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John Sullivan Dwight correspondence regarding Brook Farm

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John Sullivan Dwight correspondence regarding Brook Farm, 1840-1848 | Boston Public Library Archival and Manuscript Finding Aid Database

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Collection Overview

Title: John Sullivan Dwight correspondence regarding Brook Farm, 1840-1848Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

Collection Identifier: MS E.4.1

Primary Creator: Dwight, John Sullivan, 1813-1893

Extent: 32.0 Items

Arrangement: Arranged chrolologically.

Subjects: Brook Farm Phalanx (West Roxbury, Boston, Mass.), Dwight, John Sullivan, 1813-1893, Dwight, John Sullivan, 1813-1893 — Correspondence

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection contains thirty-two letters written to John Sullivan Dwight between 1840-1848 and cover a variety of subjects including George Ripley’s (1802-1880) resignation from the Purchase Street church in 1840; Sophia Ripley’s (1803-1861) description of early life on the Farm; Albert Brisbane’s (1809-1890) comments of the progress of associationism; the future prospects of the community after the Phalanstery fire; and William Henry Channing’s (1810-1884) thoughts about the future of the reform movement. Many of the letters in this collection were printed in Haraszti, Zoltàn. The Idyll of Brook Farm as Revealed by Unpublished Letters in the Boston Public Library. Boston: Trustees of the Boston Public Library, 1940.

Collection Historical Note

Founded by George Ripley (1802-1880) in 1841, the Brook Farm Institute of Agriculture and Education was a Transcendentalist community located in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. Brook Farm was an experiment in communal living that sought to create a harmonious society wherein both men and women shared the labor which in turn provided them with more time to pursue their intellectual and artistic interests. Residents were stockholders in the Farm. Another important element of Brook Farm was its school which provided a progressive education, and was its main source of income. In 1844, the Farm converted to the ideas of Charles Fourier, who advocated for a society that was divided into cooperative communities of small self-sustaining groups called phalanxes. With the conversion came a new constitution and the name Brook Farm Association for Industry and Education. From 1845-1847, the Harbinger, a journal dedicated to social and political reform, was published at Brook Farm and edited by Ripley. A fire in 1846 destroyed the central building (the Phalanstery) and together with financial difficulties, contributed to the dissolution of the community in 1847. Among the residents of Brook Farm were Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) who wrote The Blithdale Romance (1852), a novel about life on the Farm, Charles A. Dana (1819-1897), and John Sullivan Dwight (1813-1893). Among the frequent visitors were Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) Margaret Fuller (1810-1850), Bronson Alcott (1799-1888), and Elizabeth Peabody (1804-1894), in whose bookshop the first conversations about Brook Farm took place, and Theodore Parker (1810-1860).

Subject/Index Terms

Brook Farm Phalanx (West Roxbury, Boston, Mass.)
Dwight, John Sullivan, 1813-1893
Dwight, John Sullivan, 1813-1893 — Correspondence

Administrative Information

Repository: Boston Public Library Archival and Manuscript Finding Aid Database

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions:

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. The Boston Public Library does not hold copyright on the material in this collection. Researchers are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright.

When reproducing material from this collection please include the credit line "Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books."

Acquisition Source: Unknown

Preferred Citation: John Sullivan Dwight correspondence regarding Brook Farm, MS E.4.1. Rare Books and Manuscripts Department. Boston Public Library. Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.

Processing Information: Finding aid written by Rare Books and Manuscripts staff.

Finding Aid Revision History: Updated by Kimberly Reynolds, September 2014.


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