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Religion, Spirituality, & Beliefs:Shaker

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Shaking the Faith: Women, Family, and Mary Marshall Dyer's Anti-Shaker Campaign, 1815-1867, Elizabeth De Wolfe

1 Shaking the Faith: Women, Family, and Mary Marshall Dyer's Anti-Shaker Campaign, 1815-1867
Elizabeth De Wolfe
256 pages, paperback, Palgrave Macmillan
In 1815, Mary Marshall Dyer renounced her Shaker beliefs and departed from the religious community in Enfield, New Hampshire, that she had called her home, leaving behind her husband and five children. Angry and alone, Dyer embarked on a fifty year public campaign against the Shakers in an effort to obtain custody of her children and to discredit the sect. The American public followed the debate with great interest. De Wolfe tells this now little-known story in brilliant detail, and shows why Dyer's life captured America's imagination. Titillating details about the mysterious sect no doubt contributed to Dyer's popularity, but her story also resonated because it reflected profound changes in family, religion, and gender that Americans faced in the world before the Civil War.

About Author
Elizabeth A. De Wolfe is Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of New England.

Winner of the 2003 Outstanding Publication Award, Communal Studies Association

"Elizabeth De Wolfe's account of Dyer's circumstances, motives, and activities as a prominent Shaker apostate sheds new light on a lifelong quest to fulfill her role as wife and mother and on the larger world of career apostates that she entered. Drawing on scholarly resources dealing with gender and family as well as with religious history and print culture, De Wolfe integrates her narrative of this remarkable woman into the larger story of nineteenth-century American religion, society, and culture."--Stephen J. Stein, Chancellors' Professor of Religious Studies, and Adjunct Professor of History, Indiana University, Bloomington
"In this skillfully researched and deftly written study, Elizabeth De Wolfe suggests new perspectives for understanding the Shakers, the role of women in new religious and communal movements, and the problems that a capable woman had as she tried to develop an independent life and have a public impact in a society where women's roles were severely circumscribed."--Lawrence Foster, author of Religion and Sexuality: The Shakers, the Mormons, and the Oneida Community
"Shaking the Faith tells the compelling story of a woman and a religious sect locked in a dangerous duel on the margins of American culture. Elizabeth De Wolfe vividly exposes the historical roots of questions that continue to perplex contemporary society: What happens when a marriage falls apart? How should a mother behave? What constitutes a proper family? Shaking the Faith offers a fascinating look at the very public fracturing of the Dyer marriage, and explores what the couple's tempestuous divorce revealed about gender, family and faith in the early American republic."--Nancy Lusignan Schultz, author of Fire & Roses: The Burning of the Charlestown Convent, 1834
"Carefully researched and thoughtfully argued, Shaking the Faith is a valuable case study of one woman's struggle to live up to society's and her own expectations. Elizabeth De Wolfe is particularly adept at connecting Dyer's campaign to larger tensions in antebellum America: the
f1debate over the proper roles for husbands and wives, the relationship between government and the family, and the limits of religious toleration."--Priscilla Brewer, University of South Florida

Table of Contents
Introduction: Shakers and Anti-Shakers
Conversion, Deconversion and Apostasy
The Sympathy and Malice of Mankind
The World Worked Up to Some Purpose
A Spectacle for Remark
In Deep Affliction
Notorious Against Them
Price: 24.95 USD


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