Neale, Emma Jane (1843-1943)

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Sister Emma Neale came to live at the East Family of Mount Lebanon in 1855. In 1861, she moved to the Church Family, where she lived for the next seven decades. In 1886 she was appointed an office deaconess, and in 1901 became a trustee of the Mount Lebanon community. As a trustee, she held responsibility for mitigating the community's declining financial fortunes; fortunately for the Shakers, she was a skilled businessperson. She managed the production of fancy goods made by the sisters and, in 1901, formed E. J. Neale & Co. which produced the popular Shaker cloaks. In 1930, she conducted the sale of the Church Family property to the founders of the Darrow School, and moved to Ann Lee Cottage, where she continued to sell cloaks and fancy goods. In addition to keeping the Church Family going, she helped Dr. Charles Adams of the New York State Museum and John S. Williams of the Shaker Museum and Library to acquire many Shaker-made and Shaker-owned objects for their respective institutions, ensuring the preservation of those objects for posterity. In 1940, she moved to the North Family and died there in 1943. 

See blog post on Sister Emma Neale's cloak workshop:



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Shaker Museum Neale, Emma Jane (1843-1943). Accessed on February 22, 2024

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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.