“ . . . an excellent collection of writings covering the period 1774-1854 . . . mostly in print for the first time. . . . Humez provides excellent and clear introductions, emphasizing the ambiguous role of women.” —Library Journal
“This very fine book is a valuable contribution to Shaker studies, religious studies, and women’s studies.” —Journal of American History
“The editor provides insightful commentary, but the power is in the straightforward and powerful words of the women who founded and participated in this most religious American group.” —The Bloomsbury Review
“Humez’s work is a model of revisionist scholarship, critically objective and editorially balanced, and provides a solid introduction to the early history of the Shakers.” —Utopian Studies
“Israel, you have begun to bear for other souls, and you must never give out, till the last soul is gathered in. When you get home, tell your father and stepmother that your mother is risen from the dead.” —from the book
A fascinating introduction to the world of the early Shakers, this anthology documents the contributions to Shaker religion made by women during its first seventy years. It gives a more accurate vision of Shakerism and highlights the ways in which gender can play an important role in the creation of a new religious institution.