Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 13, 2020 12:46 am

Annie Besant
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/12/20

Freda was clear long before she settled in India that she would be active in pursuing India's cause and so became part of a significant but slender tradition of white women who gained prominence within South Asian nationalist movements.

Of that tradition, Annie Besant was pre-eminent. She was the wife of an English vicar who walked out on her marriage, became a noted radical and freethinker, and eventually settled in Madras (now Chennai). She was a pioneering Theosophist and a powerful advocate of Indian nationalism and served as president of the Indian National Congress. There are striking parallels in the lives of Freda Bedi and Annie Besant, who both in turn showed commitment to radical politics, Indian nationalism and Eastern spirituality. Besant died a few months before Freda reached India, but Bedi had made a point of meeting her before he came to Oxford,...
Her life was very much in two acts (three if you include her rather sheltered upbringing and unhappy marriage). In 1889, she reviewed two volumes by one of the founders of Theosophy, H.P. Blavatsky, met her and became her disciple. Annie's freethinking, radical colleagues - Charles Bradlaugh among them - were horrified.

Four years later, Annie Besant made the journey to India - which was to become her principal home for the last forty years of her life. For much of that time she lived in Adyar on the outskirts of Madras/Chennai, in what is now the sprawling, enticing, global headquarters of the Theosophy movement. She was cremated here too.

The bust stands in the main hall of the Theosophy Society HQ. Nice to see you, Annie!​...

The society's grounds - only open for a few hours a day - are magical, with banyan trees, palm groves and gentle jungle, sprinkled with places of worship and busts of founding fathers. There's an excellent bookshop, and no-one tries to proselytise.

For me, part of the magic was following in the footsteps of some whose lives I have researched: the socialist novelist Margaret Harkness came here about 110 years ago to meet up with Annie Besant; 25 years later, Freda Bedi's husband-to-be, B.P.L. Bedi, came to Adyar to seek, and receive, Besant's benediction before setting sail for Europe.

-- A term in Chennai: homage to Annie Besant, by Andrew Whitehead

and Norah Richards knew her and was influenced by Theosophism. A closer contemporary of Freda was Madeleine Slade, the daughter of a British rear admiral. She spent many years supporting and working with Mahatma Gandhi and took the name Mirabehn. Freda met Slade several times and regarded her as a friend. 'Her name was high in Indian nationalist circles. She was a woman of great dedication and lived a life of some self-sacrifice.' Freda's life also bears an echo of that of Nellie Sengupta, a Cambridge woman who in the years before the First World War married a Bengali student who lodged with the family, Jatindra Mohan Sengupta. He was a prominent member of the Indian National Congress and mayor of Calcutta and died in 1933 while in jail on political charges. Nellie subsequently served as Congress president and was active in politics in Calcutta and, after Partition, in East Pakistan (later Bangladesh). She died in 1973.

In time, Freda became a role model for English women who followed in her footsteps. Nancie Jones met and eventually married a Punjabi socialist studying in England. Immediately after the Second World War, she came out to India to be with him and took not just his surname but changed her first name, becoming known as Rajni Kumar. By the time she reached Lahore, Freda was well established in the city and held up 'as a model of how to adopt myself to Indian life and culture, and how to involve myself in the struggle':

I visited Freda in her delightfully simple and ethnic home along with some of the women activists of the Communist Party .... I have vivid recollections of the simplicity of their life, the rural touch of the place, the string hammock where the baby was sleeping ... and the jute beds and the books stacked everywhere. I remember too, the deep involvement and concern that all of us shared regarding the course of the freedom struggle which was fast nearing its end. Freda made a deep impact upon me, and I resolved that like her, I would try to adapt myself fully to Indian ways and culture, and become a real Indian woman. I was already wearing thick khadi Punjabi clothes as she was.15

Seventy years later, Rajni Kumar still recalls Freda Bedi's advice. 'She told me that the best way to become a part of the Indian struggle is to be a part of it yourself. If you Indianise yourself enough -- and people think you are with them, you are part of them -- you've overcome all the prejudices.'16

-- The Lives of Freda: The Political, Spiritual and Personal Journeys of Freda Bedi, by Andrew Whitehead

Her lectures in the Lancashire campaign and the formation of the branches were Mrs. [Annie] Besant's last contributions to the Socialist movement. Early in November she suddenly and completely severed her connection with the Society. She had become a convert to Theosophy, which at that time accepted the Buddhist doctrine that spiritual conditions alone mattered, and that spiritual life would flourish as well in the slum amidst dirt and starvation as in the comfortable cottage, and much better than in the luxurious mansion. Twentieth-century theosophy has receded from that position, and now advocates social amelioration, but Mrs. Besant thought otherwise in 1890. Some twenty years later she lectured on several occasions to the Society, and she joined her old friends at the dinner which celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of its foundation, but in the interval her connection with it completely ceased.

The Fabian Society and British Socialism owe much to Mrs. Besant for the assistance she gave it during five important years. Her splendid eloquence, always at our service, has seldom been matched, and has never been surpassed by any of the innumerable speakers of the movement. She had, when she joined us, an assured position amongst the working-class Radicals in London and throughout the country; and through her Socialism obtained a sympathetic hearing in places where less trusted speakers would have been neglected. She was not then either a political thinker or an effective worker on committees, but she possessed the power of expressing the ideas of other people far better than their originators, and she had at her command a certain amount of political machinery—such as an office at 63 Fleet Street, and a monthly magazine, "Our Corner"—which was very useful. Her departure was a serious loss, but it came at a moment of rapid expansion, so rapid that her absence was scarcely felt.

-- The History of the Fabian Society, by Edward R. Pease

Annie Besant
Born: 1 October 1847, Clapham, London, UK
Died: 20 September 1933 (aged 85), Adyar, Chennai, India
Nationality: British
Known for: Theosophist, women's rights activist, writer and orator
Political party: Indian National Congress
Movement: Indian independence movement
Spouse(s): Frank Besant (m. 1867; div. 1873)
Children: Arthur, Mabel

Part of a series on Theosophy

Annie Besant (née Wood; 1 October 1847 – 20 September 1933) was a British socialist, theosophist, women's rights activist, writer, orator, educationist, and philanthropist. Regarded as a champion of human freedom, she was an ardent supporter of both Irish and Indian self-rule. She was a prolific author with over three hundred books and pamphlets to her credit.[1] As an educationist, her contributions included the founding of the Banaras Hindu University.

In 1867, Annie, at age 20, married Frank Besant, a clergyman, and they had two children. However, Annie's increasingly unconventional religious views led to their legal separation in 1873.[2] She then became a prominent speaker for the National Secular Society (NSS), as well as a writer, and a close friend of Charles Bradlaugh. In 1877 they were prosecuted for publishing a book by birth control campaigner Charles Knowlton. The scandal made them famous, and Bradlaugh was subsequently elected M.P. for Northampton in 1880.

Thereafter, she became involved with union actions, including the Bloody Sunday demonstration and the London matchgirls strike of 1888. She was a leading speaker for both the Fabian Society and the Marxist Social Democratic Federation (SDF). She was also elected to the London School Board for Tower Hamlets, topping the poll, even though few women were qualified to vote at that time.

In 1890 Besant met Helena Blavatsky, and over the next few years her interest in theosophy grew, whilst her interest in secular matters waned. She became a member of the Theosophical Society and a prominent lecturer on the subject. As part of her theosophy-related work, she travelled to India. In 1898 she helped establish the Central Hindu School,[3] and in 1922 she helped establish the Hyderabad (Sind) National Collegiate Board in Mumbai, India.[4] In 1902, she established the first overseas Lodge of the International Order of Co-Freemasonry, Le Droit Humain. Over the next few years she established lodges in many parts of the British Empire. In 1907 she became president of the Theosophical Society, whose international headquarters were, by then, located in Adyar, Madras, (Chennai).

She also became involved in politics in India, joining the Indian National Congress. When World War I broke out in 1914, she helped launch the Home Rule League to campaign for democracy in India, and dominion status within the British Empire. This led to her election as president of the Indian National Congress, in late 1917. In the late 1920s, Besant travelled to the United States with her protégé and adopted son Jiddu Krishnamurti, who she claimed was the new Messiah and incarnation of Buddha. Krishnamurti rejected these claims in 1929.[5] After the war, she continued to campaign for Indian independence and for the causes of theosophy, until her death in 1933.

Early life

St. Margaret's church, Sibsey, where Frank Besant was vicar, 1871–1917

Annie Wood was born in 1847 in London into an upper middle-class family. She was the daughter of William Burton Persse Wood (1816-1852) and Emily Roche Morris (died 1874). The Woods originated from Devon and her great-uncle was the Whig politician Sir Matthew Wood, 1st Baronet from whom derives the Page Wood baronets. Her father was an Englishman who lived in Dublin and attained a medical degree, having attended Trinity College Dublin. Her mother was an Irish Catholic, from a family of more modest means. Besant would go on to make much of her Irish ancestry and supported the cause of Irish self-rule throughout her adult life. Her cousin Kitty O'Shea (born Katharine Wood) was noted for having an affair with Charles Stewart Parnell, leading to his downfall. Her father died when she was five years old, leaving the family almost penniless. Her mother supported the family by running a boarding house for boys at Harrow School. However, she was unable to support Annie and persuaded her friend Ellen Marryat to care for her. Marryat made sure that she had a good education. Annie was given a strong sense of duty to society and an equally strong sense of what independent women could achieve.[6] As a young woman, she was also able to travel widely in Europe. There she acquired a taste for Roman Catholic colour and ceremony that never left her.

In 1867, at age twenty, she married 26-year-old clergyman Frank Besant (1840–1917), younger brother of Walter Besant. He was an evangelical Anglican who seemed to share many of her concerns.[6] On the eve of her marriage, she had become more politicised through a visit to friends in Manchester, who brought her into contact with both English radicals and the Manchester Martyrs of the Irish Republican Fenian Brotherhood,[7] as well as with the conditions of the urban poor.

Annie Besant

Grave of Frank Besant at Sibsey, where he remained vicar until his death

Soon Frank became vicar of Sibsey in Lincolnshire. Annie moved to Sibsey with her husband, and within a few years they had two children, Arthur and Mabel; however, the marriage was a disaster. As Annie wrote in her Autobiography, "we were an ill-matched pair".[8] The first conflict came over money and Annie's independence. Annie wrote short stories, books for children, and articles. As married women did not have the legal right to own property, Frank was able to collect all the money she earned. Politics further divided the couple. Annie began to support farm workers who were fighting to unionise and to win better conditions. Frank was a Tory and sided with the landlords and farmers. The tension came to a head when Annie refused to attend Communion. In 1873 she left him and returned to London. They were legally separated and Annie took her daughter with her.

Besant began to question her own faith. She turned to leading churchmen for advice, going to see Edward Bouverie Pusey, one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement within the Church of England. When she asked him to recommend books that would answer her questions, he told her she had read too many already.[9] Besant returned to Frank to make a last unsuccessful effort to repair the marriage. She finally left for London.


In the late 1880s she studied at the Birkbeck Literary and Scientific Institution,[10] where her religious and political activities caused alarm. At one point the Institution's governors sought to withhold the publication of her exam results.[11]

Reformer and secularist

Annie Besant – 1850s

She fought for the causes she thought were right, starting with freedom of thought, women's rights, secularism, birth control, Fabian socialism and workers' rights. She was a leading member of the National Secular Society alongside Charles Bradlaugh and the South Place Ethical Society.[12]

Divorce was unthinkable for Frank, and was not really within the reach of even middle-class people. Annie was to remain Mrs Besant for the rest of her life. At first, she was able to keep contact with both children and to have Mabel live with her; she also got a small allowance from her husband.

Once free of Frank Besant and exposed to new currents of thought, she began to question not only her long-held religious beliefs but also the whole of conventional thinking. She began to write attacks on the churches and the way they controlled people's lives. In particular she attacked the status of the Church of England as a state-sponsored faith.

Soon she was earning a small weekly wage by writing a column for the National Reformer, the newspaper of the NSS. The NSS argued for a secular state and an end to the special status of Christianity, and allowed her to act as one of its public speakers. Public lectures were very popular entertainment in Victorian times. Besant was a brilliant speaker, and was soon in great demand. Using the railway, she criss-crossed the country, speaking on all of the most important issues of the day, always demanding improvement, reform and freedom.

For many years Besant was a friend of the National Secular Society's leader, Charles Bradlaugh. Bradlaugh, a former soldier, had long been separated from his wife; Besant lived with him and his daughters, and they worked together on many projects. He was an atheist and a republican; he was also trying to get elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Northampton.

Besant and Bradlaugh became household names in 1877 when they published Fruits of Philosophy, a book by the American birth-control campaigner Charles Knowlton. It claimed that working-class families could never be happy until they were able to decide how many children they wanted. It also suggested ways to limit the size of their families.[13] The Knowlton book was highly controversial, and was vigorously opposed by the Church. Besant and Bradlaugh proclaimed in the National Reformer:

We intend to publish nothing we do not think we can morally defend. All that we publish we shall defend.[14]

The pair were arrested and put on trial for publishing the Knowlton book. They were found guilty, but released pending appeal. As well as great opposition, Besant and Bradlaugh also received a great deal of support in the Liberal press. Arguments raged back and forth in the letters and comment columns as well as in the courtroom. Besant was instrumental in founding the Malthusian League during the trial, which would go on to advocate for the abolition of penalties for the promotion of contraception.[15] For a time, it looked as though they would be sent to prison. The case was thrown out finally only on a technical point, the charges not having been properly drawn up.

The scandal cost Besant custody of her children. Her husband was able to persuade the court that she was unfit to look after them, and they were handed over to him permanently.

On 6 March 1881 she spoke at the opening of Leicester Secular Society's new Secular Hall in Humberstone Gate, Leicester. The other speakers were George Jacob Holyoake, Harriet Law and Charles Bradlaugh.[16]

Bradlaugh's political prospects were not damaged by the Knowlton scandal and he was elected to Parliament in 1881. Because of his atheism, he asked to be allowed to affirm rather than swear the oath of loyalty. When the possibility of affirmation was refused, Bradlaugh stated his willingness to take the oath. But this option was also challenged. Although many Christians were shocked by Bradlaugh, others (like the Liberal leader Gladstone) spoke up for freedom of belief. It took more than six years before the matter was completely resolved (in Bradlaugh's favour) after a series of by-elections and court appearances.

Meanwhile, Besant built close contacts with the Irish Home Rulers and supported them in her newspaper columns during what are considered crucial years, when the Irish nationalists were forming an alliance with Liberals and Radicals. Besant met the leaders of the Irish home rule movement. In particular, she got to know Michael Davitt, who wanted to mobilise the Irish peasantry through a Land War, a direct struggle against the landowners. She spoke and wrote in favour of Davitt and his Land League many times over the coming decades.

However, Bradlaugh's parliamentary work gradually alienated Besant. Women had no part in parliamentary politics. Besant was searching for a real political outlet, where her skills as a speaker, writer and organiser could do some real good.

In 1893, she was the representative of The Theosophical Society at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. The World Parliament is famous in India because of Indian monk Swami Vivekanand addressed in the same event and which has received global recognition.

In 1895, together with the founder-president of the Theosophical Society, Henry Steel Olcott, as well as Marie Musaeus Higgins and Peter De Abrew, she was instrumental in developing the Buddhist school, Musaeus College, in Colombo in the island Sri Lanka.

