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Their work was ‘nothing short of perfection’

The Shaker Design stamps are dedicated in Massachusetts

Kristie Jacobson, events manager at Shaker Hancock Village, left, unveils the stamp images with help from Pittsfield, MA, Postmaster Stefanie Curry.

The Postal Service honored the refined, timeless beauty of Shaker design at a June 20 stamp ceremony in Pittsfield, MA.

The release of the Shaker Design stamps coincide 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.

The Shaker Design stamps feature 12 images of notable architecture, furniture and more. The selvage shows a black-and-white photo of Brother Ricardo Belden (1868-1958), a Shaker carpenter and artisan.

“Shaker design exemplifies some of the core values of their life: honesty, humility and joyful simplicity,” said Pittsfield Postmaster Stefanie Curry, who spoke at the ceremony.

“They viewed all work as a form of worship, so they aspired to nothing short of perfection. Indeed, their pieces have a reputation for exceptional craftsmanship.”

The event was held at Hancock Shaker Village, a former Shaker commune that now serves as a museum and working farm. In addition to the unveiling of the stamps, attendees viewed the collection of furniture, crafts and tools.

The stamps, which feature 12 designs, showcase several attractions at Hancock Shaker Village, including a meeting room, a wooden box and a heater stove.

Other stamps show a tannery at a Shaker village in New Lebanon, NY, and a rocking chair in Canterbury, NH. The stamps are available at Post Offices and