Sarah “Lucy” Hanum

A Short Biography: Sarah “Lucy” Hanum, Harvard Shaker  (1760-1845)

by Roben Campbell, Shaker researcher


Lucy Hanum was a young woman when Mother Ann and the Elders came to Harvard. Roxelana Grosvenor gathered the following recollection of Father James from Lucy:

…when she first saw Father James, the first words she heard him speak were these. Plow up the fallow ground of your heart & make room for the good seed to be sown therein & let it take deep root * it will spring up & grow & flourish & bear fruit & you will eat of it & know it is good. She said the first Elders would not allow anyone to put any living thing into the fire even the least insect for they said it was a hard death to be burned. Lucy Hanum said the Elders used to tell us if we had the corners of our rooms, Chests or any place in our possessions dirty just so in proportion was it in our hearts.[1]

 She followed these words, and her devotion was such that Abijah Worster was able to heal her when she was ailing as an older woman, age sixty-five. She was reported to be sick in February, and in March had a “most distressing paroxysism of disease.” Several days later it is reported that Abijah healed her.[2] Abijah healed by “laying [his] hands on the patient until the glow of warmth was felt” in the subject.[3]

Lucy Hanum, who lived in the North Family,[4] made mops, one of the sisters’ many industries that used twisted or plied yarns of wool, cotton, or line. The yarn colors were commonly natural white with red and blue, red from the madder plant, and blue from indigo. A mop bearing her initials with a hand hewn handle is in the collection at the Harvard Historical Society.


[5]3.23 sarah lucy hanum photo













[1] RG,51L, WRHS.VI.B.9

[2] February 15, 1825, March 16, 1825, and March 19, 1825, Joseph Hammond Journal, FM 1.10.

[3] Biography of Abijah Worster, WRHS.VI.A.5.

[4] January 8, 1828. FM 4.2,

[5] From photo collection of Roben Campbell




All rights reserved. © Roben Campbell, 2016.