Political activism

For Besant, politics, friendship and love were always closely intertwined. Her decision in favour of Socialism came about through a close relationship with George Bernard Shaw, a struggling young Irish author living in London, and a leading light of the Fabian Society who considered Besant to be "The greatest orator in England". Annie was impressed by his work and grew very close to him too in the early 1880s. It was Besant who made the first move, by inviting Shaw to live with her. This he refused, but it was Shaw who sponsored Besant to join the Fabian Society. In its early days, the society was a gathering of people exploring spiritual, rather than political, alternatives to the capitalist system.[17] Besant began to write for the Fabians. This new commitment – and her relationship with Shaw – deepened the split between Besant and Bradlaugh, who was an individualist and opposed to Socialism of any sort. While he defended free speech at any cost, he was very cautious about encouraging working-class militancy.[18][19]

Unemployment was a central issue of the time, and in 1887 some of the London unemployed started to hold protests in Trafalgar Square. Besant agreed to appear as a speaker at a meeting on 13 November. The police tried to stop the assembly, fighting broke out, and troops were called. Many were hurt, one man died, and hundreds were arrested; Besant offered herself for arrest, an offer disregarded by the police.[20]

The events created a great sensation, and became known as Bloody Sunday. Besant was widely blamed – or credited – for it. She threw herself into organising legal aid for the jailed workers and support for their families.[21] Bradlaugh finally broke with her because he felt she should have asked his advice before going ahead with the meeting.

Another activity in this period was her involvement in the London matchgirls strike of 1888. She was drawn into this battle of the "New Unionism" by a young socialist, Herbert Burrows. He had made contact with workers at Bryant and May's match factory in Bow, London, who were mainly young women and were very poorly paid. They were also prey to industrial illnesses, like the bone-rotting Phossy jaw, which was caused by the chemicals used in match manufacture.[22] Some of the match workers asked for help from Burrows and Besant in setting up a union.

Besant met the women and set up a committee, which led the women into a strike for better pay and conditions, an action that won public support. Besant led demonstrations by "match-girls", who were cheered in the streets, and prominent churchmen wrote in their support. In just over a week they forced the firm to improve pay and conditions. Besant then helped them to set up a proper union and a social centre.

At the time, the matchstick industry was a very powerful lobby, since electric light was not yet widely available, and matches were an essential commodity; in 1872, lobbyists from the match industry had persuaded the British government to change its planned tax policy. Besant's campaign was the first time anyone had successfully challenged the match manufacturers on a major issue, and was seen as a landmark victory of the early years of British Socialism.

During 1884, Besant had developed a very close friendship with Edward Aveling, a young socialist teacher who lived in her house for a time. Aveling was a scholarly figure and it was he who first translated the important works of Marx into English. He eventually went to live with Eleanor Marx, daughter of Karl Marx. Aveling was a great influence on Besant's thinking and she supported his work, yet she moved towards the rival Fabians at that time. Aveling and Eleanor Marx had joined the Marxist Social Democratic Federation and then the Socialist League, a small Marxist splinter group which formed around the artist William Morris.

It seems that Morris played a large part in converting Besant to Marxism, but it was to the SDF, not his Socialist League, that she turned in 1888. She remained a member for a number of years and became one of its best speakers. She was still a member of the Fabian Society; neither she nor anyone else seemed to think the two movements incompatible at the time.

Soon after joining the Marxists, Besant was elected to the London School Board in 1888.[23] Women at that time were not able to take part in parliamentary politics, but had been brought into the local electorate in 1881.

Besant drove about with a red ribbon in her hair, speaking at meetings. "No more hungry children", her manifesto proclaimed. She combined her socialist principles with feminism: "I ask the electors to vote for me, and the non-electors to work for me because women are wanted on the Board and there are too few women candidates." Besant came out on top of the poll in Tower Hamlets, with over 15,000 votes. She wrote in the National Reformer: "Ten years ago, under a cruel law, Christian bigotry robbed me of my little child. Now the care of the 763,680 children of London is placed partly in my hands."[24]

Besant was also involved in the London dock strike of 1889, in which the dockers, who were employed by the day, were led by Ben Tillett in a struggle for the "Dockers' Tanner". Besant helped Tillett draw up the union's rules and played an important part in the meetings and agitation which built up the organisation. She spoke for the dockers at public meetings and on street corners. Like the match-girls, the dockers won public support for their struggle, and the strike was won.[25]


Besant was a prolific writer and a powerful orator.[26] In 1889, she was asked to write a review for the Pall Mall Gazette[27] on The Secret Doctrine, a book by H. P. Blavatsky. After reading it, she sought an interview with its author, meeting Blavatsky in Paris. In this way she was converted to Theosophy. Besant's intellectual journey had always involved a spiritual dimension, a quest for transformation of the whole person. As her interest in theosophy deepened, she allowed her membership of the Fabian Society to lapse (1890) and broke her links with the Marxists. In her Autobiography, Besant follows her chapter on "Socialism" with "Through Storm to Peace", the peace of Theosophy. In 1888, she described herself as "marching toward the Theosophy" that would be the "glory" of her life. Besant had found the economic side of life lacking a spiritual dimension, so she searched for a belief based on "Love". She found this in Theosophy, so she joined the Theosophical Society, a move that distanced her from Bradlaugh and other former activist co-workers.[28] When Blavatsky died in 1891, Besant was left as one of the leading figures in theosophy and in 1893 she represented it at the Chicago World Fair.[29]

In 1893, soon after becoming a member of the Theosophical Society she went to India for the first time.[30] After a dispute the American section split away into an independent organisation. The original society, then led by Henry Steel Olcott and Besant, is today based in Chennai, India, and is known as the Theosophical Society Adyar. Following the split Besant devoted much of her energy not only to the society, but also to India's freedom and progress. Besant Nagar, a neighbourhood near the Theosophical Society in Chennai, is named in her honour.


Besant saw freemasonry, in particular Co-Freemasonry, as an extension of her interest in the rights of women and the greater brotherhood of man and saw co-freemasonry as a "movement which practised true brotherhood, in which women and men worked side by side for the perfecting of humanity. She immediately wanted to be admitted to this organisation", known now as the International Order of Freemasonry for Men and Women, "Le Droit Humain".

The link was made in 1902 by the theosophist Francesca Arundale, who accompanied Besant to Paris, along with six friends. "They were all initiated, passed and raised into the first three degrees and Annie returned to England, bearing a Charter and founded there the first Lodge of International Mixed Masonry, Le Droit Humain." Besant eventually became the Order's Most Puissant Grand Commander, and was a major influence in the international growth of the Order.[31]

President of Theosophical Society

Annie Besant with Henry Olcott (left) and Charles Leadbeater (right) in Adyar, Madras in December 1905

Besant met fellow theosophist Charles Webster Leadbeater in London in April 1894. They became close co-workers in the theosophical movement and would remain so for the rest of their lives. Leadbeater claimed clairvoyance and reputedly helped Besant become clairvoyant herself in the following year. In a letter dated 25 August 1895 to Francisca Arundale, Leadbeater narrates how Besant became clairvoyant. Together they clairvoyantly investigated the universe, matter, thought-forms, and the history of mankind, and co-authored a book called Occult Chemistry.

In 1906 Leadbeater became the centre of controversy when it emerged that he had advised the practice of masturbation to some boys under his care and spiritual instruction. Leadbeater stated he had encouraged the practice to keep the boys celibate, which was considered a prerequisite for advancement on the spiritual path.[32] Because of the controversy, he offered to resign from the Theosophical Society in 1906, which was accepted. The next year Besant became president of the society and in 1908, with her express support, Leadbeater was readmitted to the society. Leadbeater went on to face accusations of improper relations with boys, but none of the accusations were ever proven and Besant never deserted him.[33]

Until Besant's presidency, the society had as one of its foci Theravada Buddhism and the island of Sri Lanka, where Henry Olcott did the majority of his useful work.[34] Under Besant's leadership there was more stress on the teachings of "The Aryavarta", as she called central India, as well as on esoteric Christianity.[35]

Besant set up a new school for boys, the Central Hindu College (CHC) at Banaras which was formed on underlying theosophical principles, and which counted many prominent theosophists in its staff and faculty. Its aim was to build a new leadership for India. The students spent 90 minutes a day in prayer and studied religious texts, but they also studied modern science. It took 3 years to raise the money for the CHC, most of which came from Indian princes.[36] In April 1911, Besant met Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and they decided to unite their forces and work for a common Hindu University at Banaras. Besant and fellow trustees of the Central Hindu College also agreed to Government of India's precondition that the college should become a part of the new University. The Banaras Hindu University started functioning from 1 October 1917 with the Central Hindu College as its first constituent college.

Blavatsky had stated in 1889 that the main purpose of establishing the society was to prepare humanity for the future reception of a "torch-bearer of Truth", an emissary of a hidden Spiritual Hierarchy that, according to theosophists, guides the evolution of mankind.[37] This was repeated by Besant as early as 1896; Besant came to believe in the imminent appearance of the "emissary", who was identified by theosophists as the so-called World Teacher.[38][39]

Thought-form of the music of Charles Gounod, according to Besant and C. W. Leadbeater in Thought-Forms (1901)

"World Teacher" project

In 1909, soon after Besant's assumption of the presidency, Leadbeater "discovered" fourteen-year-old Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895–1986), a South Indian boy who had been living, with his father and brother, on the grounds of the headquarters of the Theosophical Society at Adyar, and declared him the probable "vehicle" for the expected "World Teacher".[40] The "discovery" and its objective received widespread publicity and attracted worldwide following, mainly among theosophists. It also started years of upheaval, and contributed to splits in the Theosophical Society and doctrinal schisms in theosophy. Following the discovery, Jiddu Krishnamurti and his younger brother Nityananda ("Nitya") were placed under the care of theosophists and Krishnamurti was extensively groomed for his future mission as the new vehicle for the "World Teacher". Besant soon became the boys' legal guardian with the consent of their father, who was very poor and could not take care of them. However, his father later changed his mind and began a legal battle to regain the guardianship, against the will of the boys.[41] Early in their relationship, Krishnamurti and Besant had developed a very close bond and he considered her a surrogate mother – a role she happily accepted. (His biological mother had died when he was ten years old).[42]

In 1929, twenty years after his "discovery", Krishnamurti, who had grown disenchanted with the World Teacher Project, repudiated the role that many theosophists expected him to fulfil. He dissolved the Order of the Star in the East, an organisation founded to assist the World Teacher in his mission, and eventually left the Theosophical Society and theosophy at large.[43] He spent the rest of his life travelling the world as an unaffiliated speaker, becoming in the process widely known as an original, independent thinker on philosophical, psychological, and spiritual subjects. His love for Besant never waned, as also was the case with Besant's feelings towards him;[44] concerned for his wellbeing after he declared his independence, she had purchased 6 acres (2.4 ha) of land near the Theosophical Society estate which later became the headquarters of the Krishnamurti Foundation India .

Home Rule movement

As early as 1902 Besant had written that "India is not ruled for the prospering of the people, but rather for the profit of her conquerors, and her sons are being treated as a conquered race.". She encouraged Indian national consciousness, attacked caste and child marriage, and worked effectively for Indian education.[45] Along with her theosophical activities, Besant continued to actively participate in political matters. She had joined the Indian National Congress. As the name suggested, this was originally a debating body, which met each year to consider resolutions on political issues. Mostly it demanded more of a say for middle-class Indians in British Indian government. It had not yet developed into a permanent mass movement with local organisation. About this time her co-worker Leadbeater moved to Sydney.

In 1914 World War I broke out, and Britain asked for the support of its Empire in the fight against Germany. Echoing an Irish nationalist slogan, Besant declared, "England's need is India's opportunity". As editor of the New India newspaper, she attacked the colonial government of India and called for clear and decisive moves towards self-rule. As with Ireland, the government refused to discuss any changes while the war lasted.

Annie Besant in Sydney, 1922

In 1916 Besant launched the All India Home Rule League along with Lokmanya Tilak, once again modelling demands for India on Irish nationalist practices. This was the first political party in India to have regime change as its main goal. Unlike the Congress itself, the League worked all year round. It built a structure of local branches, enabling it to mobilise demonstrations, public meetings and agitations. In June 1917 Besant was arrested and interned at a hill station, where she defiantly flew a red and green flag.[46] The Congress and the Muslim League together threatened to launch protests if she were not set free; Besant's arrest had created a focus for protest.[47]

The government was forced to give way and to make vague but significant concessions. It was announced that the ultimate aim of British rule was Indian self-government, and moves in that direction were promised. Besant was freed in September 1917, welcomed by crowds all over India,[48][49] and in December she took over as president of the Indian National Congress for a year. Both Nehru and Gandhi spoke of Besant's influence with admiration.[45]

After the war, a new leadership of the Indian National Congress emerged around Mohandas K. Gandhi – one of those who had written to demand Besant's release. He was a lawyer who had returned from leading Asians in a peaceful struggle against racism in South Africa. Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi's closest collaborator, had been educated by a theosophist tutor.

The new leadership was committed to action that was both militant and non-violent, but there were differences between them and Besant. Despite her past, she was not happy with their socialist leanings. Until the end of her life, however, she continued to campaign for India's independence, not only in India but also on speaking tours of Britain.[50] In her own version of Indian dress, she remained a striking presence on speakers' platforms. She produced a torrent of letters and articles demanding independence.

Later years and death

Besant tried as a person, theosophist, and president of the Theosophical Society, to accommodate Krishnamurti's views into her life, without success; she vowed to personally follow him in his new direction although she apparently had trouble understanding both his motives and his new message.[51] The two remained friends until the end of her life.

In 1931 she became ill in India.[52]

Besant died on 20 September 1933, at age 85, in Adyar, Madras Presidency, British India. Her body was cremated.[53][54]

She was survived by her daughter, Mabel. After her death, colleagues Jiddu Krishnamurti, Aldous Huxley, Guido Ferrando, and Rosalind Rajagopal, built the Happy Valley School in California, now renamed the Besant Hill School of Happy Valley in her honour.


The subsequent family history became fragmented. A number of Besant's descendants have been traced in detail from her son Arthur Digby's side. Arthur Digby Besant (1869–1960) was President of the Institute of Actuaries, 1924–26. He wrote The Besant Pedigree (1930) and was director of the Theosophical bookstore in London. One of Arthur Digby's daughters was Sylvia Besant, who married Commander Clem Lewis in the 1920s. They had a daughter, Kathleen Mary, born in 1934, who was given away for adoption within three weeks of the birth and had the new name of Lavinia Pollock. Lavinia married Frank Castle in 1953 and raised a family of five of Besant's great-great-grandchildren – James, Richard, David, Fiona and Andrew Castle – the last and youngest sibling being a former British professional tennis player and now television presenter and personality.

Criticism of Christianity

Christianity: Its Evidences, Its Origin, Its Morality, Its History
Author: Annie Besant
Series: The freethinker's text-book
Publication date: 1876
Preceded by: Part I. by Charles Bradlaugh[55]
Original text: Christianity: Its Evidences, Its Origin, Its Morality, Its History at Project Gutenberg

Besant opined that for centuries the leaders of Christian thought spoke of women as a necessary evil, and that the greatest saints of the Church were those who despised women the most, "Against the teachings of eternal torture, of the vicarious atonement, of the infallibility of the Bible, I leveled all the strength of my brain and tongue, and I exposed the history of the Christian Church with unsparing hand, its persecutions, its religious wars, its cruelties, its oppressions. (Annie Besant, An Autobiography Chapter VII)." In the section named "Its Evidences Unreliable" of her work "Christianity", Besant presents the case of why the Gospels are not authentic.

