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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 The Idyll of Brook Farm as Revealed by Unpublished Letters in the Boston Public Library.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. Also see More Books, vol. 12, February-March, 1937, pp. 49-68 amd 93-114.

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.


Box and Folder Listing


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Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 24: Ripley, George, 1802-1880. Autograph letter signed to John Sullivan Dwight; West Roxbury, 1840 July 7Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Ripley comments on his resignation from the Purchase Street church, and on the first issue of the Dial. 1s. (4 p.)
Folder 26: Ripley, Sophia Willard Dana, 1803-1861. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; West Roxbury?, 1840 August 1Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
A description of the farm the Ripleys have settled at in West Roxbury. Quoted in The Idyll of Brook Farm, pp. 12-13. 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 27: Ripley, George, 1802-1880. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Brook Farm, 1840 August 6Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Ripley is glad that the publication of the Dial has caused such a great stir in the press. 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 28: Peabody, Elizabeth Palmer, 1804-1894. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Boston, 1840 September 20Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Peabody informs Dwight about some recent Transcendental Club meetings. 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 29: Osgood, Samuel, 1812-1880. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Nashua, New Hampshire, 1840 November 21Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Osgood saw Ripley in Boston and is excited by the plans for the proposed community. Quoted in The Idyll of Brook Farm, p. 14. 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 33: Peabody, Elizabeth Palmer, 1804-1894. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Boston?, [April 26, 1841]Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Peabody tells about the first arrivals at Brook Farm, including Hawthorne. There will be a meeting at her house on 12 May to discuss the future of the community, especially the school, and to raise money. Quoted in The Idyll of Brook Farm, pp. 14-17. 2 s. (4 p.)
Folder 34: Ripley, Sophia Willard Dana, 1803-1861. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Boston, May 6, [1841]Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
There are now sixteen people at Brook Farm. Daily activities are described. Quoted in The Idyll of Brook Farm, pp. 17-18. 3 s. (6 p.)
Folder 35: Peabody, Elizabeth Palmer, 1804-1894. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Boston, 1841 June 24Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Peabody fears Brook Farm will not come of age unless Ripley is more active in publicizing it. Quoted in The Idyll of Brook Farm, pp. 18-19. 2 s. (4 p.)
Folder 37: Dwight, John Sullivan, 1813-1893. Autograph Letter Signed to Reverend James Flint; Brook Farm, 1842 June 18Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Dwight has decided to quit preaching as a profession. 1 s. (3 p.)
Folder 40: Child, Lydia Maria, 1802-1880. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; New York, 1842 December 1Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Child asks about sending a recent widow, Caroline Henshaw Colt, to Brook Farm. (She was not admitted.) Quoted, with details about Mrs. Colt, in The Idyll of Brook Farm, pp. 22-25. 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 46: Curtis, George William, 1824-1892. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; New York, 1843 November 11Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Curtis already misses the people and culture at Brook Farm. 3 s. (6 p.)
Folder 47: Longfellow, Samuel, 1819-1892. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Horta, Fayal, the Azores, 1844 February 19Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Longfellow inquires about the membership rules and possibilities for schooling at Brook Farm. Quoted in The Idyll of Brook Farm, p. 28. 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 49: List, Christopher. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Philadelphia, 1845 March 14Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
List has read Dwight's letter to James Kay about the reorganization of Brook Farm along Fourierist lines and says he is fully in support of it. Quoted in The Idyll of Brook Farm, pp. 35-36. 1 s. (3 p.)
Folder 50: Osgood, Samuel, 1812-1880. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Providence, 1845 July 1Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Osgood renews his subscription to the Harbinger and wishes the community well. Quoted in The Idyll of Brook Farm, p. 34. 1 s. (3 p.)
Folder 52: Brisbane, Albert, 1809-1890. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; New York, 1845 December 2Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Brisbane comments on the progress of associationism. Quoted in The Idyll of Brook Farm, p. 31. 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 53: Brisbane, Albert, 1809-1890. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; New York, 1845 December 15?Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Brisbane comments on the progress of associationism. 1 s. (2 p.)
