The Hancock Shakers published the “Rules for Visitors” in May of 1872 in theĀ Pittsfield SunĀ that stated the following:

  1. We do not keep public house, and wish to have our rules attended to as much as any one would the rules of their own private dwelling.
  2. Those who wish to see their friends or relatives are to visit them at the office and not to go elsewhere except by permission of those at the office.
  3. Those who live near and can call at their convenience are not expected to stay more than a few hours;-such as live at a distance and have near relatives living at the Shakers, are allowed to remain from 1 to 4 days.
  4. Visitors are required to rise and breakfast at 6 1/2 o’clock in Summer and at 7 o’clock in Winter.
  5. At the table all visitors are requested to be free as at home, but we dislike the wasteful habit of leaving food on the plate. No vice is with us less ridiculous for being fashionable.
  6. Married persons tarrying with us over night are respectfully notified that each sex occupy separate sleeping apartments while they remain. This rule will not be deviated from in any case whatever.
  7. Strangers calling for meals, or lodging, are expected to pay if accommodated.


These rules helped to enforce that their community, their beliefs and their rules would be respected by any visitors of friends or families while at the village. The Shakers believed in separating themselves from the World and in doing so wanted to maintain their boundaries when visitors were on their grounds.