1876: "Christianity", The freethinker's text-book, Part II. (Issued by authority of the National Secular Society);

(D.) That before about A.D. 180 there is no trace of FOUR gospels among the Christians. ...As it is not pretended by any that there is any mention of four Gospels before the time of Irenaeus, excepting this "harmony". pleaded by some as dated about A.D. 170 and by others as between 170 and 180, it would be sheer waste of time and space to prove further a point admitted on all hands. This step of our argument is, then on solid and unassailable ground —That before about A.D. 180 there is no trace of FOUR gospels among the Christians. (E.) That, before that date, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are not selected as the four evangelists. This position necessarily follows from the preceding one [D.], since four evangelists could not be selected until four Gospels were recognised. Here, again, Dr. Giles supports the argument we are building up. He says : "Justin Martyr never once mentions by name the evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This circumstance is of great importance ; for those who assert that our four canonical Gospels are contemporary records of our Saviour's ministry, ascribe them to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and to no other writers."[56][57]


Besides being a prolific writer, Besant was a "practised stump orator" who gave sixty-six public lectures in one year. She also engaged in public debates.[26]
List of Works on Online Books [1]
List of Work on Open Library [2]

• The Political Status of Women (1874)[58]
• Christianity: Its Evidences, Its Origin, Its Morality, Its History (1876)
• The Law of Population (1877)
• My Path to Atheism (1878, 3rd ed 1885)
• Marriage, As It Was, As It Is, And As It Should Be: A Plea for Reform (1878)
• The Atheistic Platform: 12 Lectures One by Besant (1884)
• Autobiographical Sketches (1885)
• Why I Am a Socialist (1886)
• Why I Became a Theosophist (1889)
• The Seven Principles of Man (1892)
• Bhagavad Gita (translated as The Lord's Song) (1895)
• Karma (1895)
• In the Outer Court(1895)
• The Ancient Wisdom (1897)
• Dharma (1898)
• Thought Forms with C. W. Leadbeater (1901)
• The Religious Problem in India (1901)
• Thought Power: Its Control and Culture (1901)
• Esoteric Christianity (1905 2nd ed)
• A Study in Consciousness: A contribution to the science of psychology. (ca 1907, rpt 1918) [3]
• Occult Chemistry with C. W. Leadbeater (1908) [4]
• An Introduction to Yoga (1908) [5]
• Australian Lectures (1908)
• Annie Besant: An Autobiography (1908 2nd ed)
• The Religious Problem in India Lectures on Islam, Jainism, Sikhism, Theosophy (1909) [6]
• Man and His Bodies (1896, rpt 1911) [7]
• Elementary Lessons on Karma (1912)
• A Study in Karma (1912)
• Initiation: The Perfecting of Man (1912) [8]
• Man's Life in This and Other Worlds (1913) [9]
• Man: Whence, How and Whither with C. W. Leadbeater (1913) [10]
• The Doctrine of the Heart (1920) [11]
• The Future of Indian Politics 1922
• The Life and Teaching of Muhammad (1932) [12]
• Memory and Its Nature (1935) [13]
• Various writings regarding Helena Blavatsky (1889–1910) [14]

Selection of Pamphlets as follows: [15]

• "Sin and Crime" (1885)
• "God's Views on Marriage" (1890)
• "A World Without God" (1885)
• "Life, Death, and Immortality" (1886)
• "Theosophy" (1925?)
• "The World and Its God" (1886)
• "Atheism and Its Bearing on Morals" (1887)
• "On Eternal Torture" (n.d.)
• "The Fruits of Christianity" (n.d.)
• "The Jesus of the Gospels and the Influence of Christianity" (n.d.)
• "The Gospel of Christianity and the Gospel of Freethought" (1883)
• "Sins of the Church: Threatenings and Slaughters" (n.d.)
• "For the Crown and Against the Nation" (1886)
• "Christian Progress" (1890)
• "Why I Do Not Believe in God" (1887)
• "The Myth of the Resurrection" (1886)
• "The Teachings of Christianity" (1887)

Indian National Movement

• The Commonweal (a weekly dealing on Indian national issues)[59]
• New India (a daily newspaper which was a powerful mouthpiece for 15 years advocating Home Rule and revolutionizing Indian journalism)[59]


On 1 October 2015, search engine Google commemorated Annie Besant with a Doodle on her 168th birth anniversary. Google commented: "A fierce advocate of Indian self-rule, Annie Besant loved the language, and over a lifetime of vigorous study cultivated tremendous abilities as a writer and orator. She published mountains of essays, wrote a textbook, curated anthologies of classic literature for young adults and eventually became editor of the New India newspaper, a periodical dedicated to the cause of Indian Autonomy".[60]

See also

• Annie Besant School Allahabad
• History of feminism
• Order of the Star in the East
• Theosophy and Christianity
• Theosophy and visual arts
• Agni Yoga
• Alice Bailey
• Benjamin Creme
• Helena Roerich


1. "ANNIE BESANT (1847–1933)". The Theosophical Society – Adyar. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
2. Orosz, Kenneth J. (2002). "Besant, Annie (1847–1933)". Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Gale Research Inc. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
3. Ncert.
4. "History and Development of the Board". Hyderabad (Sind) National Collegiate Board. Archived from the original on 24 September 2013.
5. "Annie Besant (1847–1933)" BBC UK Archive
6. Anne Taylor, 'Besant, Annie (1847–1933)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 30 March 2015.
7. Annie Besant: An Autobiography, London, 1885, chapter 4.
8. Annie Besant: an Autobiography (Unwin, 1908), 81.
9. Annie Besant: An Autobiography, London, 1885, chapter 5.
10. "Notable Birkbeckians". Birkbeck, University of London. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
11. "The History of Birkbeck". Birkbeck, University of London. Archived from the original on 6 October 2006. Retrieved 26 November 2006.
12. MacKillop, I. D. (1986) The British Ethical Societies, Cambridge University Press (Accessed 13 May 2014).
13. Knowlton, Charles (October 1891) [1840]. Besant, Annie; Bradlaugh, Charles (eds.). Fruits of philosophy: a treatise on the population question. San Francisco: Reader's Library. OCLC 626706770. A publication about birth control. View original copy.
14. Annie Besant (1885). Autobiographical sketches. Freethought Publishing. p. 116. OL 26315876M.
15. F. D'arcy (November 1977). "The Malthusian League and resistance to birth control propaganda in late Victorian Britain". Population Studies. 31 (3): 429–448. doi:10.1080/00324728.1977.10412759. JSTOR 2173367.
16. Gimson 1932
17. Edward R. Pease, The History of the Fabian Society (E. P. Dutton, 1916, rpt Aware Journalism, 2014), 62.
18. Theresa Notare, A Revolution in Christian Morals: Lambeth 1930-Resolution #15. History and Reception (ProQuest, 2008), 188.
19. "The Socialist Roots of Birth Control".
20. Sally Peters, Bernard Shaw: The Ascent of the Superman (Yale University, 1996), 94.
21. Kumar, Raj, Annie Besant's Rise to Power in Indian Politics, 1914–1917 (Concept Publishing, 1981), 36.
22. "White slavery in London" The Link, Issue no. 21 (via Tower Hamlets' Local History Library and Archives)
23. Edward R. Pease, The History of the Fabian Society (E. P. Dutton, 1916, rpt Aware Journalism, 2014), 179.
24. Jyoti Chandra, Annie Besant: from theosophy to nationalism (K.K. Publications, 2001), 17.
25. Margaret Cole, The Story of Fabian Socialism (Stanford University, 1961), 34.
26. Mark Bevir, The Making of British Socialism (Princeton University, 2011 ), 202.
27. Lutyens, Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening, Avon/Discus. 1983. p 13
28. Annie Besant, Annie Besant: an Autobiography (Unwin 1908), 330, 338, 340, 344, 357.
29. Emmett A. Greenwalt, The Point Loma Community in California, 1897–1942: A Theosophical Experiment (University of California, 1955), 10.
30. Kumari Jayawardena, The White Woman's Other Burden (Routledge, 1995, 62.
31. The International Bulletin, 20 September 1933, The International Order of Co-Freemasonry, Le Droit Humain. "In a very short time, Sister Besant founded new lodges: three in London, three in the south of England, three in the North and North-West; she even organised one in Scotland. Travelling in 1904 with her sisters and brothers she met in the Netherlands, other brethren of a male obedience, who, being interested, collaborated in the further expansion of Le Droit Humain. Annie continued to work with such ardour that soon new lodges were formed Great Britain, South America, Canada, India, Ceylon, Australia and New Zealand. The lodges in all these countries were united under the name of the British Federation."
32. Charles Webster Leadbeater 1854–1934: A Biographical Study, by Gregory John Tillett, 2008 Archived 3 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine.
33. Besant, Annie (2 June 1913). "Naranian v. Besant". [Letters to the Editor]. The Times (London). p. 7. ISSN 0140-0460.
34. Blavatsky and Olcott had become Buddhists in Sri Lanka, and promoted Buddhist revival on the subcontinent. See also: Maha Bodhi Society.
35. M. K. Singh, Encyclopaedia Of Indian War Of Independence (1857–1947) (Anmol Publications, 2009) 118.
36. Kumari Jayawardena, The White Woman's Other Burden (Routledge, 1995), 128.
37. Blavatsky, H. P. (1889). The Key to Theosophy. London: The Theosophical Publishing Company. pp. 306–307.
38. Lutyens, p. 12.
39. Wessinger, Catherine Lowman (1988). Annie Besant and Progressive Messianism, 1847–1933. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press. ISBN 978-0-88946-523-7.
40. Lutyens, Mary (1975). Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening. NewYork: Farrar Straus and Giroux. Hardcover. pp. 20–21. ISBN 0-374-18222-1.
41. Lutyens ch. 7.
42. Lutyens p. 5. Also in p. 31, Krishnamurti's letter to Besant dated 24 December 1909, and in p. 62, letter dated 5 January 1913.
43. Lutyens pp. 276–278, 285.
44. Lutyens, Mary (2003). The Life and Death of Krishnamurti. Bramdean: Krishnamurti Foundation Trust. p. 81. ISBN 0-900506-22-9.
45. Rosemary., Dinnage (2004). Alone! alone! : lives of some outsider women. New York: New York Review Books. ISBN 1590170695. OCLC 54047029.
46. "House arrest of Annie Besant remembered". The Hindu. 3 July 2017. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
47. Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 192.
48. "Mrs. Besant in Madras. Magnificent ovation. Unprecedented demonstration". The Hindu. 21 September 2017. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
49. "Reception to President-elect of the Congress". The Hindu. 25 December 2017. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 10 July2019.
50. Jennifer S. Uglow, Maggy Hendry, The Northeastern Dictionary of Women's Biography (Northeastern University, 1999).
51. Lutyens pp. 236, 278–280.
52. "Mrs. Annie Besant, 84, Is Gravely Ill in India. Leader of Theosophists Says Work in This Life Is Done, but Promises to Return". The New York Times. Associated Press. 6 November 1931. Retrieved 14 February 2014. Mrs. Annie Besant, 84-year-old Theosophist, is so ill, it was learned today, that she is unable to take nourishment.
53. "Annie Besant Cremated. Theosophist Leader's Body Put on Pyre on River Bank in India". The New York Times. 22 September 1933. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
54. "Dr. Annie Besant". Sydney Morning Herald. 22 September 1933. p. 12 – via Google News Archive.
55. Bradlaugh, Charles; Besant, Annie; Watts, Charles; National Secular Society (1876). The freethinker's text-book. Part I. C. Watts. Part I., section I. & II. by Charles Bradlaugh (Image of Book cover at Google Books)
56. Besant, Annie Wood (1893). Christianity: Its Evidences, Its Origin, Its Morality, Its History. R. Forder. p. 261. (D.) That before about A.D. 180 there is no trace of FOUR gospels among the Christians. ...As it is not pretended by any that there is any mention of four Gospels before the time of Irenaeus, excepting this "harmony", pleaded by some as dated about A.D. 170 and by others as between 170 and 180, it would be sheer waste of time and space to prove further a point admitted on all hands. This step of our argument is, then on solid and unassailable ground —That before about A.D. 180 there is no trace of FOUR gospels among the Christians. (E.) That, before that date, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are not selected as the four evangelists. This position necessarily follows from the preceding one [D.], since four evangelists could not be selected until four Gospels were recognised. Here, again, Dr. Giles supports the argument we are building up. He says : "Justin Martyr never once mentions by name the evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This circumstance is of great importance ; for those who assert that our four canonical Gospels are contemporary records of our Saviour's ministry, ascribe them to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and to no other writers." (Image of p. 261 at Google Books)
57. Giles, John Allen (1854). "VIII. Justin Martyr". Christian Records: an historical enquiry concerning the age, authorship, and authenticity of the New Testament. p. 73. 1. Justin Martyr never once mentions by name the evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This circumstance is of great importance ; for those who assert that our four canonical Gospels are contemporary records of our Saviour's ministry, ascribe them to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and to no other writers. ...Justin Martyr, it must be remembered, wrote in 150, and neither he nor any writer before him has alluded, in the most remote degree, to four specific Gospels bearing the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. (Image of p. 73 at google Books)
58. The Political Status of Women (1874) was Besant's first public lecture. Carol Hanbery MacKay, Creative Negativity: Four Victorian Exemplars of the Female Quest (Stanford University, 2001), 116–117.
59. "ANNIE BESANT (1847–1933) | TS Adyar". Retrieved 10 July 2019.
60. "Annie Besant's 168th Birthday". Google. 1 October 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2019.

Further reading

• Briggs, Julia. A Woman of Passion: The Life of E. Nesbit. New Amsterdam Books, 2000, 68, 81–82, 92–96, 135–139
• Chandrasekhar, S. A Dirty, Filthy Book: The Writing of Charles Knowlton and Annie Besant on Reproductive Physiology and Birth Control and an Account of the Bradlaugh-Besant Trial. University of California Berkeley 1981
• Grover, Verinder and Ranjana Arora (eds.) Annie Besant: Great Women of Modern India – 1 : Published by Deep of Deep Publications, New Delhi, India, 1993
• Kumar, Raj, Annie Besant's Rise to Power in Indian Politics, 1914–1917. Concept Publishing, 1981
• Kumar, Raj Rameshwari Devi and Romila Pruthi. Annie Besant: Founder of Home Rule Movement, Pointer Publishers, 2003 ISBN 81-7132-321-9
• Manvell, Roger. The trial of Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh. Elek, London 1976
• Nethercot, Arthur H. The first five lives of Annie Besant Hart-Davis: London, 1961
• Nethercot, Arthur H. The last four lives of Annie Besant Hart-Davis: London (also University of Chicago Press 1963) ISBN 0-226-57317-6
• Taylor, Anne. Annie Besant: A Biography, Oxford University Press, 1991 (also US edition 1992) ISBN 0-19-211796-3
• Uglow, Jennifer S., Maggy Hendry, The Northeastern Dictionary of Women's Biography. Northeastern University, 1999

External links

• Works by Annie Besant at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Annie Besant at Internet Archive
• Works by Annie Besant at Open Library
• Works by Annie Besant at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• Annie Wood Besant: Orator, Activist, Mystic, Rhetorician By Susan Dobra
• Framke, Maria: Besant, Annie, in: 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War.
• Annie Besant's Quest for Truth: Christianity, Secularism, and New Age Thought
• Annie Besant's Multifaceted Personality. A Biographical Sketch
• Thought power, its control and culture Cornell University Library Historical Monographs Collection.
• The British Federation of the International Order of Co-Freemasonry, Le Droit Humain, founded by Annie Besant in 1902
• Annie Besant Biography at
• William Thomas Stead, “Character Sketch: October of Mrs. Annie Besant” 349–367 in Review of Reviews IV:22, October 1891.
• Newspaper clippings about Annie Besant in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed May 13, 2020 1:24 am

Norah Richards
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/12/20

Lahore sweltered in the summer, and the huts offered little respite from the blistering heat. The Bedis took refuge in the hills of the Kangra Valley, 130 miles east of Lahore. At Andretta, an Irish woman, Norah Richards -- an actress and theatre enthusiast, and thirty-five years older than Freda -- had established a modest homestead which became the hub of a cultural and artistic community. Norah's own home was as simple, perhaps more so, as the Bedis' in Model Town, with mud walls and a thatched roof. In the mid-1930s, she was given a small estate, and here poets, potters, artists and writers set up home. Freda remembered Norah as 'a great old lady and a great friend' -- a friendship which persisted until Norah's death in 1971. 'Norah had wanted to prove, Tolstoyan fashion, that one could live in the countryside wearing country homespuns and one needn't go to the town for intellectual life.... She gave us a piece of land there on the hillside, and we built our first mud cottage there ... and though she had some misgivings about our political ways, we assured her we didn't bring them to Andretta and that we came there to rest .... She was interested, as I was, in the simplicities and beauties of rural living, in cooking and in not using anything except local products, earthenware plates and homespun cloth.'10

In the summer of 1939, Freda and Ranga were in the Kangra Valley, with Bedi joining them at weekends when his political work allowed. 'I hate being away from him for the hot months, and we both feel lonely at times,' she confided to Olive Chandler, 'but there is really no alternative, as I find the hot weather quite takes the life out of me.' And the Kangra Valley had charms that Freda was keen to share with her correspondent:

This year we have built our own mountain cottage on a bit of land given us by a friend ... We are on a minor hill-slope overlooking the valley, our house site being partly hollowed out of the soil, and the snow range of the Himalayas stretches like a great wall on the other side of the fields. I am writing this letter in my favourite position -- sitting on a cushion before a low table in the doorway -- facing the mountains.

