Henry Clay Blinn

Henry Clay Blinn (July 16, 1824 – April 1, 1905) was an American Shaker leader, writer, and artist.

Blinn was a native of Providence, Rhode Island, and began his career apprenticed first to a tailor and after that to a jeweler in that city. In 1838 he joined the Shaker community in Canterbury, New Hampshire, where he would remain for the stop of his life. In 1841 he became boys' caretaker, a job he was irritated to step down from in 1849 later than he was assigned to the print shop. Soon he returned to the caretaker position, only to depart it in 1852 upon his consent as Second Elder under Robert Fowle. Three months later he became a supporter of the Ministry as second to Elder Abraham Perkins. He became First Elder of the Church Family in November 1865, and took exploit of the public meeting in 1865, remaining in that role until public meeting at Canterbury ceased in 1889.

During his dynamism Blinn occupied various roles including printer, typesetter, publisher, writer, teacher, beekeeper, dentist, tailor, tinware maker and repairer, and cabinetmaker. He reduced the Shaker Society's monthly journal, The Manifesto, and chronicled the community's history. He was moreover a maker of illustrated maps, although unaccompanied three examples are known from his hand. They depict Canterbury and two communities in New York, Watervliet and New Lebanon, and are counted along with the most important of their type. The image of Canterbury, made in 1848, is the largest and most enlarge of anything such Shaker maps at nearly seven feet in length. As a printer he produced, among other things, a pair of miniature books for children, The Little Instructor and Dew Drops of Wisdom. He also condensed two hymnals, A Sacred Repository of Anthems and Hymns of 1852 and A Collection of Hymns and Anthems Adapted to Public Worship of 1892. Blinn was a mentor to Cora Helena Sarle in her forward years at Canterbury, and was held responsible for introducing her to the art of botanical illustration.

Blinn's 1839 map of New Lebanon is currently owned by the American Folk Art Museum. Several pieces of his cabinetry survive as well, including a sewing desk of more or less 1870, a dining table, a slant-front desk, and a large secretary, among other long-lasting pieces. Several items by his hand, including copies of the miniature books, are in the growth of the Shaker Museum, Mount Lebanon.

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