Abigail Crossman (1807-1889) served the Mount Lebanon Shaker Village, in New Lebanon, New York, as a dyer, girls' caretaker, weaver, palm leaf hat maker, deaconess, and eldress. In addition, she kept a journal when she lived at the Groveland Shaker Village, in Groveland, New York, in 1873-1888.*
This 109-page book was transcribed from Crossman's notebook by Phoebe Van Houten, a member of the New Lebanon Shaker community. It contains sixty-one culinary recipes, twenty recipes for dyeing, and twenty-two recipes for household products, remedies, and wine-making. Six of the dyeing recipes are dated from 1843 to 1853. Two of the culinary recipes were probably transcribed from The American Housekeeper, by An Experienced Lady, first published in 1853. Two receipts, Pain Extractor and Elderberry Ink, are credited to "The Maple Leaves," a mid-18th century Canadian publication.
The culinary recipes are written from the last page of the notebook going toward the center, upside down in relation to the front of the book. The recipes include Election Cake, Boston Rice Cake, Shortbread, and Gingerbread; Green Corn Griddle Cakes, Superior Batter Cakes, Buttermilk Muffins, Waffles, Graham Puffs, and Parker House Rolls; Cream Batter Pudding and Orange Pudding; Egg Puffs; Cold Meat; Tomato Figs, Preserves, and Catsup; and Liquid Yeast.
The book contains references to several Shaker communities. Dyeing receipts include the following notes: "Bad State of Dye at [Shaker] East Family"; "A request from the [Shaker] East Family opened another field of experience…"; and "A new dye commences at the [Shaker] Second Family [New Lebanon, New York]." A soap formula is attributed to the Shaker Community in Canterbury, New Hampshire, and a Black Ink receipt to the Shaker Community in Tryingham, Massachusetts.
*See Shaker Autobiographies, Biographies and Testimonies, 1806–1907, Volume 3: No. 83.