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Maps of the Shaker West: A Journey of Discovery Paperback – July, 1997

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Editorial Reviews


"For all the books currently in print about the Shakers, there is still relatively little published information about the western communities." -- Indiana Magazine of History, 1998

"Short chapters on each community are supplemented with nearly fifty maps. [I]ndispensable for anyone interested in locating Western Shaker sites." -- Communal Societies, Journal of the Communal Studies Association, 1997

"The volume's 21 chapters represent an important initial attempt at synthesizing the historical, spatial, and material development of western Shakerism." -- VAF, Vernacular Architecture Newsletter, Winter 1998

A fascinating "collection of maps and histories of better known and lesser known Shaker sites in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan." -- Ohioana Quarterly, Summer 1998

For all the books currently in print about the Shakers, there is still relatively little published information about the western communities. Sites, and the remainders of sites, are scattered throughout Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana, but less than a handful are well-known enough to attract much tourism. Boice and her coauthors seek to remedy this situation with a series of maps and essays on the major sites of western Shaker settlement. The essays themselves, reflecting the book's multiple authorship, are of varying length and degree of detail. As the title indicates, however, the detailed site maps will probably be of primary interest, both to historians and tourists. -- Indiana Magazine of History, September 1998

Historical accuracy was a key to all aspects of the book. [W]ell organized and has an appealing layout and design. [S]imply excellent." -- 1998 OAHSM Awards Program, Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 7, 1998

Maps of the Shaker West provides a detailed account replete with forty-nine maps and twenty-one histories of Shaker sites in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan. Boice, Covington, and Spence give readers insight into the establishment of Shakerism in the West in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As part of the pioneer revivalism of the era, the Shakers sought to spread their influence across the United States with their emphasis on communal living and emotional religious services. Maps of the Shaker West chronicles the success of the movement in the frontier West and even tells of its attempt to establish colonies along the Georgia coast at the turn of the century. The authors also suggest that some Shaker activities involved participation in such humanitarian endeavors as the Underground Railroad in the late 1850s. After reading this book, readers come away with a better understanding of both famous and little-known Shaker communities and are able to put this religious movement in the larger historical context. -- The Georgia Historical Quarterly, Winter 1997

From the Publisher

It was a thrill to receive the Educational Excellence Award from the Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums at the Ohio Historical Society on November 7, 1998 for Maps of the Shaker West.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Knot Garden Pr; Map edition (July 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965501817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965501811
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.8 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,824,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
There is at least 150 years of direct experience of the Shakers and an additional 50 years of Shaker influence to be discovered, studied and savored in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan. Maps of the Shaker West lifts the veil of nostalgia which often surrounds the Shaker experience and we can see the pioneer Shakers of the west as they were with all their strengths and weaknesses; their struggles, failures and successes.
In chapter 8 of the book the extent and the depth of the Cane Ridge Revival in Kentucky comes alive. For those of us with roots in southern Ohio, this chapter can touch home directly. The spiritual choices of Barton Stone, John Dunlevy and Richard McNemar at the turn of the 19th century are still influencing us today as we quickly approach the 21st century. The Restoration Movement (The Christian Church) is still strong and active in southern Ohio and the Society of Shakers continues and their many friends are influenced by their faith and story.
Another intriguing line of research is suggested in the book. Some of the land acquisitions made by the Shakers may have been due to their participation in the Underground Railroad. In this endeavor, old religious adversaries joined in common cause: Quakers, Presbyterians, the Christian Church and the Shakers. More study needs to be directed to this line of research.
The maps of Dale Covington and the drawings of Richard Spence help bring alive the old Shaker sites, especially those which have been altered beyond recognition.
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Format: Paperback
This book was a real find for me. Having visited 7 of the eastern Shaker villages, I wanted to know more about the remaining Shaker sites in the "West". There are more than 20 such sites set out in this excellent book. Each has a written explanation and sufficient maps to find and explore all of them. Both the maps and the text are accurate, having been carefully prepared and researched by the 3 authors.
The book inspired me to visit Ohio and Kentucky to see the sites. My wife and I were taken around Union Village by Mary Lou Warner, the historian for the Otterbein-Lebanon Community. Martha Boice showed us Whitewater village with her friend Julie Schlesselman. We went to Watervliet, Ohio, then down into Kentucky to the Cane Ridge Meeting House where a camp meeting took place in 1801 as part of the Kentucky Revival. We stayed at Pleasant Hill and then went to South Union. All in all a wonderful experience which would not have happened without this book. I hope to return to the area soon to see the sites I didn't have time to visit.
Most of the interest in the Shakers centres on the well preserved eastern villages such as Hancock, Canterbury and the still active village of Sabbathday Lake. However, this misses the western villages which have a charm and interest of their own. There is much to see in Ohio and Kentucky, and for anyone interested in the Shaker experience as a whole visiting the western sites will expand your knowledge and understanding of why the Shakers have lasted for so long. This book will appeal to anyone who is seriously interested in the Shakers - add it to your bookshelf now.
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Format: Paperback
I have just purchased a copy of Maps of the Shaker West: A Journey of Discovery and have been reading it over the past few days. It is nothing short of brilliant. Martha Boice, Dale Covington and Richard Spence should all be very proud. First of all, it is the best introduction to the Shaker history of "the West" (or what Mother Ann called "the Southwest") that I have seen. Secondly, the three of them have provided an invaluable service to the field by uncovering and/or compiling research on the histories of "lost out-families" such as Eagle and Straight Creeks and Shaker-owned properties such as Berrien Springs, Michigan. The prose is clear, accessible, and veritably sparkles. The illustrations are excellent and the maps are a first-rate aid to anyone who wants to pinpoint the people and places that are written about. The book is a pleasure to scholar and layman alike.
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A Great Book! Chapter 15 is about my 4th Great-Grandfather, Samuel Rice of Coventry, RI./ White Water Shaker Settlement. Co-author, Dale Covington a few miles up the highway from me in Atlanta, a brilliant man and amazing source of information on the Shakers.
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