Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1969. (The pioneering study of Shaker art, still useful for its extensive transcriptions of texts inscribed on many of the works.)

Hadd, Br. Arnold S., “Many Beautiful Useless Things: Shakers and their Folk Art Tradition” in The Human & the Eternal: Shaker Art in Its Many Forms. Sabbathday Lake, Maine: The United Society of Shakers, 2008. (Thoughtful essay on the history of the uses of art and artistic possessions by members of the Shaker Society, in a catalogue edited by Leonard L. Brooks for an exhibition at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Museum.)

Patterson, Daniel W., Gift Drawing and Gift Song: A Study of Two Forms of Shaker Inspiration. Sabbathday Lake, Maine: The United Society of Shakers, 1983. (A book that proposed a new name for artworks previously called "spirit drawings" or "inspirational drawings" and that identified most of the artists and the works produced by each hand.)

Promey, Sally M. Spiritual Spectacles: Vision and Image in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Shakerism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993. (A study looking at the works through the lens of a specific metaphor and exploring their place in the major nineteenth-century Shaker revival.)

Moran, France, ed., Heavenly Visions: Shaker Gift Drawings and Gift Songs. Exhibition catalog. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press,2001. (A volume illustrated with the best reproductions of Shaker gift paintings and the broadest range of them yet offered in print.)

“Early Shaker Spirituals Sung by Sister R. Mildred Barker . . . And Other Members of the United Society of Shakers, Sabbathday Lake, Maine,” Rounder CD 0078. Somerville, Mass: Rounder Records, 1976, 1996.

"Let Zion Move: Music of the Shakers," narration, interviews and singing recorded by William M. Randle in 1960 and by Roger L. Hall in 1972 and 1980, Rounder CD 0471/72. Cambridge, Mass: Rounder Records, 1999.

Shaker Society at Sabbathday Lake, Maine:

Shaker Museum at Canterbury, New Hampshire:

Shaker Historic Trail: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary:

Roger Hall listing of CDs and Books of Shaker songs: