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USPS celebrates 250 years of Shaker design

June 20, 2024

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The Postal Service will release its Shaker Design stamps on Thursday, June 20, coinciding with the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the first Shakers in America.

Founded in England in the 18th century, the Shakers were a celibate, pacifist and socially progressive offshoot of mainstream Quakerism.

In 1774, a small group of Shakers immigrated to America to escape persecution and eventually settled near Albany, NY.

By the 1840s, at their height, approximately 5,000 Shakers lived in more than a dozen, largely self-sufficient settlements from Maine to Kentucky.

Their minimalist designs — including furniture, textiles and architecture — include no excessive ornamentation. Instead, the Shakers concentrated on the harmony of form and function, creating pieces renowned worldwide for their simplicity, utility and impeccable quality.

Derry Noyes, an art director for USPS, designed the stamps using photos by Michael Freeman.

The selvage features a black-and-white photo of Brother Ricardo Belden (1868-1958), a Shaker carpenter and artisan, in his workshop in Pittsfield, MA. The 1930s photo was taken by Samuel Kravitt.

The stamps will be available in panes of 12 at Post Offices and usps.com.

USPS will dedicate the stamps June 20 during an event in Pittsfield.

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