Ann Lee Migrates to America
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In 1774, Ann Lee (1736-1784) and her small band of Shakers, so named for their dancing and shaking during worship, emigrated from England to the United States. They first settled near Albany, N.Y., but in the ensuing decades established communities from Maine to Indiana.

Lee’s teachings were based on a vision she’d had that God was both male and female, and sexual relations were the original sin of humanity and needed to be eliminated from truly Christian communities. Under Lee, who came to be known as Mother Ann, the utopian movement spread robustly in the early national era, with followers embracing her exhortations to live communally, work diligently and remain celibate.

In 1850, there were nearly 4,000 Shakers (officially known as the United Society of Believers in Christ) spread across eight states. The population has since dwindled to fewer than a dozen.
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Ann Lee portrait- Hathi Trust- from Modern Messiahs and Wonder Workers by William Oxley

First Shaker settlement, Watervliet, NY- Internet Archive- from A concise History of the United Society of Believers Called Shakers by Charles Edson Robinson

Group of Shakers- from the New York Public Library Digital Collections
Book/Journal Source(s)
Lippy, Charles, and Peter Williams, 2010. Encyclopedia of Religion in America. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.
Web Source(s)
"The Shakers"
Encyclopedia Britannica, "Ann Lee"
Shaker Heritage Society of Albany, N.Y., website
Web Page Contributor
Sandi Dolbee
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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