Library & Archives

Elizabeth Nord Library & Archives

Elizabeth Nord was the Shaker Historical Society's first director and curator. Mrs. Herman Nord was tireless in her mission to preserve, protect, and to promote the legacy of the Shakers of North Union. She was instrumental in forming the Society and in preventing the construction of the Clark Freeway, which would have destroyed the Shaker Lakes. The Society's Elizabeth Nord Library and Archives was dedicated to her memory on September 15, 1987.

The library is open to researchers by appointment only. Admission is free for SHS members or $5 for general admission.

The library contains books related to the Shakers of North Union, utopian societies, the development of Shaker Heights, and Cleveland. The archives contain vertical files about Warrensville Township, the Shakers, and Shaker Heights. We are actively collecting material.

Some of the special collections include our Map Collection, Stereoview Collection, and the James A. Toman Photograph Collection, which features the Shaker Rapid and other interurban trains.

We are happy to do initial research at no charge, but if your inquiry will take us more than 15 minutes to address or search in our archives, we charge $25 an hour. Read more about research and image reproduction requests below.


Library Policies & Procedures

The Elizabeth Nord Library collects, preserves, conserves, interprets, and exhibits books and archival materials related to the Shaker sect, Shaker Heights, Warrensville Township, and the surrounding area. Please note that on-site research requests may be declined at this time due to COVID-19 protocols and restrictions.


  1. The library is available for public use at a rate of $5 for adults and $3 for children. Use of the library is free for Shaker Historical Society members.

  2. Appointments for visiting the library are required in order to best serve your needs. To make an appointment, call 216.921.1201 or email collections@shakerhistory.org.

  3. Upon entering, present a photo ID and sign in with a member of the staff.

  4. Library and archives materials must be consulted in the assigned work area in the museum and may not be removed from the area at any time. No eating or drinking is allowed in the work area.

  5. No more than three items will be available to you at a time.

  6. Please do not re-shelve books or archival documents.

  7. Please maintain the existing arrangement of the material within folders and boxes. If anything appears to be misfiled, the researcher should not attempt to correct it but call it to the attention of the archives staff.

  8. Only pencils may be used for note taking. No pens, inks, erasable inks, or post-it notes may be used. Tracing from or writing on collection material is not permitted. Laptops, tablets, and mobile phones may be used, but they are not supplied by the museum.

  9. Copies can be made for $.25 per page for nonmembers and $.10 per page for members. No cell phones or photography of any kind are permitted by library patrons. The Shaker Historical Society may decline a request for duplication because the materials are oversize, too fragile, or fall outside the “fair use” standard. All duplication requests, including photocopies, must be approved by museum staff. A fee will be charged for photocopies or photograph reproductions.

  10. The library accepts gifts of books and other materials in accordance with our collection policy and The Shaker Historical Society’s mission.

  11. Digital copies of any library or archival document are prohibited without prior written permission. The Shaker Historical Society can produce digital images of documents with 7-10 days notice, with an appropriate fee depending upon the nature of its use.

  12. All images must be credited “Courtesy of the Elizabeth Nord Library, The Shaker Historical Society, Shaker Heights, OH”


Finding Aids & Inventories

Did you know?

The Shaker Historical Society shares a Shaker Heights collection with the Shaker Heights Public Library on Cleveland Memory. Browse the entire collection and be sure to look through Louis Baus's 1931 scrapbook "Shakers and Kirtland," a unique look at the Center, North, and East families of the North Union Shaker Colony. It also contains photographs of Warrensville Township and the Mormon Community in Kirtland, Ohio.


Research

Looking for information about your historic home?

The Shaker Heights Public Library's Local History Department shares an excellent guide to researching your Shaker home. You can also refer to the Shaker Heights Building Card Database.

Looking for information about the Shakers or Shaker Heights? Please submit our Research Request form.

All research requests are processed on a first-come, first-served basis and are time-dependent on staff availability. Once you submit this form, a staff member will contact you to confirm your request and to give you an estimated time frame.

All research fees must be paid upon completion of research. We accept cash, checks, credit cards, and PayPal. Our fees help to defray the costs of maintenance, care of materials, and staff time.

  • Applicants will be notified after the first free 15 minutes of staff research to assess the acquired research and determine if additional time is needed.

  • Additional research is $25.00 an hour with a minimum of one hour.

  • SHS members and museum personnel receive a 50% discount.

  • The entire fee must be paid at the end of the research session.

Looking for an image? Please submit our Image Reproduction Request form.

The Shaker Historical Society can provide high-resolution images for commercial, academic, and personal purposes. All image reproduction requests are processed on a first-come, first-served basis and are time dependent on staff availability. If you are on a deadline, please submit requests 7-10 days in advance if possible.

All image fees must be paid before images and/or prints are sent.

  • The Shaker Historical Society charges $75 per image for a single use. These funds help us care for our collection.

  • For high quality prints, we charge $25 to scan each image + cost to print and ship (if applicable).

  • The credit line should read as follows: “From The Shaker Historical Society, Shaker Heights, OH”. We do not necessarily hold copyright for all of the images in our permanent and archival collections, so you accept these images knowing that responsibility to obtain permission rests with you.

  • If images from our collection are published in a print or digital publication, we request a copy of that publication be mailed/emailed to our museum. Likewise, we would like to be informed of any websites that use images we have provided to you.