The cottage is a great triumph, built of local stone + sand + mud bricks + bamboos, cement-washed + roofed to keep out the rains. . .. There is a big spacious living room ... with a dining niche, a kitchen + a bathroom + with two verandas for outside sleeping. Later we shall add two sleeping cabins -- possibly after the rains when our finances have had time to recover.11

When Freda published a selection of her writings as Behind the Mud Walls, several of the articles were about the Kangra Valley: the gentle rhythms of village life; the dignity of the hill women; celebrating Christmas in the valley (Freda's insistence on marking Christmas as traditionally as possible was a legacy of her English upbringing which persisted in Punjab, as was her baking of cakes and making of fruit trifles); and the adventures on third-class rail journeys on her way to and from the hills. Freda was much more captivated by the Kangra Valley than by the bustle of Lahore. She saw in the village the essence of India -- its spirituality, its creativity, its social values -- and it must have carried an echo too of her own childhood on the rural fringes of Derby.

Freda was not unusual in being an outsider who was trying to come to terms with a new culture, cuisine and rhythm of life -- not to mention the heat and dust which came as such a shock to newcomers. She was surprised how many mixed marriages there were in Lahore. Privileged young Indian men had often returned home with a European wife as well as a European degree. 'I remember once counting the foreign wives in Punjab at the time when I was there and there must have been about 300, and that's not a small number,' Freda recalled -- and not all made the transition easily or comfortably. They came from all over Europe, from Sweden to France to Germany to England and from the States. The English wives seemed to settle more readily and the Germans and the Scandinavians a close second, but the French wives tended to get tired and to long for their own cultural setting within a few years.'12

Within the progressive artistic and political circles in Lahore in which Freda and Bedi moved, there were a handful of foreign wives. The renowned poet Hafeez Jullundhri was a close friend. He had two households; his concurrent wives lived, none too comfortably, in houses almost opposite each other in Model Town. His younger second wife Anela, an English woman of Lithuanian descent, found an ally and confidante in Freda, and her daughter Zia has affectionate memories of Freda. 'She used to come, this beautiful lady in a sari and I used to see her -- usually it was a white sari, and cotton, and she always looked very fresh, and even in the heat looked cool ... I was very fond of her. Auntie Ooggee, Auntie Ooggee, I used to go rushing to her and hugging her on her legs.'13 Another close friend, the artist Roop Krishna, married a British artist, Mary Oldfield. The Bedis would also have known the sisters AIys and Christabel George from near London, who married two of the most influential leftist writers and intellectuals in Lahore, the poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz and the writer and educationist M.D. Taseer.

Inter-racial marriages were not common, but nor were they so unusual as to attract particular comment. It was much more exceptional for foreign spouses to embrace nationalist and leftist politics, and to take to the platform, join processions and write articles in support of India's independence. The foreign wives and companions of South Asian revolutionaries who embraced their partners' politics have been described as 'a group almost lost to history' because so little is known, and written, about them.14 Freda was clear long before she settled in India that she would be active in pursuing India's cause and so became part of a significant but slender tradition of white women who gained prominence within South Asian nationalist movements.

Of that tradition, Annie Besant was pre-eminent. She was the wife of an English vicar who walked out on her marriage, became a noted radical and freethinker, and eventually settled in Madras (now Chennai). She was a pioneering Theosophist and a powerful advocate of Indian nationalism and served as president of the Indian National Congress. There are striking parallels in the lives of Freda Bedi and Annie Besant, who both in turn showed commitment to radical politics, Indian nationalism and Eastern spirituality. Besant died a few months before Freda reached India, but Bedi had made a point of meeting her before he came to Oxford, and Norah Richards knew her and was influenced by Theosophism. A closer contemporary of Freda was Madeleine Slade, the daughter of a British rear admiral. She spent many years supporting and working with Mahatma Gandhi and took the name Mirabehn. Freda met Slade several times and regarded her as a friend. 'Her name was high in Indian nationalist circles. She was a woman of great dedication and lived a life of some self-sacrifice.' Freda's life also bears an echo of that of Nellie Sengupta, a Cambridge woman who in the years before the First World War married a Bengali student who lodged with the family, Jatindra Mohan Sengupta. He was a prominent member of the Indian National Congress and mayor of Calcutta and died in 1933 while in jail on political charges. Nellie subsequently served as Congress president and was active in politics in Calcutta and, after Partition, in East Pakistan (later Bangladesh). She died in 1973.

In time, Freda became a role model for English women who followed in her footsteps. Nancie Jones met and eventually married a Punjabi socialist studying in England. Immediately after the Second World War, she came out to India to be with him and took not just his surname but changed her first name, becoming known as Rajni Kumar. By the time she reached Lahore, Freda was well established in the city and held up 'as a model of how to adopt myself to Indian life and culture, and how to involve myself in the struggle':

I visited Freda in her delightfully simple and ethnic home along with some of the women activists of the Communist Party .... I have vivid recollections of the simplicity of their life, the rural touch of the place, the string hammock where the baby was sleeping ... and the jute beds and the books stacked everywhere. I remember too, the deep involvement and concern that all of us shared regarding the course of the freedom struggle which was fast nearing its end. Freda made a deep impact upon me, and I resolved that like her, I would try to adapt myself fully to Indian ways and culture, and become a real Indian woman. I was already wearing thick khadi Punjabi clothes as she was.15

Seventy years later, Rajni Kumar still recalls Freda Bedi's advice. 'She told me that the best way to become a part of the Indian struggle is to be a part of it yourself. If you Indianise yourself enough -- and people think you are with them, you are part of them -- you've overcome all the prejudices.'16

-- The Lives of Freda: The Political, Spiritual and Personal Journeys of Freda Bedi, by Andrew Whitehead

Norah Richards (1876 – 3 March 1971) was an Irish-born actress and theatre practitioner, who was later called the Lady Gregory of the Punjab. She devoted 60 years (1911–1971) of her life towards enriching the culture of the area.[1] She came to the Punjab in 1911 and produced the first Punjabi play, Dulhan ("The Bride"), written by her pupil I.C. Nanda in 1914.[2]

In 1970, Punjabi University, Patiala, conferred an honorary DLitt degree on her, for her contribution to Punjabi culture, especially Punjabi drama.[1]

Early life and education

Norah Mary Hutman was born on 29 October 1876, in Ireland. She received her formal education in institutions in around the world, mainly Belgium, Oxford University and Sydney.


At a young age she took to the stage and became a successful actress.

She married Philip Ernest Richards, an English teacher and a Unitarian Christian. She came to India in 1908 as her husband accepted a job to teach English literature at Dyal Singh College in Lahore. (Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, founder of the college, was an ardent follower of Brahmo Samaj, which had a synergic relationship with the Unitarian Christian movement.)

Norah Richards got involved in cultural activities in the college and her enthusiasm helped stimulate much serious theatrical activity. Lahore was the home of Punjabi culture in those days. She brought many Punjabi themes under her English pen and directed a few plays. More importantly, she encouraged students to write their own one act plays and perform them. She had an interest in theosophy and was actively involved in the theosophical movement and home-rule agitation by Dr Annie Besant.

On her husband's death in 1920, Norah returned to England. She came back to India in 1924. Events worked out well for her to settle in the beautiful Kangra Valley, and she made her home in Andretta, Himachal Pradesh. In those days of British Raj, many Britons had acquired lands in the hill states of British India. One such settler who left for England gave away his property to Norah, which came to be known as the Woodlands Estate.

Living amidst villagers, she chose the same lifestyle and made a mud house with a thatched roof for herself. She named it Chameli Niwas. Her 15 acres (6.1 ha) of estate covered by tall trees and wild flowers professed her love for nature. Norah opened a school of drama from which have emerged many famous names of Punjabi drama like Ishwar Chand Nanda, Dr. Harcharan Singh, Balwant Gargi and Gurcharan Singh.

Every year, in the month of March, Norah organised a week-long festival in which students and villagers enacted her plays in an open-air theatre constructed on her estate. Among the guests, Prithvi Raj Kapoor and Balraj Sahni were the most regular. Amongst her other friends who later settled near Woodland Estate were Prof Jai Dayal, painter Sobha Singh and Farida [Freda] Bedi.

The Bedis took refuge in the hills of the Kangra Valley, 130 miles east of Lahore. At Andretta, an Irish woman, Norah Richards -- an actress and theatre enthusiast, and thirty-five years older than Freda -- had established a modest homestead which became the hub of a cultural and artistic community. Norah's own home was as simple, perhaps more so, as the Bedis' in Model Town, with mud walls and a thatched roof. In the mid-1930s, she was given a small estate, and here poets, potters, artists and writers set up home. Freda remembered Norah as 'a great old lady and a great friend' -- a friendship which persisted until Norah's death in 1971. 'Norah had wanted to prove, Tolstoyan fashion, that one could live in the countryside wearing country homespuns and one needn't go to the town for intellectual life.... She gave us a piece of land there on the hillside, and we built our first mud cottage there ... and though she had some misgivings about our political ways, we assured her we didn't bring them to Andretta and that we came there to rest .... She was interested, as I was, in the simplicities and beauties of rural living, in cooking and in not using anything except local products, earthenware plates and homespun cloth.'10

-- The Lives of Freda: The Political, Spiritual and Personal Journeys of Freda Bedi, by Andrew Whitehead

Norah's plays were on social reform, displaying wide sympathy with the people's ways and traditions. She wrote scripts while many people came and helped with the production. She wrote newspaper articles and painted watercolours. Andretta thus became the hub of cultural and theatrical activities for a whole generation of artists. One among them was young Bhabesh Chandra Sanyal, who had already won recognition as a sculptor and painter and later on became the doyen of Indian art. He discusses Norah Richards at some length in his autobiography.

"Usually, she would greet me with a khurpa in her hand in home-spun khadi kurta and churidar, her white curls covered with a veil on top of which she donned a straw hat. This was the pattern of her work-a-day dress, grey, or ochre brown in colour. A cotton string around her waist carried a whistle and a suspended pouch carried her spectacles, bunches of keys, pen and pencil and a writing pad and a watch. She would dig the soil of her vegetable garden, tend and water the plants herself.

"I used to feel amused at her idea of discipline and the method of its application to her servants. The work-time was divided between hukka-break, tea-break, rest-break and meals break. With the aid of an alarm clock in her pouch, she would blow her whistle and command: “Hukka pio, hukka pio", and then whistle again at the determined interval for their coming back to work. At the end of the day all her servants would retire to their homes leaving her completely alone to pursue her literary work, letter writing and reading. The little kerosene lamp would burn till after midnight and the tick-tack of her typewriter would begin before dawn." Sanyal continues, “‘Mem’ she was at the core of her heart and remained critical of the villagers fouling the fields and not following her example of digging pits for leafclosets and do her own scavenging and sanitation work. "Sooner than immediate" was the mould of her temperament and she could not tolerate untidiness.

Norah's contribution to Punjabi drama was duly recognised by Punjabi University, Patiala which awarded her an honorary doctorate. The museum of the university houses some of her rare belongings. During the later years of her life, Richards was deeply worried about the future of Woodlands and her large collection of literature and manuscripts. "She toyed with the idea of making a will. Confused in her mind, she made and unmade several."

Though sceptic about governmental control and administration, she offered the estate to the government of Himachal Pradesh, but received no response. Eventually, she left most of her estate and valuable collections to the care of Punjabi University, Patiala.

In the waning days of her life, she was dependent on her attendants for a meagre meal and glass of water. She was placed to rest on 3 March 1971. Her gravestone in Woodlands Retreat has these last words inscribed: “Rest Weary Heart – Thy work is Done."


1. A TRIBUTE: Lady Gregory of Punjab by Harcharan Singh, The Tribune, 1 March 2003.
2. Norah Richards
• Excerpts from B. C. Sanyal's, The Vertical Woman, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, 1998 and other internet sources. (Compiled by Vipan Kumar courtesy: My Himachal.)

External links

• Andretta-A sanctuary of potters The Hindu
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue May 19, 2020 3:20 am

London Indian Society
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/18/20

1865 saw the formation of the first Indian society of any significant influence, the London Indian Society. The impetus for the society's establishment came from the future British MP Dadabhai Naoroji, W.C. Bannerjee, G.M. Tagore, B. Tyabji and a number of Indian students and businessmen in London.26 The inaugural meeting was held in March at University Hall in Gordon Square. The purpose of the society was to discuss 'political, social and literary subjects relating to India with a view to promot[ing] the interests of the people of that country'.27 In December 1866, the society was superseded by the East India Association, formed by a group of Indians including Naoroji, along with a number of sympathetic retired British officials. The London branch attracted a number of prominent Liberal and Radical MPs, many of whom were persuaded to raise issues concerning India in the House of Commons.28 The association gained considerable influence through publications, meetings and deputations to Westminster. Its membership had grown to over 1,000 by 1871.29 However, by the 1880s, the organisation had become dominated by Anglo-Indians and had lost its political edge.

Of the other London-based societies, the most influential was the London India Society (as distinct from the London Indian Society). Cambridge student Ananda Mohan Bose, who had been converted to Brahmoism by Keshab in 1869 and would later play a leading role in the Indian National Congress, founded it in 1872. Naoroji also played a leading role in this organisation and became its president. The purpose of hte society was to 'foster the spirit of nationalism among the Indian residents in Britain.'30. Bose was a formidable speaker, and regularly delivered impassioned speeches concerning the wrongs of British rule in India.31 The society continued to produce nationalist propaganda for over fifty years. Its activities drew the attention of the India Office, which sent spies to its meetings. A spy at a meeting of 28 December 1898 estimated that there were 150 Indians present.21

-- Keshab: Bengal's Forgotten Prophet, by John A. Stevens

The London India Society was an Indian organisation founded in London in March 1865 under the leadership of Dadabhai Naoroji and W.C. Bonnerjee.[1] The purpose of the organisation was to promote awareness of the rising Indian social and political aspirations in England, and to raise the profile of India related matters amongst the British public.[2] The London Indian Society was superseded by the East India Association, which was founded by Dadabhai Naoroji in 1866.


