In the half century between 1830 and 1880 the American public encountered the first visual representations of Shaker life. Published as newspaper and magazine illustrations or on separate sheets that were meant to be framed and displayed, these printed images document the changing ways in which Americans imagined the Shakers over the years. This essay is drawn from my book Imagining the Shakers: How the Visual Culture of Shaker Life Was Pictured in the Popular Illustrated Press of Nineteenth-Century America, published by the Richard W. Couper Press in 2019, and was presented as a talk at the Enfield Shaker Forum in 2021.
American Communal Societies Quarterly
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