Book of the Week #37

Inspired Innovations: A Celebration of Shaker Ingenuity by M. Stephen Miller (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2010).

This beautifully illustrated volume began as an exhibition catalog to accompany a 2012 exhibit at the New Britain Museum of American Art. The contributions of numerous scholars exploring the innovations of the Shakers in more depth than they had been previously made this volume much more than an exhibit catalog.

Among the communities discussed in the book is the Canterbury Shaker Village.  which on Saturday, September 14, 2013 will host the Canterbury Artisan Festival where you can learn more about the creativity of the Shakers.

"Since the late eighteenth century, Shakers have exerted an influence on our nation wholly disproportionate to the size of their communities. Their approach has helped shape everything from craftsmanship and ingenuity to concepts of communal living and work ethic. And while much of our modern-day fascination with the United Society of Shakers centers upon their unique attention to craftsmanship, the innovative spirit they brought to simple, Godly living is indeed the most timeless aspect of their legacy.
From their earliest days, the Shakers have depended on innovations of every sort to secure their place in a world that was, initially, hostile to their so-called “peculiar” beliefs: community, celibacy, and primitive Christianity. These innovations included improvements, adaptations, refinements, and inventions. Inspired Innovations is the first book devoted to this widely acknowledged but long neglected aspect of Shakerism.
A group of thirteen distinguished Shaker scholars, led by M. Stephen Miller, presents in this lavishly illustrated volume their research on the many “zones” of innovation that are considered here. Historians Scott T. Swank, Glendyne R. Wergland, and Stephen J. Paterwic “set the table” for a feast of words and images." --Publisher's blurb

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