Scope and Content Note


The Zieget Shaker Collection Papers underscore Irene and Julius Zieget's reliance on members of the Shaker community in acquiring an extensive collection of their art and crafts. The papers also include some of those acquisitions. The first series "Collection Development" pertains to the former and consists primarily of correspondence dating between 1929 and 1968 and a photographically illustrated journal. Most of the letters are from Sister Marguerite Frost of Canterbury, NH. Irene Zieget assembled the journal in which she recounts the members of the Shaker community she and Julius came to know and the artifacts associated with them. A hanging paper tag on which is listed the book titles in the Ziegets' collection is also in Irene's hand and included here.

Most of the remaining documentation is manuscript material that comprises a small but significant part of the Ziegets' collection, which primarily consisted of furniture, inspirational drawings, utensils, tools, textiles and a number of rare publications. Much of the manuscript material traces to the Shaker villages of Canterbury, NH (historically named "East Canterbury") and Mt. Lebanon, NY, and to a lesser extent, Enfield, NH, Alfred, ME and Old Chatham, NY. Based on Irene's inscriptions in many of these items, they were made available by Sister Marguerite between 1957 and 1959. The material is organized here in two series, each representing an aspect of Shakerism. Documentation of the daily activities performed in a Shaker community--outside of worship--makes up Series II, "Shaker Communal Life." Material consists of a journal and other recordings of deaths--expressed in three very different compilations, a recipe booklet, writings and ephemera pertaining to gardening and other household chores, as well as a description of a "typical" Shaker village. There are several images of Shaker women and girls as well as a few examples of Shaker buildings. The most comprehensive documentation of Shaker life is the scrapbook compiled by Irene Zieget for Sister Marguerite Frost, her long-time contact at Canterbury. Although Irene credits Sister Marguerite for collecting the "references," she no doubt added a number of articles, such as the ads for the Philadelphia retailer, John Wanamaker. In Series III, "Shaker Spiritual Life," are manifestations, cards of love, blessings, instructions and hymns--all recorded neatly in the distinctive and decorative Shaker hand. There are also two bound manuscripts of visions and testimonies, as well as a slim volume that explains the layout of the Holy City. Approximately half of the items in this series are dated, circa 1840s.

Works Consulted

"The Shakers: Their Arts & Crafts." Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin 57, no. 273 (Spring, 1962).

Horton, Barry. "A Little about the Shakers." Barry Horton: Traditional Woodworker, copyright 2003 (accessed April 1, 2013)

Miller, Mike. "Enfield's Shaker Legacy." Hog River Journal (Spring 2005) (accessed April 1, 2013)

"The Shakers." Discover and Learn. Canterbury Shaker Village, copyright 2010 (accessed April 1, 2013)

"The Shakers." Shaker Historic Trail. A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary. National Park Service

"Shakers." Wikipedia, last modified April 8, 2013.