Simple Gifts: Lessons In Living From A Shaker Village by June SpriggSimple Gifts: Lessons In Living From A Shaker Village by June Sprigg

Simple Gifts: Lessons In Living From A Shaker Village

byJune Sprigg

Paperback | June 30, 1999

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In Simple Gifts, June Sprigg tells the story of one of America's last Shaker communities--Canterbury Shaker Village, in Canterbury, New Hampshire--during its twilight years, and of its seven remarkable "survivor" women, who were among the last representatives of our longest-lived and best-known communal utopian society. As a college student Sprigg spent a summer among them, and here she gracefully interweaves the narrative of their lives with the broader history of Shakers in America as she shows us how her experiences there affected her own life and opened the door to her creativity.

Gleaning information from old records and journals that she pored over that summer and later, Sprigg brings to life the generations of Canterbury Shakers from the eighteenth century to the present--their customs, their architecture, their spirituality. She also explores the social and cultural forces and the internal imperatives and tensions that caused membership to decrease, all of which, by 1972, brought the community to crisis.

Chronicling the daily life of the village as she found it, Sprigg uncovers the affirming energies of the Shakers--the prominence of mutual love and respect, the devoted tradition of mothering surrogate children, and, above all, the surviving women's spirited eccentricities. She reveals the Shakers as individuals--their personal histories, their wildly different beginnings, what they gave up to join the Shaker community, and, more important, what they gained.

Through her lively text and drawings and her intimate connection with the community, Sprigg brings us close to its people with a book that both enlightens and inspires.


From the Hardcover edition.
June Sprigg is a graduate of Lafayette College and the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture. From 1977 to 1982 and 1986 to 1994 she was Curator of Collections at the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. She has guest-curated major exhibitions of Shaker design at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Corcoran G...
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Title:Simple Gifts: Lessons In Living From A Shaker VillageFormat:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8 × 5.22 × 0.63 inPublished:June 30, 1999Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0375704329

ISBN - 13:9780375704321

Reviews

From Our Editors

We arguably gain a greater understanding of our true selves and our needs by simplifying our lives. June Sprigg learned a similar lesson when she spent a few summer months living within a Shaker community. Simple Gifts is the author’s account of her experiences with women villagers and their philosophy including keeping the hands, rather than the mouth, busy while the ears, hearts and minds stay wide open.

Editorial Reviews

"Sprigg's enchanting account is a gift to all readers . . . a story of innocence not lost and virtue untainted by time and adversity."—Newsday