Hardback
March 7, 2023
9780253065049
English
540
31 b&w photos
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$85.00 USD, £66.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Paperback / softback
March 7, 2023
9780253065056
English
540
31 b&w photos
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$40.00 USD, £31.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Richard McNemar

Frontier Heretic and Shaker Apostle

The first biography of a key and complex American religious figure of the nineteenth century, considered by many to be the "father of Shaker literature."

Richard McNemar (1770–1839) led a remarkable life, replete with twists and turns that influenced American religions in many ways during the early nineteenth century. Beginning as a Presbyterian minister in the Midwest, he took his preaching and the practice of his congregation in a radically different, evangelical "free will" direction during the Kentucky Revival. A cornerstone of his New Light church in Ohio was spontaneous physical movement and exhortations. After Shaker missionaries arrived, McNemar converted and soon played a prominent role in expanding and raising public awareness of their religion by founding Shaker communities in the Midwest, becoming the first Shaker published author and the most prolific composer of Shaker hymns.

Split between two opposing religious traditions—an evangelical movement attracting tens of thousands and Shakerism, which drew only hundreds to its villages—Richard McNemar's life poses a challenge for any biographer. Christian Goodwillie's mastery of the archival records surrounding McNemar and the Shakers allows him to tell McNemar's story in a way that fully captures the complexity of the man and the scope of his enduring legacy in American religious history.

About the Author

Christian Goodwillie is the Director and Curator of Special Collections at the Burke Library of Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. He was Curator of Collections at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, from 2001 to 2009. He has served as President of the Communal Studies Association and was recognized with their Distinguished Scholar Award in 2021. He has authored, coauthored, or edited eleven books and has written numerous articles on the Shakers and other intentional communities, early American history, Freemasonry, and other topics.

Reviews

"Goodwillie illuminates the life of Richard McNemar, who played a pivotal role in the formation of the complicated religious landscape of the trans-Appalachian west in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a period of American religious history that continues to deeply inform our national culture. McNemar's story seems deeply relevant now, as America has devolved into deep division over religious and political conviction, more than most of us have ever seen in our lifetimes."—Carol Medlicott, Northern Kentucky University

"This chronological and detailed treatment of his life highlights McNemar's contributions to Shaker theology, missionary efforts, leadership, poetry, hymns, and printing. Richard McNemar: Frontier Heretic and Shaker Apostle goes beyond and debunks whatever may remain of Shaker folklore connected McNemar. Instead, the reader appreciates him as a man of great integrity and deep religious faith who, in spite of a range of human imperfections, remained true to Mother Ann's Gospel."—Stephen J. Paterwic, author of Historical Dictionary of the Shakers, and The A-Z of the Shakers.
Indiana University Press

9780253065049 : richard-mcnemar-goodwillie
Hardback
March 7, 2023
$85.00 USD
9780253065056 : richard-mcnemar-goodwillie
Paperback / softback
March 7, 2023
$40.00 USD

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