Ann The Word: The Story of Ann Lee, Female Messiah, Mother of the Shakers, the Woman Clothed with the Sun

Richard Francis

The first biography of Ann Lee, founder of the American Shaker movement and female Messiah. From humble origins in 18th century Manchester, Ann Lee (or Mother as she liked to be known) became the visionary religious leader of a community of the faithful in America.

In 1773 Ann Lee left the Manchester House of Correction where she had starved and been deprived of sleep for 14 days. In that time she claimed that, in a vision, God told her that she was the Messiah. She set forth to proclaim ‘Ann the Word’, the woman ‘clothed with the sun’ and took the title of Mother. Ironically her own four children all died at birth.

To escape persecution in 18th century Manchester, she took the faithful, including her husband and father, on a pilgrimage to America arriving in New York and later settling in Niskeyuna.

The Shaker phenomenon grew, fuelled by visions of Mother Ann after her death in 1784. Famed particularly for their later characteristic furniture design the shakers were only disbanded in the 1960s. This is the first account of the extraordinary life of a visionary who founded a community in her own image in Pioneering America.

Only in the 19th century did the Shakers create their characteristic furniture designs. The Shakers disbanded in the 1960s.

Reviews of Ann The Word: The Story of Ann Lee, Female Messiah, Mother of the Shakers, the Woman Clothed with the Sun

    • ’It is one of those books tht is utterly interesting for it’s own sake’Jeanette Winterson
    • ’A challenging reconstruction of a remote prophetic world’Evening Standard
    • ’Scrupulously researched and deftly constructed.’ City Life