1. Tarique 2003, p. 97
2. Rawal 1989, p. 12


• Rawal, Munna (1989), Dadabhai Naoroji, a prophet of Indian nationalism, 1855-1900, Delhi: Anmol publications, ISBN 81-7041-131-9.
• Tarique, Mohammad (2003), Modern Indian History, Delhi: Tata-McGraw Hill, ISBN 978-0-07-066030-4.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue May 19, 2020 3:25 am

Dadabhai Naoroji
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/18/20

Sir Dadabhai Naoroji
Dadabhai Naoroji c. 1889
Member of Parliament: for Finsbury Central
In office: 1892–1895
Preceded by: Frederick Thomas Penton
Succeeded by: William Frederick Barton Massey-Mainwaring
Majority: 5
Personal details
Born: 4 September 1825, Navsari, Bombay Presidency, British India
Died: 30 June 1917 (aged 91), Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India
Nationality: Indian
Political party: Liberal
Other political
affiliations: Co-founder of Indian National Congress
Spouse(s): Gulbaai
Residence: London, United Kingdom
Alma mater: University of Mumbai
Occupation: Academician, politician, trader

Sir Dadabhai Naoroji Dordi (4 September 1825 – 30 June 1917) also known as the "Grand Old Man of India" and "Unofficial Ambassador of India" was an Indian Parsi scholar, trader and politician who was a Liberal Party member of Parliament (MP) in the United Kingdom House of Commons between 1892 and 1895, and the first Asian to be a British MP,[1][2] notwithstanding the Anglo-Indian MP David Ochterlony Dyce Sombre, who was disenfranchised for corruption. Naoroji was one of the founding members of the Indian National Congress.[3] His book Poverty and Un-British Rule in India[2] brought attention to the draining of India's wealth into Britain. In it he explained his wealth drain theory. He was also a member of the Second International along with Kautsky and Plekhanov. Dadabhai Naroji's works in the congress are praiseworthy. In 1886,1893 and 1906, i.e., thrice was he elected as the president of INC.

In 2014, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg inaugurated the Dadabhai Naoroji Awards for services to UK-India relations.[4] India Post dedicated stamps to Naoroji in 1963, 1997 and 2017.[5][6]

Life and career

Naoroji was born in Navsari into a Gujarati-speaking Parsi family, and educated at the Elphinstone Institute School.[7] He was patronised by the Maharaja of Baroda, Sayajirao Gaekwad III, and started his public life as the Dewan (Minister) to the Maharaja in 1874. Being an Athornan (ordained priest), Naoroji founded the Rahnumae Mazdayasne Sabha (Guides on the Mazdayasne Path) on 1 August 1851 to restore the Zoroastrian religion to its original purity and simplicity. In 1854, he also founded a Gujarati fortnightly publication, the Rast Goftar (or The Truth Teller), to clarify Zoroastrian concepts and promote Parsi social reforms.[8] In this time he also published another newspaper called "The Voice of India." In December 1855, he was appointed Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at the Elphinstone College in Bombay,[9] becoming the first Indian to hold such an academic position. He travelled to London in 1855 to become a partner in Cama & Co, opening a Liverpool location for the first Indian company to be established in Britain. Within three years, he had resigned on ethical grounds. In 1859, he established his own cotton trading company, Dadabhai Naoroji & Co. Later, he became professor of Gujarati at University College London.

Dadabhai Naoroji statue, near Flora Fountain, Mumbai

In 1865, Naoroji directed and launch the London Indian Society, the purpose of which was to discuss Indian political, social and literary subjects.[10] In 1861 Naoroji founded The Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe alongside Muncherjee Hormusji Cama.[11] In 1867 he also helped to establish the East India Association, one of the predecessor organisations of the Indian National Congress with the aim of putting across the Indian point of view before the British public. The Association was instrumental in counter-acting the propaganda by the Ethnological Society of London which, in its session in 1866, had tried to prove the inferiority of the Asians to the Europeans. This Association soon won the support of eminent Englishmen and was able to exercise considerable influence in the British Parliament.[citation needed] In 1874, he became Prime Minister of Baroda and was a member of the Legislative Council of Bombay (1885–88). He was also a member of the Indian National Association founded by Sir Surendranath Banerjee from Calcutta a few years before the founding of the Indian National Congress in Bombay, with the same objectives and practices.[3] The two groups later merged into the INC, and Naoroji was elected President of the Congress in 1886. Naoroji published Poverty and un-British Rule in India in 1901.[3]

Naoroji in 1892.

Naoroji moved to Britain once again and continued his political involvement. Elected for the Liberal Party in Finsbury Central at the 1892 general election, he was the first British Indian MP.[12][13] He refused to take the oath on the Bible as he was not a Christian, but was allowed to take the oath of office in the name of God on his copy of Khordeh Avesta. During his time he put his efforts towards improving the situation in India. He had a very clear vision and was an effective communicator. He set forth his views about the situation in India over the course of history of the governance of the country and the way in which the colonial rulers rules. In Parliament, he spoke on Irish Home Rule and the condition of the Indian people. He was also a notable Freemason. In his political campaign and duties as an MP, he was assisted by Muhammed Ali Jinnah, the future Muslim nationalist and founder of Pakistan. In 1906, Naoroji was again elected president of the Indian National Congress. Naoroji was a staunch moderate within the Congress, during the phase when opinion in the party was split between the moderates and extremists. Naoroji was a mentor to Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. He was married to Gulbai at the age of eleven. He died in Bombay on 30 June 1917, at the age of 91. Today the Dadabhai Naoroji Road, a heritage road of Mumbai, is named after him. Also, the Dadabhai Naoroji Road in Karachi, Pakistan is also named after him as well, as Naoroji Street in the Finsbury area of London. A prominent residential colony for central government servants in the south of Delhi is also named Naoroji Nagar. His granddaughters Perin and Khrushedben were also involved in the freedom struggle. In 1930, Khurshedben was arrested along with other revolutionaries for attempting to hoist the Indian flag in a Government College in Ahmedabad.[14]

Naoroji's drain theory and poverty

Dadabhai Naoroji's work focused on the drain of wealth from India to England during colonial rule of British in India.[15] One of the reasons that the Drain theory is attributed to Naoroji is his decision to estimate the net national profit of India, and by extension, the effect that colonisation has on the country. Through his work with economics, Naoroji sought to prove that Britain was draining money out of India.[16] Naoroji described 6 factors which resulted in the external drain. Firstly, India is governed by a foreign government. Secondly, India does not attract immigrants which bring labour and capital for economic growth. Thirdly, India pays for Britain's civil administrations and occupational army. Fourthly, India bears the burden of empire building in and out of its borders. Fifthly, opening the country to free trade was actually a way to exploit India by offering highly paid jobs to foreign personnel. Lastly, the principal income-earners would buy outside of India or leave with the money as they were mostly foreign personnel.[17] In Naoroji's book 'Poverty' he estimated a 200–300 million pounds loss of India's revenue to Britain that is not returned. Naoroji described this as vampirism, with money being a metaphor for blood, which humanised India and attempted to show Britain's actions as monstrous in an attempt to garner sympathy for the nationalist movement.[18]

When referring to the Drain, Naoroji stated that he believed some tribute was necessary as payment for the services that England brought to India such as the railways. However the money from these services were being drained out of India; for instance the money being earned by the railways did not belong to India, which supported his assessment that India was giving too much to Britain. India was paying tribute for something that was not bringing profit to the country directly. Instead of paying off foreign investment which other countries did, India was paying for services rendered despite the operation of the railway being already profitable for Britain. This type of drain was experienced in different ways as well, for instance, British workers earning wages that were not equal with the work that they have done in India, or trade that undervalued India's goods and overvalued outside goods.[15][17] Englishmen were encouraged to take on high paying jobs in India, and the British government allowed them to take a portion of their income back to Britain. Furthermore, the East India Company was purchasing Indian goods with money drained from India to export to Britain, which was a way that the opening up of free trade allowed India to be exploited.[19]

When elected to Parliament by a narrow margin of 5 votes his first speech was about questioning Britain's role in India. Naoroji explained that Indians were either British subjects or British slaves, depending on how willing Britain was to give India the institutions that Britain already operated. By giving these institutions to India it would allow India to govern itself and as a result the revenue would stay in India.[20] It is because Naoroji identified himself as an Imperial citizen that he was able to address the economic hardships facing India to an English audience. By presenting himself as an Imperial citizen he was able to use rhetoric to show the benefit to Britain that an ease of financial burden on India would have. He argued that by allowing the money earned in India to stay in India, tributes would be willingly and easily paid without fear of poverty; he argued that this could be done by giving equal employment opportunities to Indian professionals who consistently took jobs they were over-qualified for. Indian labour would be more likely to spend their income within India preventing one aspect of the drain.[18] Naoroji believed that to solve the problem of the drain it was important to allow India to develop industries; this would not be possible without the revenue draining from India into England.

It was also important to examine British and Indian trade to prevent the end of budding industries due to unfair valuing of goods and services.[19] By allowing industry to grow in India, tribute could be paid to Britain in the form of taxation and the increase in interest for British goods in India. Over time, Naoroji became more extreme in his comments as he began to lose patience with Britain. This was shown in his comments which became increasingly aggressive. Naoroji showed how the ideologies of Britain conflicted when asking them if they would allow French youth to occupy all the lucrative posts in England. He also brought up the way that Britain objected to the drain of wealth to the papacy during the 16th century.[21] Naoroji's work on the drain theory was the main reason behind the creation of the Royal Commission on Indian Expenditure in 1896 in which he was also a member. This commission reviewed financial burdens on India and in some cases came to the conclusion that those burdens were misplaced.[22]

Views and legacy

Naoroji on a 1963 stamp of India

Naoroji on a 2017 stamp of India

Dadabhai Naoroji is regarded as one of the most important Indians during the independence movement. In his writings, he considered that the foreign intervention into India was clearly not favourable for the country.

Further development was checked by the frequent invasions of India by, and the subsequent continuous rule of, foreigners of entirely different character and genius, who, not having any sympathy with the indigenous literature – on the contrary, having much fanatical antipathy to the religion of the Hindus – prevented its further growth. Priest-hood, first for power and afterwards from ignorance, completed the mischief, as has happened in all other countries.[23]

Naoroji is remembered as the "Grand Old Man of Indian Nationalism"

Mahatma Gandhi wrote to Naoroji in a letter of 1894 that "The Indians look up to you as children to the father. Such is really the feeling here."[24]

Bal Gangadhar Tilak admired him; he said:

If we twenty eight crore of Indians were entitled to send only one member to the British parliament, there is no doubt that we would have elected Dadabhai Naoroji unanimously to grace that post.[25]

Here are the significant extracts taken from his speech delivered before the East India Association on 2 May 1867 regarding what educated Indians expect from their British rulers.

The difficulties thrown in the way of according to the natives such reasonable share and voice in the administration of the country ad they are able to take, are creating some uneasiness and distrust. The universities are sending out hundreds and will soon begin to send out thousands of educated natives. This body naturally increases in influence...

"In this Memorandum I desire to submit for the kind and generous consideration of His Lordship the Secretary of State for India, that from the same cause of the deplorable drain [of economic wealth from India to England], besides the material exhaustion of India, the moral loss to her is no less sad and lamentable . . . All [the Europeans] effectually do is to eat the substance of India, material and moral, while living there, and when they go, they carry away all they have acquired . . . The thousands [of Indians] that are being sent out by the universities every year find themselves in a most anomalous position. There is no place for them in their motherland . . . What must be the inevitable consequence? . . . despotism and destruction . . . or destroying hand and power. "

In this above quotation he explains his theory in which the British used India as a drain of wealth.

A plaque referring to Dadabhai Naoroji is located outside the Finsbury Town Hall on Rosebery Avenue, London.


• Started the Rast Goftar Anglo-Gujarati Newspaper in 1854.
• The manners and customs of the Parsees (Bombay, 1864)
• The European and Asiatic races (London, 1866)
• Admission of educated natives into the Indian Civil Service (London, 1868)
• The wants and means of India (London, 1876)
• Condition of India (Madras, 1882)
• Poverty of India
A Paper Read Before the Bombay Branch of the East India Association, Bombay, Ranima Union Press, (1876)
• C. L. Parekh, ed., Essays, Speeches, Addresses and Writings of the Honourable Dadabhai Naoroji, Bombay, Caxton Printing Works (1887). An excerpt, "The Benefits of British Rule", in a modernised text by J. S. Arkenberg, ed., on line at Paul Halsall, ed., Internet Modern History Sourcebook.
• Lord Salisbury's Blackman (Lucknow, 1889)
• Naoroji, Dadabhai (1861). The Parsee Religion. University of London.
• Dadabhai Naoroji (1902). Poverty and Un-British Rule in India. Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. poverty and un british rule in india.; Commonwealth Publishers, 1988. ISBN 81-900066-2-2

He made the first attempt to estimate the national income of India in 1867.

See also

• Electoral firsts in the United Kingdom.


1. Mukherjee, Sumita. "'Narrow-majority' and 'Bow-and-agree': Public Attitudes Towards the Elections of the First Asian MPs in Britain, Dadabhai Naoroji and Mancherjee Merwanjee Bhownaggree, 1885–1906" (PDF). Journal of the Oxford University History Society (2 (Michaelmas 2004)).
2. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Naoroji, Dadabhai" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 167.
3. Nanda, B. R. (2015) [1977], Gokhale: The Indian Moderates and the British Raj, Legacy Series, Princeton University Press, p. 58, ISBN 978-1-4008-7049-3
4. "Dadabhai Naoroji Awards presented for the first time – GOV.UK". Retrieved 1 June 2017.
5. "India Post Honors Dadabhai Naoroji With Stamp – Parsi Times". Parsi Times. 6 January 2018. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
6. "India Post Issued Stamp on Dadabhai Naoroji". Phila-Mirror. 29 December 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
7. Dilip Hiro (2015). The Longest August: The Unflinching Rivalry Between India and Pakistan. Nation Books. p. 9. ISBN 9781568585031. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
8. Mohanram, edited by Ralph J. Crane & Radhika (2000). Shifting continents/colliding cultures : diaspora writing of the Indian subcontinent. Amsterdam: Rodopi. p. 62. ISBN 978-9042012615. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
9. Mistry, Sanjay (2007) "Naorojiin, Dadabhai" in Dabydeen, David et al. eds. The Oxford Companion of Black British History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 336–7. ISBN 9780199238941
10. Fourteenth Annual General Meeting of the British Indian Association, 14 February 1866, p.22 British Indian Association
11. John R. Hinnells (28 April 2005). The Zoroastrian Diaspora: Religion and Migration. OUP Oxford. p. 388. ISBN 978-0-19-826759-1. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
12. Peters, K. J. (29 May 1946). "Indian Patchwork Is Made of Many Colours". Aberdeen Journal. Retrieved 2 December 2014 – via British Newspaper Archive.(subscription required)
13. "From the archive, 26 July 1892: Britain's first Asian MP elected", The Guardian, 26 July 2013, retrieved 2 May 2018
14. "Millionaire's daughter arrested". Portsmouth Evening News. 21 August 1930. Retrieved 2 December 2014 – via British Newspaper Archive.(subscription required)
15. Kozicki, Richard P.; Ganguli, B. N. (1967). "Reviewed work: Dadabhai Naoroji and the Drain Theory., B. N. Ganguli". The Journal of Asian Studies. 26 (4): 728–729. doi:10.2307/2051282. JSTOR 2051282.
16. Raychaudhuri G.S. (1966). "On Some Estimates of National Income Indian Economy 1858–1947". Economic and Political Weekly. 1 (16): 673–679. JSTOR 4357298.
17. Ganguli B.N. (1965). "Dadabhai Naoroji and the Mechanism of 'External Drain'". The Indian Economic & Social History Review. 2 (2): 85–102. doi:10.1177/001946466400200201.
18. Banerjee, Sukanya (2010) Becoming Imperial Citizens : Indians in the Late Victorian Empire Durham. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-4608-1
19. Doctor, Adi H. (1997) Political Thinkers of Modern India. New Delhi Mittal Publications. ISBN 978-8170996613
20. Chatterjee, Partha (1999). "Modernity, Democracy and a Political Negotiation of Death". South Asia Research. 19 (2): 103–119. doi:10.1177/026272809901900201.
21. Chandra, Bipan (1965). "Indian Nationalists and the Drain, 1880—1905". The Indian Economic & Social History Review. 2 (2): 103–144. doi:10.1177/001946466400200202.
22. Chishti, M. Anees ed. (2001) Committees And Commissions in Pre-Independence India 1836–1947 Volume 2: 1882–1895. New Delhi Mittal Publications. ISBN 9788170998020
23. "Transactions of the Ethnological Society of London", p. 9
24. Bakshi, Shiri Ram (1988) Gandhi and Indians in South Africa. p. 37.
25. Pasricha, Ashu (1998) Encyclopedia Eminent Thinkers. Vol. 11: The Political Thought of Dadabhai Naoroji. Concept Publishing Company. p. 30. ISBN 9788180694912

