Shaker Fever

Shaker Fever

America's Twentieth-Century Fascination with a Communitarian Sect

Public History in Historical Perspective

by William D. Moore

Published by: University of Massachusetts Press

464 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 1.20 in, 122 b&w illus.

  • Paperback
  • 9781625345097
  • Published: August 2020


  • Hardcover
  • 9781625345080
  • Published: July 2020


Americans were enthralled by the Shakers in the years between 1925 and 1965. They bought Shaker furniture, saw Shaker worship services enacted on Broadway, sang Shaker songs, dressed in Shaker-inspired garb, collected Shaker artifacts, and restored Shaker villages. William D. Moore analyzes the activities of scholars, composers, collectors, folklorists, photographers, writers, choreographers, and museum staff who drove the national interest in this dwindling regional religious group.

This interdisciplinary study places the activities of individuals—including Doris Humphrey, Charles Sheeler, Laura Bragg, Juliana Force, and Edward Deming Andrews—within the larger cultural and historical contexts of nationalism, modernism, and cultural resource management. Taking up previously unexamined primary sources and cultural productions that include the first scholarly studies of the faith, material culture and visual arts, stage performances, and museum exhibitions, Shaker Fever compels a reconsideration of this religious group and its place within American memory. It is sure to delight enthusiasts, public historians, museum professionals, furniture collectors, and anyone interested in the dynamics of cultural appropriation and stewardship.