David D. Newell


The Shaker Ministry considered certain texts to have a substantial sacred value and esteemed them as pearls that were not to be “cast before swine.” These were intended to be read only by the various society and family elders and eldresses and never shared with “the world’s people.” The Hamilton College Library recently acquired one such Shaker manuscript, probably dating to 1821 or shortly thereafter. It bears a caption title: “Mother’s Last Visit to Watervliet” and consists of nine unnumbered pages (filled) within a twenty-four page booklet. It is an important and early work, and was never published by the Shakers. It details the activities, meetings, counsels, and sayings of Mother Lucy Wright during the month preceding her death—from January 10, 1821 when she arrived at the Watervliet, New York Shaker society, to February 7, 1821 “when she expired a quarter before three O’clock.”

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