As more emphasis is placed on women’s roles in history in schools, this book will make a significant contribution to that curriculum. Moreover, Shaker beliefs can be included in the evolving nature of social studies. Parallel pacifist communal cultures, such as the one that flourished in Zoar, Ohio, in the mid-1800’s, lend credence to the Shaker life-style and prove that their ideas were not isolated ones.
Students of economics will also appreciate the history of the Shakers. They invented numerous items, such as the cast-iron chimney cap and a large-scale washing machine, but never patented them because they considered the practice to be selfish. Unlike the Amish, who shun modern conveniences, the Shakers always embraced technology. Most well known for their manufacture of furniture and sweaters, they were probably the first to sell packaged seeds, and they had extensive knowledge of medicinal herbs.
By mentioning the sites of present Shaker villages and museums and the burial site of Mother Ann, as well as by providing an extensive bibliography, Campion en-courages additional study of the woman who “put her hand to work, and her heart to God” and whose beliefs changed the lives of approximately twenty thousand Americans over three centuries.