Further reading

• Rustom P. Masani, Dadabhai Naoroji (1939).
• Munni Rawal, Dadabhai Naoroji, Prophet of Indian Nationalism, 1855–1900, New Delhi, Anmol Publications (1989).
• S. R. Bakshi, Dadabhai Naoroji: The Grand Old Man, Anmol Publications (1991). ISBN 81-7041-426-1
• Verinder Grover, ‘'Dadabhai Naoroji: A Biography of His Vision and Ideas’’ New Delhi, Deep & Deep Publishers (1998) ISBN 81-7629-011-4
• Debendra Kumar Das, ed., ‘'Great Indian Economists : Their Creative Vision for Socio-Economic Development.’’ Vol. I: ‘Dadabhai Naoroji (1825–1917) : Life Sketch and Contribution to Indian Economy.’’ New Delhi, Deep and Deep (2004).ISBN 81-7629-315-6
• P. D. Hajela, ‘'Economic Thoughts of Dadabhai Naoroji,’’ New Delhi, Deep & Deep (2001). ISBN 81-7629-337-7
• Pash Nandhra, entry Dadabhai Naoroji in Brack et al. (eds).Dictionary of Liberal History; Politico's, 1998
• Zerbanoo Gifford, Dadabhai Naoroji: Britain's First Asian MP; Mantra Books, 1992
• Codell, J. "Decentering & Doubling Imperial Discourse in the British Press: D. Naoroji & M. M. Bhownaggree," Media History 15 (Fall 2009), 371–84.
• Metcalf and Metcalf, Concise History of India

External links

• Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs
• "Dr Dadabhai Naoroji, 'The Grand Old Man of India'", – Presents a complete chronology of Naoroji's life.
• Portraits of Dadabhai Naoroji at the National Portrait Gallery, London
• Works by or about Dadabhai Naoroji at Internet Archive
• Works by Dadabhai Naoroji at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• B. Shantanu, "Drain of Wealth during British Raj",, 6 February 2006
• Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Dadabhai Naoroji
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue May 19, 2020 4:26 am

Second International
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/18/20

Second International
Founded: 14 July 1889
Dissolved: 1916
Preceded by: International Workingmen's Association (not legal predecessor)
Succeeded by: Communist International; International Working Union of Socialist Parties; Labour and Socialist International
Ideology: Marxism
Colours Red

The Second International (1889–1916) was an organisation of socialist and labour parties, formed on 14 July 1889 at a Paris meeting in which delegations from twenty countries participated.[1] The Second International continued the work of the dissolved First International, though excluding the powerful anarcho-syndicalist movement and trade unions. In 1922 the Second International began to reorganise into the Labour and Socialist International.[2]


Among the Second International's famous actions were its 1889 declaration of 1 May (May Day) as International Workers' Day and its 1910 declaration of the International Women's Day, first celebrated on 19 March and then on 8 March after the main day of the women's marches in 1917 during the Russian Revolution. It initiated the international campaign for the eight-hour working day.[3]

The International's permanent executive and information body was the International Socialist Bureau (ISB) based in Brussels and formed after the International's Paris Congress of 1900. Emile Vandervelde and Camille Huysmans of the Belgian Labour Party were its chair and secretary. Vladimir Lenin was a member from 1905.

The Second International became ineffective in 1916 during World War I because the separate national parties that composed the International did not maintain a unified front against the war, instead generally supporting their respective nations' role. The Secretary General of the ISB, Camille Huysmans, moved the ISB from German-occupied Brussels to The Hague in December 1914 and attempted to coordinate socialist parties from the warring states to at least July 1916.[4] French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) leader Jean Jaurès's assassination, a few days before the beginning of the war, symbolised the failure of the antimilitarist doctrine of the Second International. At the Zimmerwald Conference in 1915, anti-war socialists attempted to maintain international unity against the social patriotism of the social democratic leaders.

In July 1920 at Geneva, the last congress of the Second International was held, following its functional collapse during the war. However, some European socialist parties refused to join the reorganised International and decided instead to form the International Working Union of Socialist Parties (IWUSP) (Second and a half International or Two-and-a-half International), heavily influenced by Austromarxism. In 1923, IWUSP and the Second International merged to form the social democratic Labour and Socialist International which continued to exist until 1940. After World War II, a new Socialist International was formed to continue the policies of the Labour and Socialist International and it continues to this day.

Another successor was the Third International organised in 1919 under the soon-to-be Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It was officially called the Communist International (Comintern) and lasted until 1943 when it was dissolved by then Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

Latin America

In Latin America, the International had two affiliates, namely the Socialist Party of Argentina and the Socialist Party of Uruguay.[5]

The exclusion of anarchists

Anarchists tended to be excluded from the Second International, nevertheless "anarchism had in fact dominated the London Congress of the Second International".[6] This exclusion received the criticism from anti-authoritarian socialists present at the meetings.[7] It has been argued that at some point the Second International turned "into a battleground over the issue of libertarian versus authoritarian socialism. Not only they represented minority rights, but also led the German Marxists into demonstrating dictatorial intolerance which was a factor in preventing the British labour movement from following the Marxist direction indicated by such leaders as Henry Hyndman.[8]

Congresses and Conferences of the Second International

Source: Julius Braunthal (1980). History of the International: Volume 3, 1943-1968. London. Victor Gollancz. p. 562.

Event / Location / Date / Notes

First Congress / Paris / 14–19 July 1889 / --
Second Congress / Brussels / 3–7 August 1891 / --
Third Congress / Zurich / 9–13 August 1893 / --
Fourth Congress / London / 26–31 July 1896 / --
Fifth Congress / Paris / 23–27 September 1900 / --
Sixth Congress / Amsterdam / 14–20 August 1904 / The "Grand Old Man of India", Dadabhai Naoroji, attended the Congress and pleaded the cause of India's freedom
Seventh Congress / Stuttgart 1/ 8–24 August 1907 / --
Eighth Congress / Copenhagen / 28 August–3 September 1910 / --
Extraordinary Ninth Congress / Basel / 24–25 November 1912 / --

After World War I, there were three Socialist Conferences in Switzerland. These were as a bridge to the creation of the Labour and Socialist International.

Event / Location / Date / Notes

Berne Conference of 1919 / Bern / 3–8 February 1919
International Socialist Conference, Lucerne, 1919 / Lucerne / 1–9 August 1919
International Socialist Congress, Geneva, 1920 / Geneva / 31 July–4 August 1920 Scheduled for Feb 1920, it was actually convened on 31 July. Sidney Webb as committee chairman drafted a resolution entitled 'Political System of Socialism,' that distanced the Second International from Lenin-style dictatorship, but emphasized it was "ever more urgent that Labour should assume power in society." It also moved the Secretariat from Brussels to London and set the "next congress of the Second International in 1922" [but this did not take place] [9]

Related international gatherings

Source: Julius Braunthal (1980). History of the International: Volume 3, 1943-1968. London. Victor Gollancz. pp. 562–563.

Event / Location / Date / Notes

Conference of Socialist Parties of Neutral Countries / Copenhagen / 17–18 January 1915 / --
Conference of Central European Socialist Parties / Vienna / /12–13 April 1915 / --
First Conference of the Zimmerwald Movement / Zimmerwald / 5–8 September 1915 / --
Second Conference of the Zimmerwald Movement / Kienthal / 24–30 April 1916 / --
Third Conference of the Zimmerwald Movement / Stockholm / 5–12 September 1917 / --
First Conference of Inter-Allied Socialist Parties / London / 14 February 1915 / --
Second Conference of Inter-Allied Socialist Parties / London / 28–29 August 1917 / --
Third Conference of Inter-Allied Socialist Parties / London / 20–24 February 1918 / --
Fourth Conference of Inter-Allied Socialist Parties / London / 15 September 1918 / --

See also

• Communist International (Third International or Comintern)
• Fifth International
• Fourth International and Trotskyist internationals
• French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO, the French section of the Second International)
• Inter-Allied Socialist Conferences of World War I
• International Anarchist Congresses
• International Federation of Socialist Young People's Organizations
• International Socialist Women's Conferences
• International Workingmen's Association (First International)
• International Working Union of Socialist Parties (Second and a half international or Two-and-a-half International)
• Neutral Socialist Conferences during the First World War
• Socialist International
• Vienna Socialist Conference of 1915


1. José Luis Rubio (1971). Las internacionales obreras en América. Madrid. p. 42.
2. Braunthal, Julius (1967). History of the International, 1914-1943, Vol. 2, pp. 245-247.
3. José Luis Rubio (1971). Las internacionales obreras en América. Madrid. p. 43.
4. History of the International, 1914-1943, Vol 2, p38, 52
5. Rubio, José Luis (1971). Las internacionales obreras en América. Madrid. p. 49.
6. George Woodcock (1962). Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. pp. 263–264.
7. George Woodcock (1962). Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. pp. 263–264. "As well as all the anarchist leaders, Keir Hardie and Tom Mann appeared on the platform to make speeches asserting the rights of minorities, and William Morris, now nearing his death, sent a message to say that only sickness prevented him from adding his own voice to the chorus of protest".
8. George Woodcock (1962). Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. pp. 263-264.
9. Braunthal, History of the International, 1914-1943, p159-161

External links

• "The Second International".
• "History of the Second International" (in French and English).
• "German social-democratic party and the Second International". Fractal-vortex.
Dutt, R. Palme (1922). "International, The" . Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.).
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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International Workingmen's Association [First International]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/18/20

Workingmen's Association
Logo first used by the Spanish IWA.
Abbreviation: IWA
Successor: Second International (not legal successor)
Formation: 28 September 1864; 155 years ago
Founders: George Odger, Henri Tolain, Edward Spencer Beesly
Extinction :1876; 144 years ago
Type: Intergovernmental organization
Legal status: Defunct
Purpose: Defense of the working class; Class struggle against capitalism; Establishment of a socialist society
Headquarters: St James's Hall, Regent Street, West End
Location: London, United Kingdom (1864–1873); New York City, United States (1873–1876)
Region served: Worldwide
Membership: 5–8 million
Key people: Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Mikhail Bakunin, Louis Auguste Blanqui, Giuseppe Garibaldi
Main organ: Congress of the First International

The International Workingmen's Association (IWA), often called the First International (1864–1876), was an international organisation which aimed at uniting a variety of different left-wing socialist, communist[1] and anarchist groups and trade unions that were based on the working class and class struggle. It was founded in 1864 in a workmen's meeting held in St. Martin's Hall, London. Its first congress was held in 1866 in Geneva.

In Europe, a period of harsh reaction followed the widespread Revolutions of 1848. The next major phase of revolutionary activity began almost twenty years later with the founding of the IWA in 1864. At its peak, the IWA reported having 8 million members[2] while police reported 5 million.[3] In 1872, it split in two over conflicts between statist and anarchist factions and dissolved in 1876. The Second International was founded in 1889.


Following the January Uprising in Poland in 1863, French and British workers started to discuss developing a closer working relationship. Henri Tolain, Joseph Perrachon and Charles Limousin visited London in July 1863, attending a meeting in St. James's Hall in honour of the Polish uprising. They discussed the need for an international organisation, which would amongst other things prevent the import of foreign workers to break strikes. In September 1864, French and British delegates again met in London, this time to set up an organization for sharing labor information across borders.

St. Martin's Hall Meeting, London, 1864

On 28 September an international crowd of workers gathered to welcome the French delegates in St. Martin’s Hall in London. Among the many European radicals were English Owenites, followers of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Louis Auguste Blanqui, Irish and Polish nationalists, Italian republicans and German socialists.[4] Included among the last-mentioned of this eclectic band was a somewhat obscure 46-year-old émigré journalist Karl Marx, who would soon come to play a decisive role in the organisation.[4]

The positivist historian Edward Spencer Beesly, a professor at London University, was in the chair.[4] His speech pilloried the violent proceedings of the governments and referred to their flagrant breaches of international law and advocated a union of the workers of the world for the realisation of justice on earth. George Odger, Secretary of the London Trades Council, read a speech calling for international co-operation.

The meeting unanimously decided to found an international organisation of workers. The centre was to be in London, directed by a committee of 21, which was instructed to draft a programme and constitution. Most of the British members of the committee were drawn from the Universal League for the Material Elevation of the Industrious Classes[5] and were noted trade-union leaders like Odger, George Howell (former secretary of the London Trades Council, which itself declined affiliation to the IWA, although remaining close to it), Cyrenus Osborne Ward and Benjamin Lucraft and included Owenites and Chartists. The French members were Denoual, Victor Le Lubez and Bosquet. Italy was represented by Fontana. Other members were Louis Wolff, Johann Eccarius and at the foot of the list Marx, who participated in his individual capacity and did not speak during the meeting.[6]

This executive committee in turn selected a subcommittee to do the actual writing of the organisational programme—a group which included Marx and which met at his home about a week after the conclusion of the St. Martin's Hall assembly.[4] This subcommittee deferred the task of collective writing in favour of sole authorship by Marx and it was he who ultimately drew up the fundamental documents of the new organisation.[4]

On 5 October, the General Council was formed with co-opted additional members representing other nationalities. It was based at the headquarters of the Universal League for the Material Elevation of the Industrious Classes at 18 Greek Street.[7] Different groups offered proposals for the organisation. Louis Wolff (Mazzini's secretary) offered a proposal based on the rules and constitution of the Italian Workingmen’s Association (a Mazzinist organisation) and John Weston, an Owenite, also tabled a programme. Wolff left for Italy and Lubez rewrote it in a way which appalled Marx. Through deft manipulation of the sub-committee, Marx was left with all the papers and set about writing the Address to the Working Classes to which was attached a simplified set of rules.

Internal tensions

At first, the IWA had mostly male membership, although in April 1865 it was agreed that women could become members. The initial leadership was exclusively male. At the IWA General Council meeting on 16 April 1867, a letter from the secularist speaker Harriet Law about women's rights was read and it was agreed to ask her if she would be willing to attend council meetings. On 25 June 1867, Law was admitted to the General Council and for the next five years was the only woman representative.[8]

Due to the wide variety of philosophies present in the First International, there was conflict from the start. The first objections to Marx's influence came from the mutualists, who opposed communism and statism. However, shortly after Mikhail Bakunin and his followers (called collectivists while in the International) joined in 1868, the First International became polarised into two camps, with Marx and Bakunin as their respective figureheads. Perhaps the clearest differences between the groups emerged over their proposed strategies for achieving their visions of socialism. The anarchists grouped around Bakunin favoured (in Peter Kropotkin's words) "direct economical struggle against capitalism, without interfering in the political parliamentary agitation". Marxist thinking at that time focused on parliamentary activity. For example, when the new German Empire of 1871 introduced male suffrage, many German socialists became active in the Marxist Social Democratic Party of Germany.

Geneva Congress, 1866

Main article: Geneva Congress (1866)

During the Geneva Congress, the Paris group of Proudhonians dominated the discussions. Six Blanquists from Paris came to the Congress to denounce the French representatives as emissaries of Napoleon III, but they were thrown out. A significant decision at this event was the adoption of the eight-hour work day as one of the IWA's fundamental demands.

