When Vermont author D. P. Thompson’s short story “The Shaker Lovers” was first published in the periodical The New World in 1841, it joined a growing body of literature on American Shaker communities. However, Thompson’s story was unusual in three ways. First, it was the product of a man whose upbringing and opinions gave him a unique perspective on the Shakers. Second, it was a fictional literary treatment of the Shakers, of which there had been very few up to that date. And last, Thompson’s story was destined to be turned into a stage play, albeit one with a somewhat different set of messages than in the original story.

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