In commemoration of the end of World War I on Armistice Day, 1918, a free public program on the War as it affected Canterbury will be offered on Sunday, November 11 at 1 pm at Canterbury Shaker Village.  Presented at the Village’s Hubbard Education Center in partnership with the Canterbury Historical Society, the two historical lectures will be complemented by a pop-up exhibit of related World War I artifacts

“Although the Shakers were pacifists, they supported the efforts of the country during World War I, just as their Canterbury neighbors did,” said Susan Bennett, executive director of Canterbury Shaker Village. “This Veterans’ Day program commemorating the end of the Great War will provide vivid detail of the activities of the Shakers and the townspeople during this crucial period in American history. Fascinating artifacts from the collections of both Shaker Village and the Canterbury Historical Society will be on display,” added Bennett. 

Kathryn Grover, author of Staying Small in a Century of Growth: Canterbury, NH 1900-2000, is a writer and historian who lives in Vermont.  To write this history, she took part in a town-wide effort to gather stories that reflect the unusual sense of community that Canterbury is known for.  Her remarks will focus on the World War I era in town.

Sue Maynard, Shaker scholar and author of A Shaker Life: The Diaries of Brother Irving Greenwood, will describe the Canterbury Shakers’ connection with the war.  While the Shakers were pacifists, they believed in providing aid to those in need.  One way that they helped was to knit socks for soldiers.  “For the Shakers here in Canterbury, war was not considered the way to settle matters. One of their primary tenets was that people should live in harmony and union.  When the United States entered World War I, they wished for peace but knew that as citizens of this country, they should support the war effort.  After all, their freedom to establish their societies was based on the religious freedom afforded them in the United States,” said Maynard.

More than four million American families sent their sons and daughters to serve in uniform during the Great War which started on July 28, 2014, and ended on November 11, 1918.  Over 116,000 U.S. soldiers died from combat and disease.  Another 200,000 were wounded, a casualty rate far greater than in World War II. 

To add to the local and personal narratives in this program, selections from the Shaker archives and the collections of the Canterbury Historical Society will be on display during the program.  Anyone who wishes to bring an artifact to share with the group after the presentation is encouraged to do so. 

Admission to this special World War I Centenary program is free; light refreshments will be served.

Guided tours of the Village are available on weekends in November and early December at 11 am and 2 pm for $10 per person.

Canterbury Shaker Village is a National Historic Landmark and non-profit museum that is dedicated to preserving the 200-year Shaker legacy and providing a place for learning, reflection, and renewal of the human spirit.  The Village was formed in 1792 by a Christian sect that believed in separation from “the World,” celibacy, communal living, and hard work and worship to create their own “heaven on earth.” The simple architecture and furnishings, stone walkways, exemplary gardens, and ordered yet innovative lifestyle at Canterbury still fascinate visitors today, twenty-five years after the last Shaker sister passed away. 

Canterbury Shaker is located at 288 Shaker Road in Canterbury, New Hampshire, just south of Laconia and north of Concord, NH.  For more information, visit www.shakers.org or see Facebook.

PHOTO Note: Red Cross War Poster; Courtesy of Canterbury Shaker Village, where sisters knit socks for soldiers to support the war effort..