“Plain People” Discussion Continues–Author Judith Miller & the Amana — 47 Comments

  1. I’ve really enjoyed connecting with folks on your blog, Lyn. Thank you so much for this opportunity. Can’t wait to see what Ann will be sharing with us next week, and Marta the following week! I know it will be fun and informative.

  2. Thanks for joining us, Diana. I really appreciate Lyn inviting some of us to share the differences and likenesses of “Plain People” so we can better understand each sect. It’s been fun, and I’m looking forward to Ann joining in about the Shakers next week.

  3. Hi Dena,
    Yes, the seven villages that comprise the Amana Colonies are in Iowa. Their beliefs are somewhat different than the Amish, but before they ceased their communal living, they were considered “Plain People.”

  4. This has been a lovely lively conversation. Remember next week, Ann H Gabhart will share with us about THE SHAKERS! I hope you’re enjoying this discussion as much as I am!

  5. Hi Amy,
    If you’re only three hours away, you should DEFINITELY visit the Colonies. Oktoberfest is the first weekend in October and I’ll be at the General Store for a booksigning. Would love to meet you. Of course, the festivities during Oktoberfest are a far cry from the type of lifestyle the people of Amana practiced back in the 1800’s.

  6. I agree with your brother, Becky. The food at the Amana restaurants is excellent. And, of course, goodies from the bakery and chocolate shop are always favorites. 🙂

  7. I do enjoy books about the Amish. It seems like there is an Amana colony in Iowa. Not sure but find this so interesting…

  8. I think the information about Amana is so interesting,their lifestyles, and their society. I have read a couple books about them, looking to read more. Thank You having this chat thing.

  9. That unfortunately is true, Judy. But it’s also very important for a writer to read other fiction on top of all the necessary research for books. And the other point is that I love to read. I think I need to take a reading vacation! Not a vacation from reading, but a vacation to do nothing but read.

  10. Hi Ann,
    I hope you can find some time to read, but you keep mighty busy with all your own writing. It’s so sad, but it’s truly difficult to find time to read once you’re a writer.

  11. Hi Emma,
    I’m truly pleased Lyn has given me this opportunity to share a little more about Amana with her readers. There are lots of folks who have never read about the Colonies–even residents of Iowa, where they are located. The Amana Society is the largest landowner in the State of Iowa so you’d think everyone who lives there would know about them, but I think it’s true that we sometimes overlook the history and beauty in our own backyard.

  12. Hi Cheryl,
    I hope you’ll have an opportunity to read some more of my books in the future. If you haven’t read any of the books set in Amana, I think you’d enjoy them–at least I hope so. 🙂

  13. Hi Frances,
    Thanks for your kind comments. If you aren’t the winner, you might check with your library to see if they have any of my books so you can learn a bit more about the Colonies. There are a total of six books, the first series is Daughters of Amana and the second series is Home to Amana.

  14. I have never heard of the Amana before reading this blog. from reading this blog I see similarities between the Amana and the Quakers.I am looking forward to reading A Shining Light (Home to Amana).Thank you for the opportunity to win.I enjoy reading Judith others books.

  15. I have heard of Judith. Have only read one of her books so far.
    Would love to win this one!

  16. Hi Janine,
    Glad you enjoyed reading about Amana. Hope you’ll ask your librarian to order some of the books if they aren’t available. Thanks for your comment!

  17. I agree, Caroline. I think the huge surge in books about “Plain People” is because we all long for a simpler life with more quiet time and not all the interruptions of our busy lives. Thanks for joining in the discussion!

  18. Thanks, Lynn. I love the cover, too. You’re right–they didn’t dress quite as plain as the Amish. In fact, the Amish who lived in Kolona, Iowa thought they were very “fancy.” 🙂 However, the girl on the cover wears her hair in a far more modern fashion than would have been used at that time. They had a calico mill where they produced very fancy fabrics to be sold to outsiders. While they wore some prints in Amana, usually they were of dark colors. It was those prints that created some raised eyebrows among the Amish. 🙂

  19. Hi Marta, Hope one day you can visit the Colonies. I know you’d find it a wonderful experience. For anyone who loves history, it’s a real treat.

  20. Hi Gail, Glad you joined in and learned a little about these fine folks. I had the pleasure of going to Germany with a group of descendents and we visited many of the places where they migrated from and even the castle where they were protected for a period of time. It was a wonderful experience for me.

  21. Hi Paula, You’re right that there are similarities between the sects. I think that occurred because many of these groups were escaping persecution in Europe and wanted to exercise a personal relationship with Christ, and that idea was frowned upon by the church. Like churches today, the groups had their own idiosyncrasies that grew out of their personal interpretations of Biblical truths, so while their are similarities, differences remain. I hope you can visit Amana one day. You’d love it!

  22. Hi Jan, Glad you’re enjoying this month of “getting to know” more about the various sects of Plain People. If you’re ever in Iowa, you should stop and visit the Colonies. Although the folks there are no longer “plain,” in their dress, they maintain their villages and the history center has wonderful information and walking tours to enjoy.

