The time between the opening of the Testimony in May 1780 and the gathering of New Lebanon in 1787 is the least documented period of Shaker history. A source that could help place this period in a more balanced perspective is the Testimonies of the Life, Character, Revelations, and Doctrines of Mother Ann Lee, first published in 1816. Intended by Mother Lucy Wright (1760–1821) for Shaker eyes only, it was almost three quarters of a century later that the work was publicly printed for a wider distribution. Taking the well-known stories and setting them aside, there remain scores of strands, that when investigated, reveal the Shaker world as Mother Ann and the First Parents knew it. Exploring these helps complete the Shaker historical narrative. When considering Enfield, Connecticut, for example, two such “strands” readily come to mind. When explored they show a history that has been effectively forgotten, but nonetheless can offer many important details of early Shaker history.
American Communal Societies Quarterly
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