Guidelines for Research Access to Archives


The Canterbury Shaker Village archives consists of materials generated, received, or purchased by the Canterbury Shakers over their 200-year history.  Archival holdings include approximately 10,000 photographic images and 35,000 manuscript items.  Manuscript items include diaries and journals, building and financial records, the Shakers’ 1500-volume Dwelling House library, a complete run of Scientific American from 1848–1915, textbooks used in the Shaker School House, and books from the Infirmary library.  Graphic materials include 41 maps and plans, including a colored map drawn in 1848 by Elder Henry Blinn and 186 watercolor drawings of native plants by Sister Cora Helena Sarle.  A unique collection of 20th-century Shaker materials includes early 78-rpm records as well as audio and videotapes of the last Shakers at Canterbury.  While the majority of materials in the archives are Canterbury-based, several of the other Shaker communities are represented.  As Shaker Villages closed throughout the 20th century, the Ministry, now centered at Canterbury, collected relevant papers for future reference; thus these disparate and seemingly unrelated materials together tell the history of the Canterbury Shakers.

As a nonprofit education institution, Canterbury Shaker Village strives to provide maximum accessibility to the collections to the public and media consistent with the Collections Department’s availability and the security, safety, and conservation of the artifacts. All requests for access to the collections are referred to the Collections staff and reviewed by the Executive Director.  Onsite visits to examine original materials are available to researchers by appointment only; offsite requests for information will be prioritized for members although extensive genealogical research cannot be handled at this time.  Because of the fragile nature of some archival materials, these materials may have limited or seasonal access.

Canterbury Shaker Village reserves the right to reject requests that are not compatible with its educational mission, that would interfere with the visitor’s experience, or that would put an undue burden on Canterbury Shaker Village’s artifacts or personnel.


Photographic Collections


The Archives contains approximately 10,000 photographic images.

The photograph collection includes negatives, cabinet cards, cartes-de-visite, transparencies, 1920s snapshots, stereographic views, postcards, framed photographs, and approximately 80 photograph albums.

To provide greater accessibility to our collections, we are making our digitized photo collection available on-line with a keyword search capability. We will be adding additional photographs to this on-line collection on a periodic basis. To search the database of photographs, please click here.