Lausanne Congress, 1867

Main article: Lausanne Congress (1867)

The Lausanne Congress of the International was held on 2–8 September 1867. Marx was unable to attend as he was working on the final proofs of Das Kapital. The Congress was attended by 64 delegates from Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland. The reports delivered recorded the increased influence of the International on the working classes in various countries. The Proudhonist delegates, primarily from France, influenced the orientation of the International's activity and its programmatic principles. Despite the efforts of the General Council's delegates, they succeeded in revising the resolutions of the Geneva Congress, passing a number of their resolutions, in particular on cooperation and credit.

The Lausanne Congress confirmed the Geneva Congress resolutions on the economic struggle and strikes and passed a resolution on political freedom which emphasised that the social emancipation of workers was inseparable from political liberation. The Proudhonists also failed to seize the leadership of the International as the Congress re-elected the General Council in its former composition and retained London as its seat.

The Lausanne Congress ignored the General Council's resolution and resolved officially to take part in the Congress of the League of Peace and Freedom. However, this Congress was attended by several General Council and some other International members and failed to resolve its political differences.

Brussels Congress, 1868

Main article: Brussels Congress (1868)

The Brussels Congress of the International in 1868 approved Marx's tactics in regard to the League, opposing official affiliation to the League, but calling upon the working class to combine efforts with all progressive anti-military forces.

Basel Congress, 1869

Main article: Basel Congress (1869)

International Workingmen's Association Basel section banner (photo taken at now defunct Museum of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in Moscow, Soviet Union

The Basel Congress took place on 6–12 September 1869. According to Yuri Mikhailovich Steklov's account:[9]

Seventy-five delegates assembled: from Great Britain, the 6 members of the General Council, Applegarth, Eccarius, Cowell Stepney, Lessner, Lucraft, and Jung; from France, which sent 26 delegates, among whom we may mention Dereure, Landrin, Chémalé, Murat, Aubry, Tolain, A. Richard, Palix, Varlin, and Bakunin: Belgium sent 5 delegates, among whom were Hins, Brismée, and De Paepe; Austria 2 delegates, Neumayer and Oberwinder; Germany sent 10 delegates, among whom were Becker, Liebknecht, Rittinghausen, and Hess; Switzerland had 22 representatives, among whom were Burkly, Greulich, Fritz Robert, Guillaume, Schwitzguébel, and Perret; Italy sent but one delegate, Caporusso; from Spain there came Farga-Pellicer and Sentinon; and the United States of America was represented by Cameron. Jung was elected chairman of the congress.

The conference was mainly noted for the confrontation between the Proudhonist mutualists and the collectivist position, defended by Marx's envoy for the General Council and Bakunin both. However, the Belgian socialist de Paepe played a decisive role in bringing the Belgian delegation across to the collectivist side and isolating the mainly French Proudhonists.

Hague Congress, 1872

Main article: Hague Congress (1872)

The fifth Congress of the IWA was held in early September 1872 in The Hague, the Netherlands. After the Paris Commune (1871), Bakunin characterised Marx's ideas as authoritarian and argued that if a Marxist party came to power its leaders would end up as bad as the ruling class they had fought against (notably in his Statism and Anarchy). In 1872, the conflict in the First International climaxed with a final split between the two groups at the Hague Congress. This clash is often cited as the origin of the long-running conflict between anarchists and Marxists.

The Hague Congress was notable for the attempted expulsion of Bakunin and Guillaume and for the decision to relocate the General Council to New York City. The main resolutions passed centred on committing the International to building political parties, aimed at capturing state power as an indispensable condition for socialist transformation.

After 1872: two First Internationals

From then on, the Marxist and anarchist currents of socialism had distinct organisations, at various points including rival internationals.

This split is sometimes called the "red" and "black" divide, red referring to the Marxists and black referring to the anarchists. Otto von Bismarck remarked upon hearing of the split at the First International that "[c]rowned heads, wealth and privilege may well tremble should ever again the Black and Red unite!".[10]

The anarchist wing of the First International held a separate congress in September 1872 at St. Imier, Switzerland. The anarchists rejected the claim that Bakunin and Guillaume had been expelled and repudiated The Hague Congress as unrepresentative and improperly conducted. Over two days on 15–16 September 1872 at Saint-Imier, they declared themselves to be the true heirs of the International (see Anarchist St. Imier International).

Bakunin's programme was adopted, Marx was implicitly excluded and the anarchist First International ran until 1877, with some early growth in areas like Egypt and Turkey.

The sixth Congress of the Marxist wing of the International was held in Geneva in September 1873, but it was generally considered to be a failure. The Marxist wing hobbled on until it disbanded three years later at the 1876 Philadelphia conference. Attempts to revive the organisation over the next five years failed.

Since scholarship on the International is heavily shaped by different assessments of the importance and the effects of the Marx–Bakunin conflict, different accounts emphasise different wings of the International and give different dates of its final closure (1876 or 1877).

The Second International was established in 1889 as a successor. Both anarchists and Marxists were involved in the new body in its early years.

The International Working People's Association (the so-called Black International), an anarchist International, appeared in 1881, was mainly influential in the United States and Mexico and gradually disappeared after the late 1880s.

At a congress in Berlin in 1922, the anarcho-syndicalists decided to re-found the First International as the International Workers' Association, which still exists.

See also

• Organized labour portal
• Anarchism portal
• Communism portal
• Socialism portal

St. Martin's Hall

Karl Marx (1818–1883)

Mikhail Bakunin (1814–1876)

• International Workingmen's Association in America
• Second International and Socialist International
• Third International (Comintern)
• Fourth International and Trotskyist internationals
• Fifth International
• International Working People's Association
• International Workers Association
• International Anarchist Congresses
• List of left-wing internationals
• The Internationale
• George Odger, radical British trade unionist and reformer, president of the International
• Victor Considérant, a utopian socialist and member of the International
• Alfred Walton, radical British reformer and member of the International
• Group of Narodnik Socialists
• Vorbote, the monthly central organ of the German section of the First International.


1. "Dictionary of politics: selected American and foreign political and legal terms". Walter John Raymond. p. 85. Brunswick Publishing Corp. 1992. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
2. "Journal Officiel", May 29, 1871 (official journal of IWA).
3. Payne, Robert (1968). "Marx: A Biography". Simon and Schuster: New York. p. 372.
4. Saul K. Padover (ed. and trans.), "Introduction: Marx's Role in the First International," in Karl Marx, The Karl Marx Library, Volume 3: On the First International. Saul K. Padover, ed. and trans. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1971; pg. xiv.
5. F. M. Leventhal, Respectable Radical: George Howell and Victorian Working Class Politics. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1971; p. ???
6. José Luis Rubio, Las internacionales obreras en América. Madrid: 1971; p. 40.
7. F. M. Leventhal. Respectable Radical. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson 1971.
8. Fauré, Christine (4 July 2013). Political and Historical Encyclopaedia of Women. Routledge. pp. 345–346. ISBN 978-1-135-45691-7. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
9. G. M. Stekloff, History of the First International, Chapter 10 The Basle Conference.
10. As cited in Lilley, Sasha (2011). Capital and Its Discontents: Conversations with Radical Thinkers in a Time of Tumult. Fernwood Publishing. p. 22. ISBN 1604865326.

Further Reading

Primary sources

• Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe, Akademie-Verlag Berlin, vols. I/20-22: new edition of the minutes of the General Council of the International.
• International Working Men's Association, Resolutions of the Congress of Geneva, 1866, and the Congress of Brussels, 1868. London: Westminster Printing Co., n.d. [1868].
• The General Council of the First International, 1864-1866: The London Conference, 1865. Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, n.d. [c. 1963].
• The General Council of the First International, 1866-1868: Minutes. Moscow: Progress Publishers, n.d. [c. 1964].
• The General Council of the First International, 1868-1870: Minutes. Moscow: Progress Publishers, n.d.
• The General Council of the First International, 1870-1871: Minutes. Moscow: Progress Publishers, n.d.
• The General Council of the First International, 1871-1872: Minutes. Moscow: Progress Publishers, n.d.
• The Hague Congress of the First International, September 2–7, 1872: Minutes and Documents. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976.
• The Hague Congress of the First International, September 2–7, 1872: Reports and Letters. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1978.

Secondary sources

• Samuel Bernstein, "The First International and the Great Powers," Science and Society, vol. 16, no. 3 (Summer 1952), pp. 247–272. In JSTOR.
• Samuel Bernstein, The First International in America. New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1962.
• Samuel Bernstein, "The First International on the Eve of the Paris Commune," Science and Society, vol. 5, no. 1 (Winter 1941), pp. 24–42. In JSTOR.
• René Berthier, Social-Democracy and Anarchism: In the International Workers Association, 1864-1877. London: Merlin Press, 2015.
• Alex Blonna, Marxism and Anarchist Collectivism in the International Workingman's Association, 1864-1872. M.A. thesis. California State University, Chico, 1977.
• Henry Collins and Chimen Abramsky, Karl Marx and the British Labour Movement: Years of the First International. London: Macmillan, 1965.
• Henryk Katz, The Emancipation of Labor: A History of the First International. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992.
• Roger Morgan, The German Social Democrats and the First International, 1864-1872. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1965.
• G. M. Stekloff, History of the First International. Eden Paul and Cedar Paul (trans.). New York: International Publishers, 1928.

External links

• History of the International Workingmen's Association at
• Libertarian Communist Library
• International Working Men's Association (IWMA) Archive Marx's Inaugural Address
• Secret Societies and the First International by Boris Nicolaevsky
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Tue May 19, 2020 4:55 am

Robert Owen
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/18/20

Robert Owen
Owen, aged about 50, by William Henry Brooke
Born: 14 May 1771, Newtown, Montgomeryshire, Wales
Died: 17 November 1858 (aged 87), Newtown, Montgomeryshire, Wales
Occupation: co-operator; social reformer, textile mill co-owner; philanthropic capitalist
Spouse(s): Ann (or Anne) Caroline Dale
Children: Jackson Dale (b. 1799); Robert Dale (b. 1801); William (b. 1802); Ann (or Anne) Caroline (b. 1805); Jane Dale (b. 1805); David Dale (b. 1807); Richard Dale (b. 1809); Mary (b. 1810)
Parent(s): Robert Owen and Anne (Williams) Owen[1]

Robert Owen (/ˈoʊɪn/; 14 May 1771 – 17 November 1858), a Welsh textile manufacturer, philanthropist and social reformer, was one founder of utopian socialism and the cooperative movement. He is known for efforts to improve factory working conditions for his workers and promote experimental socialistic communities. In the early 1800s, he became wealthy as an investor and eventual manager of a large textile mill at New Lanark, Scotland. He had initially trained as a draper in Stamford, Lincolnshire and worked in London before relocating aged 18 to Manchester and becoming a textile manufacturer. In 1824, Owen travelled to America and invested most of his fortune in an experimental socialistic community at New Harmony, Indiana, a preliminary model for Owen's utopian society. It lasted about two years; other Owenite utopian communities met similar fates. In 1828, Owen returned to settle in London, where he continued to champion the working class, led the development of cooperatives and the trade union movement, and supported the passage of child labour laws and free co-educational schools.

Early life and education

Baptism record of Robert Owen in the Newtown Parish Register

Robert Owen was born in Newtown, a small market town in Montgomeryshire, Wales, on 14 May 1771, to Anne (Williams) and Robert Owen. His father was a saddler, ironmonger and local postmaster; his mother was the daughter of a Newtown farming family. Young Robert was the sixth of the family's seven children, two of whom died at a young age. His surviving siblings were William, Anne, John and Richard.[1][2]

Owen received little formal education, but he was an avid reader. He left school at the age of ten to be apprenticed to a Stamford, Lincolnshire, draper for four years. He also worked in London drapery shops in his teens.[3][4] At about the age of 18, Owen moved to Manchester, where he spent the next twelve years of his life, employed initially at Satterfield's Drapery in Saint Ann's Square.[5][6]

While in Manchester, Owen borrowed £100 from his brother William, so as to enter into a partnership to make spinning mules, a new invention for spinning cotton thread, but exchanged his business share within a few months for six spinning mules that he worked in rented factory space.[7] In 1792, when Owen was about 21 years old, mill-owner Peter Drinkwater made him manager of the Piccadilly Mill at Manchester. However, after two years with Drinkwater, Owen voluntarily gave up a contracted promise of partnership, left the company, and went into partnership with other entrepreneurs to establish and later manage the Chorlton Twist Mills in Chorlton-on-Medlock.[8][9]

By the early 1790s, Owen's entrepreneurial spirit, management skills and progressive moral views were emerging. In 1793, he was elected a member of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society,[9] where the ideas of the Enlightenment were discussed. He also became a committee member of the Manchester Board of Health, instigated principally by Thomas Percival to press for improvements in the health and working conditions of factory workers.[10][11]

Marriage and family

Robert Owen's house in New Lanark, Scotland.

On a visit to Scotland, Owen met and fell in love with Ann (or Anne) Caroline Dale, daughter of David Dale, a Glasgow philanthropist and the proprietor of the large New Lanark Mills. After their marriage on 30 September 1799, the Owens set up home in New Lanark, but later moved to Braxfield, Scotland.[9][12][13]

Robert and Caroline Owen had eight children, the first of whom died in infancy. Their seven survivors were four sons and three daughters: Robert Dale (1801–1877), William (1802–1842), Ann (or Anne) Caroline (1805–1831), Jane Dale (1805–1861), David Dale (1807–1860), Richard Dale (1809–1890) and Mary (1810–1832).[9][4][14] Owen's four sons, Robert Dale, William, David Dale and Richard, and his daughter Jane Dale, followed their father to the United States, becoming US citizens and permanent residents in New Harmony, Indiana. Owen's wife Caroline and two of their daughters, Anne Caroline and Mary, remained in Britain, where they died in the 1830s.[15][16]

New Lanark mill

In July 1799 Owen and his partners bought the New Lanark mill from David Dale, and Owen became its manager in January 1800.[9][12] Encouraged by his management success in Manchester, Owen hoped to conduct the New Lanark mill on higher principles than purely commercial ones. It had been established in 1785 by David Dale and Richard Arkwright. Its water power provided by the falls of the River Clyde turned its cotton-spinning operation into one of Britain's largest. About 2,000 individuals were involved, 500 of them children brought to the mill at the age of five or six from the poorhouses and charities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Dale, known for his benevolence, treated the children well, but the general condition of New Lanark residents was unsatisfactory, despite efforts by Dale and his son-in-law Owen to improve their workers' lives.[17][18]

Many of the workers were from the lowest social levels: theft, drunkenness and other vices were common and education and sanitation neglected. Most families lived in one room. More respected people rejected the long hours and demoralising drudgery of the mills.[19]

Truck system of payment by order of Robert Owen and Benj Woolfield, National Equitable Labour Exchange, July 22nd 1833.

