9780252026706

Free Love in Utopia : John Humphrey Noyes and the Origin of the Oneida Community

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780252026706

  • ISBN10:

    0252026705

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2001-09-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Illinois Pr
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Summary

The "free love" Oneida Community, founded in New York state during the turbulent decades before the Civil War, practiced an extraordinary system of "complex marriage" as part of its sustained experiment in creating the kingdom of heaven on earth. For more than thirty years, two hundred adult members considered themselves heterosexually married to the entire community rather than to a single monogamous partner. Free Love in Utopia provides the first in-depth account of how complex marriage was introduced among previously monogamous or single Oneida Community members. Bringing together vivid, firsthand writings by members of the community--including personal correspondence, memoranda on spiritual and material concerns, and official pronouncements--this volume portrays daily life in Oneida and the deep religious commitment that permeated every aspect of it. It also presents a complex portrait of the community's founder, John Humphrey Noyes, who demanded not only complete religious loyalty from his followers but also minute control over their sexual lives. It recounts the formidable legal suits faced by the community--one of which almost forced it to disband in 1852--and the critical behind-the-scenes work of Noyes's second-in-command, John L. Miller. Most important, Free Love in Utopia describes in detail how Oneida's "enlarged family" was created and how its unorthodox practices affected its members. Key selections from a large collection of primary documents detailing Oneida's early years were compiled by George Wallingford Noyes, nephew of the founder. The present volume, astutely edited and introduced by noted communitarian scholar Lawrence Foster, marks the first publication of G. W. Noyes's remarkable manuscript, excerpted from the irreplaceable original documents that were deliberately burned after his death. The volume also reproduces Oneida's First Annual Report, which contains the sexual manifesto that underlay the community. George Wallingford Noyes (1870-1941) was a nephew of Oneida Community founder John Humphrey Noyes and the author of The Religious Experience of John Humphrey Noyes, Founder of the Onedia Community and John Humphrey Noyes: The Putney Community.

Author Biography

George Wallingford Noyes (1870-1941) was a nephew of Oneida Community founder John Humphrey Noyes and the author of The Religious Experience of John Humphrey Noyes, Founder of the Onedia Community and John Humphrey Noyes: The Putney Community Lawrence Foster, a professor of American history at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Roots of an Extraordinary Community ix
Cast of Characters xlix
The George Wallingford Noyes Document
Noyes Again at the Helm
1(12)
Settlement of the Putney Lawsuits
13(9)
Life in the Association: January 1849
22(4)
The Spirit of Desertion: February to March 1849
26(6)
Founding of the Brooklyn Branch: February to May 1849
32(2)
Excommunication of Otis Miller: May 20, 1849
34(3)
Community Fanaticism and Tensions: June 1849 to February 1850
37(6)
Industry and Finance: August 1849 to July 1851
43(10)
The Children's House: August 11, 1849, to February 2, 1851
53(5)
Battle of Putney Rear Guard: September 2, 1849, to December 15, 1852
58(9)
Relations with Outsiders: 1849--1853
67(8)
Case of Francis Hyde: September to December 1850
75(10)
Abigail Merwin: December 28, 1850, to July 16, 1851
85(6)
Noyes's Trip to Europe: April 16 to June 4, 1852
91(2)
The Wallingford Branch: May 1851
93(1)
The Hubbard Quarrel: July 26, 1850, to January 12, 1851
94(3)
Burning of the Printing-Office and Store: July 5--19, 1851
97(4)
Sinking of the Sloop: July 16 to August 29, 1851
101(14)
Mrs. Cragin's Position in the Church: September 4, 1851
115(4)
Spiritualism, True and False: August 6 to December 4, 1851
119(11)
Education and Amusements: August 19, 1851, to November 2, 1854
130(4)
Collision of the Kingdom of God with Hades: September 1851
134(2)
The Utica Indictments: September 27, 1851, to December 23, 1851
136(9)
Editorial Attack by the New York Observer: January 22, 1852
145(4)
The Putney ``Senate'': October 2, 1851, to February 17, 1852
149(3)
A Concentric Convention: February 1 to October 31, 1852
152(17)
Hostilities Renewed: April 1 to July 6, 1852
169(17)
Victory of the 27th July, 1852
186(6)
The Resumption of Complex Marriage: August 29, 1852
192(2)
Constitutional Christianity
194(3)
Industry and Finance: August 1851 to January 1853
197(10)
Seven Lectures on Social Freedom: November 26, 1852, to January 15, 1853
207(6)
Administration of Complex Marriage: June 1849 to December 1852
213(36)
Tilt with Tobacco: 1853
249(9)
Tea, Coffee, and other Stimulants: 1854
258(2)
Wrestlings with Disease and Death: September 16, 1851, to July 3, 1854
260(25)
Review of the Brooklyn Epoch: 1849 to 1854
285(7)
Concentration at Oneida: 1854
292(3)
Appendix: First Annual Report of the Oneida Association 295(68)
Index 363

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