Folder 54: Brisbane, Albert, 1809-1890. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; New York, 1845 December 30Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Brisbane comments on the progress of associationism. 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 55: Channing, William Henry, 1810-1884. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Brattleboro, Vt., 1846 January 18Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Even if Brook Farm should fail, Channing feels the cause of unity will remain to unite people in a single reform movement. Quoted in The Idyll of Brook Farm, pp. 36. 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 56: Kirby, Georgiana Bruce, 1818-1887. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Alton, Illinois, 1846 January 18Add to your cart.
Bruce misses Brook Farm but keeps up on it by reading "The Harbinger". She has obtained seven new subscriptioons for the paper in Illinois. 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 57: Dana, Charles Anderson, 1819-1897. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Brook Farm?, 1846 March?Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
The Brook Farmers will meet with the creditors and holders of loans on the community to ask for a reduction in their interest rates. If this is not possible, then they will have to declare bankruptcy. Quoted in The Idyll of Brook Farm, p. 43. 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 58: Kay, James, Jr., 1804-1856. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Philadelphia, 1846 March 2Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Kay despairs more than ever about the possibilities for the success of Brook Farm. There has been too much emphasis on associationism and reform, and not enough on making each member working to make the community pay its own way. 2 s. (7 p.) Quoted in The Idyll of Brook Farm, pp. 37-38.
Folder 59: Ripley, Sophia Willard Dana, 1803-1861. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Brook Farm?, 1846? March 14Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Everyone at Brook Farm has read with interest his letter about life in New York. They have reviewed their financial accounts and have almost decided to give up all their property and start new. Quoted in The Idyll of Brook Farm, p. 39. 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 60: Dwight, John Sullivan, 1813-1893. Autograph Letter Signed to George Ripley; New York, 1846 March 16Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Dwight has been lecturing on associationism. He has talked to Horace Greeley, Marcus Spring, and others, who have agreed to give up their stocks in Brook Farm and even buy new shares to help continue the community. Ripley may consider all stock in Brook Farm held in New York as cancelled. 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 61: Ripley, George, 1802-1880. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Brook Farm, 1846 March 19Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Ripley describes the future prospects of the community after the Phalanstery fire. He also comments on the belated celebration of Charles A. Dana's marriage. Quoted in The Idyll of Brook Farm, pp. 39-40. 1 s. (2 p.)
Folder 62: Tweedy, Edmund. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; New York, 1846 April 18Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Tweedy wishes Brook Farm well and says Dr. Wilkenson would have no objection to seeing his favorable letter on the community published in "The Harbinger". 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 63: Kay, James, Jr., 1804-1856. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Philadelphia, 1846 April 22Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Kay sends money to pay for his board during a recent visit to Brook Farm. He will try to raise money for the community in Philadelphia. Quoted in The Idyll of Brook Farm, p. 43. 1 s. (2 p.)
Folder 64: Spring, Marcus. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Uxbridge, New York, 1846 May 29Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Spring wishes to be sent current issus of  "The Harbinger". 1 s. (2 p.)
Folder 65: Channing, William Henry, 1810-1884. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Rondout, New York, 1846 November 8Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Channing gives his feelings about the possibilities for the future of reform. Quoted in The Idyll of Brook Farm, pp. 43-44. 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 66: Orvis, John. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Middlebury, Vermont, 1846 December 9Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Orvis sends in money for subscriptions to The Harbinger and gives an account of his recent lectures on behalf of associationism. Quoted in The Idyll of Brook Farm, pp. 45-46. 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 68: Allen, John. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Cincinnati, 1848 April 27Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Allen comments on the future of associationism. 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 70: Godwin, Parke, 1816-1904. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; New York, 1848 December 8Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Godwin complains that the literary department of "The Harbinger" is being neglected. 1 s. (4 p.)
Folder 91: Macdaniel, Fanny. Autograph Letter Signed to John Sullivan Dwight; Brook Farm?, ca. 1840–1848 April 28Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Macdaniel asks for information about the Brook Farm school for a friend. 1 s. (4 p.)

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