PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ADELAIDE DE MENIL AND EDMUND CARPENTER
In 1812, the use of dining tables of this type at Watervliet was described by Thomas Brown, who was a member of the community there: “The brethren and sisters generally eat at the same time at two long tables placed in the kitchen, men at one and women at the other; during which time they sit on benches, and are all silent. They go to their meals walking in order, one directly after the other; the head of the family or Elder, takes the lead of the men, and one called Elder Sister takes the lead of the women. Several women are employed in cooking and waiting on the table – they are commonly relieved weekly by others.”1
1 Timothy Rieman and Jean Burks, The Encyclopedia of Shaker Furniture (Atglen, PA” Schiffer Publishing, 2003), p. 232.
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