Evans appointed Antoinette Doolittle as co-editor and renamed the paper The Shaker and Shakeress. These actions, as much as anything, illustrate the commitment of Evans and the rest of the progressives to the principle of women's rights.
Antoinette Doolittle, in her role as co-editor of The Shaker and Shakeress, also pledged her support to the women's rights movement.
Rupe claimed The Shaker and Shakeress signaled "a new era of woman" in which the "poor fallen sisterhood" would be sought out and uplifted.
The Shaker and Shakeress became the conduit to the outside world and among the societies for the progressive women's rights discourse.
Evans, "Editorial Change, Summary," The Shaker and Shakeress 5 (December 1875).
Evans, letter to the editor of the New Haven Daily Press, reprinted in The Shaker and Shakeress 5 (January 1875), 4.
Thompson's "The Shaker Lovers" (1848), Elder Higgins, an archetypal villain of nineteenth-century melodrama, with his "thick, dumpy figure, little hooked nose, whitish, gloating eyes and ill-omened countenance," ominously takes a special interest in one particular Shakeress, "the young, innocent and lovely Martha" Hilson.
One such document is a series of poems written by Hortency Hooser, a Shakeress who lived her entire adult life (1809-84) in the community at Pleasant Hill, Kentucky.
A reader of Shaker fiction who has read about numerous trapped, powerless, and almost lifeless female protagonists might accept the exceptional case of a powerful Shaker eldress, like Lucy Smith, or a dominant national leader, like Lucy Wright, but might still believe that the average Shakeress led a restricted, monotonous, and regimented life.
Seth came in and smoked with us." (50) Such images of a Shaker woman strolling the mountainside, visiting families outside the village, and smoking with a brother dispel the picture popularized by fiction of the repressed, imprisoned, or almost lifeless Shakeress.
Naamah, the young Shakeress and love interest of the protagonist, presents what the general public saw as the harsh and cold Shaker attitude toward maternity and the solution to the dangers therein.
A Shakeress like Hortency Hooser probably never witnessed the public condemnation of someone like the fictional Agatha Lanyard Barker, a woman who had failed to live up to this "reproductive mandate." Instead she probably saw the Shakers extending a welcome and shelter to such women.