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The Shakers (formal name: The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Coming) are a communal religious sect founded by Mother Ann Lee in 1747 in England but primarily flourishing in the USA.

From a high of about 5,000 members about the time of the US Civil War there are now only a very few left, at Sabbathday Lake, Maine. Because they are celibate and discourage marriage they are dependent on converts and fostering for new members. In the past they fostered large numbers of orphans, many of whom stayed on in the communities after adulthood because of the excellent care and love they received.

The Shakers are especially famous for their wooden furniture and boxes, architecture and for the hymn "'Tis a Gift to be Simple."


Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97
Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, edited by F.L. Cross. (London: Oxford University Press, 1957)
Encyclopedia of Religion. 16 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1987)
Melcher, Marguerite Fellows. The Shaker Adventure. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1941)
Andrews, Edward Deming. The People Called Shakers: A Search for the Perfect Society. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1953)
"'I don't want to be remembered as a chair!:' Reminiscences about the Shakers" Available at:
Mihok, Marsha. "Shaker Apocalypticism." Available at:
US National Parks Service. "Shaker Historic Trail." Available at: (includes bibliography)
United Society of Believers. "Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village." Available at:


Uk/great Britain
18th Century
19th Century
20th Century
Institutional Care
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