Research Archives

The Canterbury Shaker Village archives consist 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.  

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; these disparate and seemingly unrelated materials together tell the history of the Canterbury Shakers.

Manuscript Collections

  • 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 
  • Books from the Infirmary library 

Manuscript Collections

  • 41 maps and plans 
  • A color map drawn in 1848 by Elder Henry Blinn 
  • 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 

Photographic Collections

The Archives contain approximately 10,000 photographic images, including

  • Approximately 80 photograph albums
  • Framed photographs
  • Negatives and transparencies
  • Cabinet cards
  • Cartes-de-visite
  • 1920s snapshots
  • Stereographic views
  • Postcards

To provide greater accessibility to our collections, our digitized photo collection is available on-line with a keyword search capability. View the database of photographs here.

Roger Lee Hall Collection of Shaker Music

A recent addition to the Canterbury Shaker Village Archives is the Roger Lee Hall Collection of Shaker Music, which includes materials related to Roger Hall’s lifelong research and performances of Shaker music.

  • Recordings
  • Research notes
  • Correspondence
  • Compilations
  • Articles
  • Photographs 

To view the finding aid, please click here.

Guidelines for Research Access to Archives

As a nonprofit education institution, Canterbury Shaker Village strives to provide maximum access to the collections to the public and the 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.