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Caught Our Eyes: Simple Gifts (that Keep on Giving)

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Reference staff member Elizabeth Terry Rose, exercising both her keen eye and her artistic sensibility, offered her reflections upon seeing this photo by Samuel Kravitt highlighting Shaker design.

Sewing table and chair. Photograph by Samuel Kravitt, ca. 1935.
Sewing table and chair. Photograph by Samuel Kravitt, ca. 1935.

Sewing table and chair caught my eye for its timeless tidiness, its dignified peace, its light.  It is a Kravitt. It is a Wyeth, a Vermeer.  An invitation.”

Shaker historian Edward Deming Andrews commissioned Samuel Kravitt to photograph the Shakers in the 1930s. Kravitt’s photographs showing people and objects at Hancock, Massachusetts, eloquently convey Shaker values and ways of living. The photo is one of a group of  photographs and films that Samuel Kravitt’s widow, Marcia Kravitt, gave to the Library of Congress in 2004–a gift that keeps on giving in both the historical documentation and the  aesthetic pleasure the materials afford viewers.

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