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Shaker Museum

Cloak made by E. J. Neale & Co., Mount Lebanon, NY, ca. 1895. E. J. Neale & Co. made an average of 132 cloaks per year from 1890 through the beginning of the Second World War. The cloaks were a significant source of income for the Shakers.

A red cloak on a mannequin.

Photograph of the Emma J. Neale & Co. Workroom, Church Family, Mount Lebanon, NY, ca. 1910. Sister Emma J. Neale (front left) and her natural sister, Sadie Neale (just immediately behind her) are engaged in the variety of steps in making cloaks.

A group of women working in a sewing room.

Knitted wool sweater in "Yale" or navy blue, Hart & Shepard, Canterbury, New Hampshire, ca. 1900. Its label reads, "Shaker Sweater. Genuine. Hart & Shepard, Shakers, E. Canterbury, N. Y."

A black sweater on a wooden mannequin.
A wooden table with a metal rod on it.

Break every yoke: Shakers, gender equality, and women’s suffrage (2017)

Online Exhibition

The Cloak and Sweater Industries 1880-1950

Shaker sisters manufactured various styles of cloaks at villages in New York, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. Modeled on traditional Shaker style, the cloaks became popular and stylish among non-Shaker women. First Lady Frances Cleveland is said to have worn a Shaker cloak to her husband’s second presidential inauguration. The sale of cloaks at Mount Lebanon earned the Shakers $144,700 between 1881 and 1929, over $3 million in today’s dollars. At Canterbury and Enfield in New Hampshire, the sisters ran a successful business manufacturing knit sweaters, which were often sold to colleges such as Yale and Dartmouth as “letter sweaters” in the school’s color.

A black and white photo of a person smiling.

Shane Rothe

Curatorial Associate

Shane Rothe (they/them) joined Shaker Museum in July 2023, working with independent curator Maggie Taft on an exhibition for the new museum space in Chatham. Shane is an artist as well as a curator and continues to create in the mediums of painting, sculpture, writing, and performance. Shane holds a BFA from CalArts and an MA in art history and curatorial studies from the University of Chicago.