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Herb catalog, United Society of Shakers, New Gloucester, 1864

Contributed by United Society of Shakers
MMN Item 8811 Item Details
Herb catalog, United Society of Shakers, New Gloucester, 1864
MMN Item 8811 Zoom


The "Catalogue of Herb, Roots, Barks..." was published by the Sabbathday Lake Shakers in 1864. The catalog was one of the first printed catalogs produced by the Sabbathday Lake Shakers, although they had been in the herb business since 1799.

Previous information about the herb business had been printed as single sheet listings of herbs and seeds packaged for sale to the public. Purchasers of the herbs could use the listings to order herbs or purchase them from the Shakers as they made their way around Maine and the region on their extensive trade routes or the public could buy herbs at stores where the herbs had been consigned. The herbs were sold in paper wrapped cakes, four cakes to a pound.

The 155 varieties of medicinal and culinary (sweet) herbs, roots and barks named within the 1864 catalog represent the Shakers keen interest in the use and sale of herbs. The large number of medicinal herbs are reflective of the Shakers' knowledge of Samuel Thomson's "The Thomsonian Materia Medica" and the whole system of medical care that it stood for.

The herb industry was centered in the herb gardens at Sabbathday Lake and the processing of the herbs and seed took place in the Dry House, the Garden Seed House and the Herb House. The 1824 Herb House still stands at SDL although the present day herb industry is headquartered in the 1821 Sister's Shop.

Please note: Researchers using the facsimile should pay close attention to the definitions of the abbreviations and the section of "Synonyms." New Gloucester and West Gloucester are both referring to the same location, the present day Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, Route 26, New Gloucester.

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