In early America, Quakers dominated the political and social landscape of the area around Philadelphia. Because this region held a position of political and economic strength, the Quakers were tightly connected to the transatlantic economy. Given this vantage, they had easy access to the latest trends in fashion and business. Detailing how Quakers have manufactured, bought, and used such goods as clothing, furniture, and buildings, the essays in “Quaker Aesthetics,” edited by Emma Jones Lapsansky, professor of history at Haverford College, and Anne A. Verplanck, curator of prints and paintings at the Winterthur Museum, reveal a much more complicated picture than that of a simple people with simple tastes. Instead, the authors show how, despite the high quality of their material lives, the Quakers in the past worked toward the spiritual simplicity they still cherish.
—University of Pennsylvania Press
Originally published on January 16, 2003