Wagan, Robert M. (1833-1883)

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Robert Wagan was born in New York, NY, and came to live at the South House of the Second Family of Mount Lebanon in 1839. He was a deacon and then second elder for the South Family when it was made independent of the Second Family in 1863. In about 1870, he took charge of, and transformed, the chair industry. He rebuilt the factory, set up a show room to display the chairs, and issued new catalogs under the name R. M. Wagan & Co. In addition, he, with Brother William Potter, patented an improvement to a corn cutting machine which, along with a display of chairs, was exhibited at the Centennial Exposition held in Philadelphia in 1876. In 1879, he was made first elder of the South Family, but died of pneumonia in 1883. In an obituary published in the Shaker Manifesto, Sister Elsie McFarland wrote, "In temporal things we leaned on him as on a staff that could never fail us. As a leader we were sure he would never lead us astray.... As a brother the best beloved."




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Shaker Museum Wagan, Robert M. (1833-1883). https://shakermuseum.us/people/?id=295. Accessed on March 3, 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.