Canterbury Shaker Village, Canterbury New Hampshire
There were no pulpits or decorations because those things were worldly. “In meeting, they marched, sang, danced, and sometimes turned, twitched, jerked, or shouted.“Their buildings are very complete and in excellent order. They have a steam laundry, with mangle, and an admirably arranged ironing-room; a fine and thoroughly fitted school-house, with a melodeon, and a special music-room; an infirmary for the feeble and sick, in which there is a fearful quantity of drugs; and they take twelve or fifteen newspapers, and have a library of four hundred volumes, including history, voyages, travels, scientific works, and stories for children, but no novels.”
“In the dwelling-house and near the kitchen I noticed a great number of buckets, hung up to the beams, one for each member, and these are used to carry hot water to the rooms for bathing. The dwellings are not heated with steam. The dining-room was ornamented with evergreens and flowers in pots.”
The people are not great readers. The Bible, however, is much read. They are fond of music. In summer they entertain visitors at a set price, and have rooms fitted for this purpose. In the visitors’ dining-room I saw this printed notice:
At the table we wish all to be as free as at home, but we dislike the wasteful habit of leaving food on the plate. No vice is with us the less ridiculous for being fashionable.
Married persons tarrying with us overnight are respectfully notified that each sex occupy separate sleeping apartments while they remain.”
The Shakers believed God was both a man and a woman. That the fall of Adam and Eve was due to sexual intercourse and that men and women should be celibate.
To see more artwork from the Canterbury Shaker Village please visit my gallery – Canterbury Shaker Village Gallery – artwork by Edward M. Fielding