Recently Carol Medlicott, professor of cultural and historical geography at Northern Kentucky University, published an article about music in the western Shaker communities titled “Let’s mingle our feelings”: Gender and Collectivity in the Music of the Shaker West” in Common-Place, vol. 13, no. 3 (Winter 2013). In the article she features photographs of manuscript music from several Shaker hymnals housed in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives unit of the Special Collections Library. Her article is partially the result of research performed at the Special Collections Library as a Research Fellow several years ago. Medlicott’s journal article is available online by clicking here.
Over the past eight decades, the Special Collections Library has become one of the premier research libraries for researching the Shakers or the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing. One reason for this niche collecting area is the library’s proximity to the Shaker village at South Union and the location of another Shaker village in the Commonwealth at Pleasant Hill. Many printed and manuscript items about Shakers, and particularly South Union, are found in the Special Collections Library. Examples of Shaker furniture, textiles, and other artifacts are housed in the Kentucky Museum. Another reason for this outstanding collection was the tireless efforts of former Kentucky Libray & Museum director and Shaker expert, Mary Julia Neal, to add relevant Shaker and other utopian studies materials to the library. To see the finding aid of Miss Neal’s own manuscript collection, click here.