Mother's First-Born Daughters: Early Shaker Writings on Women and Religion

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"... 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

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Overview

"... 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.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Humez (women's studies, Univ. of Massachusetts-Boston) is well known as a biographer and a scholar of Shakerism ( Gifts of Power , LJ 6/1/81). The current volume provides an excellent collection of writings covering the period 1774-1854, nearly all by women and most in print for the first time. The four sections treat of founder Anne Lee, her successor Lucy Wright, correspondence between the Eastern and Western groups, and perspectives on the mid-century ``revival.'' Humez provides clear, excellent introductions, emphasizing the ambiguous role of women. Given the continuing interest in Shakers, who see God as having both male and female incarnations, this collection will be useful not only for the primary material but also for Humez's notes and comments. It will be of value to most public and academic libraries, although specialists may complain about the degree of modernization in the editing.-- James H. Sweetland, SLIS, Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253328700
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1993
  • Series: Religion in North America Series
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

JEAN M. HUMEZ is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She is the editor of Gifts of Power: The Writings of Rebecca Jackson, Black Visionary, Shaker Eldress.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Catherine L. Albanese and Stephen J. Stein
Acknowledgments
A Note on Manuscript Sources and Abbreviations
General Introduction

1. "A Mother in Divinity": Ann Lee Imagery and Narrative, 1808-1851

Introduction
Healing Stories by Women (1808)
Testimonies of Ann Lee’s Followers (1816)
Ann Lee’s Own Personal Experience Narratives, as Remembered by Her Followers (1816)
Narrative of the Journey through New England (1816)
Women’s Testimonies in Defense of Ann Lee (1827)
Jemima Blanchard’s Stories as Recalled by Roxalana Grosvenor (1836)
Elizabeth Wood’s Testimony (1851)

2. "Your Parent in the Gospel": The Sayings and Correspondence of Lucy Wright

Introduction
Words Spoken by Mother Lucy...March 25th, 1815
Accounts of Two Visits with Mother Lucy Wright
Sayings of Mother Lucy at Watervliet (1816)
Sayings of Mother Lucy from Eldress Betsy Harrison’s Book
Counsel and Instruction Given by Mother Lucy...
Mother Lucy’s Last Visit to Watervliet
Selected Correspondence

3. "Poor Child in a Distant Land": Selected correspondence of Shaker Sisters, West and East, 1805-1835

Introduction
Selected Correspondence

4. "The Heavens Are Open": Women’s Perspectives on Midcentury Spiritualism

Introduction
The Onset of the Revival (Watervliet Church Family Meeting Journal, (1838- 1840)
A Visionary Dream Concerning Ann Eliza Goodwin (1840)
Mother Lucy’s Word to the Sisters (1841)
Visits from ALien Spirits at Watervliet (Church Family Meeting Journal, 1842-1843)
The Hancock Sweeping Gift (1843)
Hancock Mountain Meeting (1843)
Holy Mother Wisdom’s Fold (n.d.)
Paulina Bate’s Divine Book of Holy and Eternal Wisdom (1849)
Mary Hazzard’s "Precious Crumbs of Heavenly Food..." (1839-1842)
New Year’s Verses for the New Lebanon Sisters (1846)

A Selective Bibliography of Published Sources
Index

Indiana University Press

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