  23. Glad you enjoyed learning about the people who settled in the Amana Colonies, Sonja. I had a wonderful time researching there and will return for Oktoberfest the first weekend in October to sign books and enjoy the atmosphere. Hope anyone living nearby will join me!

  24. That much sounds like the Shakers. They always wanted to do their work as well and as efficiently as possible. They invented machines to make that possible.

  25. I would love to win the book!!! I have never heard of the Amana, but I am reading about them in your answers. It is very interesting. I hope I win the book so I can learn more about them! Thanks you for this opportunity to win and God Bless You Both!!! Good luck to everybody!!!

  26. Sounds interesting. I’ve read a book or two about them but would love to learn more.

  27. I had never heard of these people before. I am learning a lot reading your blog and articles similar to them. It is very interesting how they believe and about their German background. Thanks for sharing these interesting facts with all of us!

  28. I had not heard anything about the Amana group before. I can see one or two similarities with the Quakers. I like learning about these groups. Thank you

  29. I’m familiar with the Amana Colonies.It is one of my cousin’s favorite place to visit. He loves the food.

  30. Thanks for that interview. I had heard of the Amana after my mom visited there last year. But I learned more in the above interview than what little she told me. I don’t know much about Quakers, other than they were very strict. I’ve been interested in reading about the Amana, since I only live 3 hours from them, and I like reading about US history with a Christian spin on it. If I don’t win this book, I should still pick up Ms Miller’s Amana books, since I have enjoyed her other books 🙂

  31. I have read books by Judith before and knew of this Amana grp from her stories. The communal kitchen is interesting and would like to visit a place like this someday. Interesting that many of these are just a little different but still similar…I sure enjoy reading about them.
    thanks for sharing about the differences in this post.

  32. I’ve read a lot about the Amish but have never heard of this group. Interesting…..

  33. Hi Elizabeth,
    Thanks for joining the discussion. The communal kitchens permitted time for the women to visit just like when we prepare large meals in our church kitchens. Not sure I’d like it everyday, but I do enjoy “group cooking” sometimes.

  34. Hi Judy and Lyn, No i do not know anything about the Amana and their ways. All I know about any of the plain people is only through books. I don’t think I would love to cook for a large amount of people everyday. Thanks for all your INFO .

  35. Ann, I visited the Shaker villages in both Canterbury, NH and Pleasant Hill, Kentucky and truly enjoyed learning about their culture and lifestyle. So glad you’ve written about them in your many books which I have enjoyed!

  36. Hi Ann,
    I love the cover, as well. Bethany House creates some lovely covers. Glad you asked about the Amana Corporation. It was founded in 1934 in Middle Amana by George Foerstner as the Electrical Equipment Company (this was after the change from communal living). It was later purchased by the Amana Society and became known as the Amana Refrigeration. It is now owned by Whirlpool, and remains in Middle Amana. Not sure how many employees work there, but quite a number. The first domestic microwave oven was produced in 1967 by Amana when they were a division of Raytheon. The people of Amana always embraced technology and were willing to use products that saved them time that could be better used to study the Word and worship God.

  37. The cover on your new book is awesome. I love reading about the Amana. Looks like they don’t dress as plain as the Amish. I would have liked to cooked in the communal kitchens. I would love to read your book and place comments on the sites. Your books are awesome!

  38. Love the cover of your new book, Judy. Very nice. And it was interesting to read this glimpse into the Amana history. What about the appliances? When did that start and were they actually made by the Amana communities?

  39. I think you’re no doubt right that it was difficult for the women to change the way they cooked. Of course, I’m sure the feeling of community lingered and perhaps they helped one another out. The relationships with the other women, or Shaker sisters, was one of the big pluses for women living in Shaker villages and they did have the communal kitchens too.

  40. I like reading books with an Amish setting. They just seem so peaceful and without so many distractions.It helps me focus on what is important in life.

  41. The communal kitchens were one thing that brought many of the women together in a “sense of community” where they could share their time and work together. I have often thought it must have been very difficult for the women when they voted to cease living communally. Just think about cooking for 40-50 people each day as a group and then cooking for only your small family. Plus, all the homes had to have kitchens installed and then there would be all that cookware to purchase. 🙂

  42. I have read only one book about the Amana and found them so interesting and different, but I don’t remember who all wrote the book or the name now. I have been trying to look for more books about the Amana. Now I will look at the library for Judith Miller books.

    I saw that they are different because of that one book where the colonies were so willing to allow someone into their homes from the outside world without any hesitation. I haven’t really read many books about the Quakers so I don’t know how different the two are, but from the Amish there is a huge difference it seems.

    Thank you for sharing about the Amana for I really want to read more about them.


  43. I only know of the Amana because of Judiths writing. They seem somewhat similar to the Quakers.

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