Shaker Collection

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WRHS contains a collection of about 800 Shaker artifacts, ranging from furniture to clothing to tourist trade items representing all known Shaker communities.

About the Collection

The largest collection extant documenting the Shaker communities in the United States. It is a “must use” for any scholar conducting research on the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing. WRHS contains a collection of about 800 Shaker artifacts, ranging from furniture to clothing to tourist trade items representing all known Shaker communities. The bulk of the collection was amassed early in the 20th century when a WRHS Director, Wallace H. Cathcart, began a correspondence with Eldress Catharine Allen of Canterbury, New Hampshire.

Knowing that the Shaker way of life was in decline, both Allen and Cathcart sought to preserve a material record of the Shakers. Thus Allen began sending to Cathcart, artifacts and documents from the various Shaker communities. Many of the artifacts were personal mementos of prominent Shaker elders, but the bulk of the artifacts: seed packets, sewing baskets, socks, furniture, clothing patterns, demonstrate Shaker handicrafts and industry. The correspondence between Cathcart and Allen is housed in the WRHS Library along with an immense collection of paper-based Shaker material, including books, ephemera, ledgers, photographs and several spirit drawings.

Western Reserve Historical Society is the oldest cultural institution in Northeast Ohio, the region's largest American history research center, and one of the leading genealogical research centers in the nation.

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Cleveland History Center
10825 East Boulevard
Cleveland, Ohio 44106 ↗

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(216) 721-5722

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Thursday: 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Friday, Saturday, & Sunday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

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