Richie and Hayley
The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, or Shakers were a religious sect who branched off from the Quakers. Unlike most religions at the time, the Shaker community was led by a group of women and are known for supporting equality of sexes and pacifism. Although the Shaker religion is very seldom practiced these days, it is historically relevant and seen as a reform because it was a women led religion around a time where women's rights was just taking off.
A primary source from the Shaker religion is their furniture. Their design style of furniture reflects their religious beliefs in simplicity and honestly, seen in their well-made minimalist style furniture. There was much thought put behind the construction of Shaker furniture as they took into consideration the functional aspect of the piece as well as the proportionality. Nowadays, Shaker furniture is part of a highly sought after collective market, and many believe their simple and basic designs influenced the best modern day furniture designers.
Mother Ann Lee was seen as the founding mother of the Shaker religion. In 1747, women assumed leadership roles in the sect, following the lead of Mother Ann. They are known to have lived very simply but efficiently. During the Era of Manifestation, in the mid 19th century, the Shaker community reached its peak with close to 6,000 believers. After this period in time, their numbers started to decline, and by 1920, there were only 12 Shaker communities remaining in the United States. These days, there is only one active Shaker village, Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, located in southern Maine. The Shakers signify a time in history where women's rights was just beginning to take off and this religious sect symbolize a group where women assume authority and come to power, advocating gender equality in their practices.