Until a series of Truck Acts (1831–1887) required employers to pay their employees in common currency, many operated a truck system, paying workers wholly or in part with tokens that had no monetary value outside the mill owner's "truck shop", which charged high prices for shoddy goods.[20] Unlike others, Owen's truck store offered goods at prices only slightly above their wholesale cost,[12] passing on the savings from bulk purchases to his customers and placing alcohol sales under strict supervision. These principles became the basis for Britain's Co-operative shops, some of which continue in altered forms to trade today.[10][21]

Philosophy and influence

Owen tested his social and economic ideas at New Lanark, where he won his workers' confidence and continued to have success through the improved efficiency at the mill. The community also earned an international reputation. Social reformers, statesmen and royalty, including the future Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, visited New Lanark to study its methods.[12][22] The opinions of many such visitors were favourable.[23]

Owen's biggest success was in support of youth education and early child care. As a pioneer in Britain, notably Scotland, Owen provided an alternative to the "normal authoritarian approach to child education".[24] The manners of children brought up under his system were more graceful, genial and unconstrained; health, plenty and contentment prevailed; drunkenness was almost unknown and illegitimacy extremely rare. Owen's relations with his workers remained excellent and operations at the mill proceeded smoothly and regularly as a commercial success.[19][12]

However, some of Owen's schemes displeased his partners, forcing him to arrange for other investors to buy his share of the business in 1813, for the equivalent of US $800,000.[12] The new investors, who included Jeremy Bentham and the well-known Quaker William Allen, were content to accept a £5,000 return on their capital.[19] The ownership change also provided Owen with a chance to broaden his philanthropy, advocating improvements in workers' rights and child labour laws, and free education for children.[12]

In 1813 Owen authored and published A New View of Society, or Essays on the Principle of the Formation of the Human Character, the first of four essays he wrote to explain the principles behind his philosophy of socialistic reform.[25] Owen had originally been a follower of the classical liberal, utilitarian Jeremy Bentham, who believed that free markets, in particular the right of workers to move and choose their employers, would release workers from the excessive power of capitalists. However, Owen developed his own, pro-socialist outlook. In addition, Owen as a deist, criticised organised religion, including the Church of England, and developed a belief system of his own.[26][27]

Owen felt that human character is formed by conditions over which individuals have no control. Thus individuals could not be praised or blamed for their behaviour or situation in life. This principle led Owen to conclude that the correct formation of people's characters called for placing them under proper environmental influences – physical, moral and social – from their earliest years. These notions of inherent irresponsibility in humans and the effect of early influences on an individual's character formed the basis of Owen's system of education and social reform.[28]

Relying on his own observations, experiences and thoughts, Owen saw his view of human nature as original and "the most basic and necessary constituent in an evolving science of society".[29] His philosophy was influenced by Sir Isaac Newton's views on natural law, and his views resembled those of Plato, Denis Diderot, Claude Adrien Helvétius, William Godwin, John Locke, James Mill, and Jeremy Bentham, among others. Owen did not have the direct influence of Enlightenment philosophers.[29][30]

Owen's work at New Lanark continued to have significance in Britain and continental Europe. He was a "pioneer in factory reform, the father of distributive cooperation, and the founder of nursery schools."[4] His schemes for educating his workers included opening an Institute for the Formation of Character at New Lanark in 1818. This and other programmes at New Lanark provided free education from infancy to adulthood.[25][9] In addition, he zealously supported factory legislation that culminated in the Cotton Mills and Factories Act of 1819. Owen also had interviews and communications with leading members of the British government, including its premier, Robert Banks Jenkinson, Lord Liverpool. He also met many of the rulers and leading statesmen of Europe.[31][32]

Owen adopted new principles to raise the standard of goods his workers produced. A cube with faces painted in different colours was installed above each machinist's workplace. The colour of the face showed to all who saw it the quality and quantity of goods the worker completed. The intention was to encourage workers to do their best. Although it was no great incentive in itself, conditions at New Lanark for workers and their families were idyllic for the time.[32][31]

Eight-hour day

Owen raised the demand for an eight-hour day in 1810 and set about instituting the policy at New Lanark. By 1817 he had formulated the goal of an eight-hour workday and the slogan "eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest."[33]

Models for socialism (1817)

A statue commemorating Owen in Manchester, in front of The Co-operative Bank.

Owen embraced socialism in 1817, a turning point in his life, and began pursuing what he described as a "New View of Society".[18] He outlined his position in a report to the committee of the House of Commons on the country's Poor Laws.[34] In addition, as misery and trade stagnation after the Napoleonic Wars captured national attention, the government invited Owen to offer advice on what to do to alleviate the industrial concerns. Although Owen attributed the immediate misery to the wars, he argued that the underlying cause was competition of human labour with machinery, and recommended setting up self-sufficient communities.[4]

Owen proposed that communities of some 1,200 people should settle on land from 1,000 to 1,500 acres (405 to 607 ha), all living in one building with a public kitchen and dining halls. (The proposed size is likely to have been influenced by the size of the village of New Lanark.) Owen also proposed that each family have its own private apartments and the responsibility for the care of its children up to the age of three. Thereafter children would be raised by the community, but their parents would have access to them at mealtimes and on other occasions. Owen further suggested that such communities be established by individuals, parishes, counties, or other governmental units. In each case there would be effective supervision by qualified persons. Work and enjoyment of its results should be experienced communally. Owen believed his idea would be the best way to reorganise society in general,[19][31] and called his vision the "New Moral World."[25]

Owen's utopian model changed little in his lifetime. His developed model envisaged an association of 500–3,000 people as the optimum for a working community. While mainly agricultural, it would possess the best machinery, offer varied employment, and as far as possible be self-contained. Owen went on to explain that as such communities proliferated, "unions of them federatively united shall be formed in circle of tens, hundreds and thousands", linked by common interest.[35]

Arguments against Owen and his answers

Owen always tried to spread his ideas to wider communities. First, he started publishing his ideas in newspapers. Owen then sent such newspapers widely to parliamentarians, politicians and other important people. These articles spurred the first negative reactions to his ideas.

Opponents thought that Owen's plans would result in an uncontrollable increase in population and poverty. The other main criticism was that Owen's plan and the common use of everything would essentially make the country one large workshop. William Hone claimed that Owen saw people as plants unravelled plants from their roots, and that he wanted to plant them in rectangles. Another commentator accused Owen of wanting to imprison people in workshops like barracks and eradicate their personal independence.

Owen's opponents had begun to regard him as an enemy of religion. His influence in ruling circles, which he had hoped would help him to accomplish his "plan", started diminishing and rumours of his lack of religious conviction spread. Owen believed that without a change in the character of individuals and the environment in which they live, they would remain hostile to those around them. As long as such a social order continued, the positive aspects of Christianity could never be put into practice. Owen also considered it necessary to give people more freedom in order to improve the situation of the poor and working classes. Unless people were better educated, unless they gained more useful information and had permanent employment, they were a danger to the security of the state when given more freedom than the British Constitution did at the time. Without making any changes in the national institutions, he believed that even reorganizing the working classes would bring great benefits. So he opposed the views of radicals seeking to change in the public mentality by expanding voting rights.[36]

Other notable critics of Owen include Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, who viewed his work as a precursor to their own.[37] Their criticism had several major points but focused on differentiating their ideas for a socialist state from Owen's utopian societies.[38] The first major argument was that Owen's plan, to create a model socialist utopia to coexist with contemporary society and prove its superiority over time, was insufficient to create a new society.[38] They argued that a socialist utopia could only be achieved by revolution, because the bourgeois society would be able to deflect and block peaceful attempts.[38] Marx and Engels' next critique was that Owen's society was not realistic to human nature.[38] Owen believed that once people's basic needs are fulfilled, they would not desire anything more and be content.[38] Marx and Engels argued that this went against human nature and people would not ever be happy with complete equality in a static society, and so their design for a socialist society calls for continued economic growth under a new system to avoid this.[38] Lastly, they argued that Owen's process of developing his society was too abstract and not grounded in any data or real-world observations.[38] This approach was viewed by Marx and Engels as unscientific and they believed it made the ideas less marketable and the plan less likely to succeed if actually enacted.[38] Instead they developed their ideas for revolution by using a more scientific analysis of existing societies.[38]

Community experiments

New Moral World, Owen's envisioned successor of New Harmony. Owenites fired bricks to build it, but it was never constructed.

To test the viability of his ideas for self-sufficient working communities, Owen began experimenting in communal living in America in 1825. Among the most famous efforts was the one set up at New Harmony, Indiana.[4] Of the 130 identifiable communitarian experiments in America before the American Civil War, at least 16 were Owenite or Owenite-influenced. New Harmony was Owen's earliest and most ambitious of these.[23]

Owen and his son William sailed to America in October 1824 to establish an experimental community in Indiana.[39] In January 1825 Owen used a portion of his own funds to purchase an existing town of 180 buildings and several thousand acres of land along the Wabash River in Indiana. George Rapp's Harmony Society, the religious group that owned the property and had founded the communal village of Harmony (or Harmonie) on the site in 1814, decided in 1824 to relocate to Pennsylvania. Owen renamed it New Harmony and made the village his preliminary model for a utopian community.[25][40][41]

Owen sought support for his socialist vision among American thinkers, reformers, intellectuals and public statesmen. On 25 February and 7 March 1825, Owen gave addresses in the U.S. House of Representatives to the U.S. Congress and others in the US government, outlining his vision for the utopian community at New Harmony, and his socialist beliefs.[25][42] The audience for his ideas included three former U.S. presidents – John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison) – as well as the outgoing US President James Monroe, and the President-elect, John Quincy Adams.[43] His meetings were perhaps the first discussions of socialism in the Americas; they were certainly a big step towards discussion it in the United States. Owenism, among the first socialist ideologies active in the United States, can be seen as an instigator of the modern socialist movement.[20][19]

Owen convinced William Maclure, a wealthy Scottish scientist and philanthropist living in Philadelphia to join him at New Harmony and become his financial partner. Maclure's involvement went on to attract scientists, educators and artists such as Thomas Say, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, and Madame Marie Duclos Fretageot. These helped to turn the New Harmony community into a centre for educational reform, scientific research and artistic expression.[25][44]

Although Owen sought to build a "Village of Unity and Mutual Cooperation" south of town, his grand plan was never fully realised, and Owen returned to Britain to continue his work. During his long absences from New Harmony, Owen left the experiment under the day-to-day management of his sons, Robert Dale Owen and William Owen, and his business partner, Maclure. However, New Harmony proved to be an economic failure, lasting about two years, although it had attracted over a thousand residents by the end of its first year. The socialistic society was dissolved in 1827, but many of its scientists, educators, artists and other inhabitants, including Owen's four sons, Robert Dale, William, David Dale, and Richard Dale Owen, and his daughter Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy, remained at New Harmony after the experiment ended.[9][25][44]

Other utopian experiments in the United States included communal settlements at Blue Spring, near Bloomington, Indiana, at Yellow Springs, Ohio, and at Forestville Commonwealth at Earlton, New York, as well as other projects in New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. Nearly all of these had ended before New Harmony was dissolved in April 1827.[45][46]

Owen's utopian communities attracted a mix of people, many with the highest aims. They included vagrants, adventurers and other reform-minded enthusiasts. In the words of Owen's son David Dale Owen, they attracted "a heterogeneous collection of Radicals", "enthusiastic devotees to principle," and "honest latitudinarians, and lazy theorists," with "a sprinkling of unprincipled sharpers thrown in."[47]

Josiah Warren, a participant at New Harmony, asserted that it was doomed to failure for lack of individual sovereignty and personal property. In describing the community, Warren explained: "We had a world in miniature — we had enacted the French revolution over again with despairing hearts instead of corpses as a result.... It appeared that it was nature's own inherent law of diversity that had conquered us... our "united interests" were directly at war with the individualities of persons and circumstances and the instinct of self-preservation...."[48] Warren's observations on the reasons for the community's failure led to the development of American individualist anarchism, of which he was its original theorist.[49] Some historians have traced the demise of New Harmony to a series of disagreements among its members.[50]

Social experiments also began in Scotland in 1825, when Abram Combe, an Owenite, attempted a utopian experiment at Orbiston, near Glasgow, but this failed after about two years.[51] In the 1830s, additional experiments in socialistic cooperatives were made in Ireland and Britain, the most important being at Ralahine, established in 1831 in County Clare, Ireland, and at Tytherley, begun in 1839 in Hampshire, England. The former proved a remarkable success for three-and-a-half years until the proprietor, having ruined himself by gambling, had to sell his interest. Tytherley, known as Harmony Hall or Queenwood College, was designed by the architect Joseph Hansom.[52] This also failed. Another social experiment, Manea Colony in the Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire, launched in the late 1830s by William Hodson, likewise an Owenite, but it failed in a couple of years and Hodson emigrated to the United States. The Manea Colony site has been excavated by Cambridge Archaeology Unit (CAU) based at the University of Cambridge.[53]

Return to Britain

Portrait of Owen by John Cranch, 1845

Although Owen made further brief visits to the United States, London became his permanent home and the centre of his work in 1828. After extended friction with William Allen and some other business partners, Owen relinquished all connections with New Lanark.[9][50] He is often quoted in a comment by Allen at the time, "All the world is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer".[54] Having invested most of his fortune in the failed New Harmony communal experiment, Owen was no longer a wealthy capitalist. However, he remained the head of a vigorous propaganda effort to promote industrial equality, free education for children and adequate living conditions in factory towns, while delivering lectures in Europe and publishing a weekly newspaper to gain support for his ideas.[50]

In 1832 Owen opened the National Equitable Labour Exchange system,[9][55] a time-based currency in which the exchange of goods was effected by means of labour notes; this system superseded the usual means of exchange and middlemen. The London exchange continued until 1833, a Birmingham branch operating for just a few months until July 1833.[56] Owen also became involved in trade unionism, briefly leading the Grand National Consolidated Trade Union (GNCTU) before its collapse in 1834.[9]

Socialism first became current in British terminology in discussions of the Association of all Classes of all Nations, which Owen formed in 1835 and served as its initial leader.[57][58] Owen's secular views also gained enough influence among the working classes to cause the Westminster Review to comment in 1839 that his principles were the creed of many of them.[59][31] However, by 1846, the only lasting result of Owen's agitation for social change, carried on through public meetings, pamphlets, periodicals, and occasional treatises, remained the Co-operative movement, and for a time even that seemed to have collapsed.[19][31][20]

Role in spiritualism

Tomb of Robert Owen, Newtown, Powys

In 1817, Owen publicly claimed that all religions were false.[60] In 1854, aged 83, Owen converted to spiritualism after a series of sittings with Maria B. Hayden, an American medium credited with introducing spiritualism to England. He made a public profession of his new faith in his publication The Rational Quarterly Review and in a pamphlet, The future of the Human race; or great glorious and future revolution to be effected through the agency of departed spirits of good and superior men and women.[61]

Owen claimed to have had medium contact with spirits of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and others. He explained that the purpose of these was to change "the present, false, disunited and miserable state of human existence, for a true, united and happy state... to prepare the world for universal peace, and to infuse into all the spirit of charity, forbearance and love."[62]

Spiritualists claimed after Owen's death that his spirit had dictated to the medium Emma Hardinge Britten in 1871 the "Seven Principles of Spiritualism", used by their National Union as "the basis of its religious philosophy".[63]

Later years

As Owen grew older and more radical in his views, his influence began to decline.[50] Owen published his memoirs, The Life of Robert Owen, in 1857, a year before his death.[9]

Death and legacy

Crowds of locals gather to commemorate Robert Owen at his grave in Newtown, Powys, in the 1890s

Although he had spent most of his life in England and Scotland, Owen returned to his native village of Newtown at the end of his life. He died there on 17 November 1858 and was buried there on 21 November. He died penniless apart from an annual income drawn from a trust established by his sons in 1844.[9][4][64]

Owen as a reformer, philanthropist, community builder, and spiritualist who spent his life seeking to improve the lives of others. An advocate of the working class, he improved working conditions for factory workers, which he demonstrated at New Lanark, Scotland, became a leader in trade unionism, promoted social equality through his experimental utopian communities, and supported the passage of child labour laws and free education for children.[50] In these reforms he was ahead of his time. He envisioned a communal society that others could consider and apply as they wished.[65] In Revolution in the Mind and Practice of the Human Race (1849), he went on to say that character is formed by a combination of Nature or God and the circumstances of the individual's experience.[66] Citing beneficial results at New Lanark, Scotland, during 30 years of work there, Owen concluded that a person's "character is not made by, but for the individual,"[67] and that nature and society are responsible for each person's character and conduct.[68]

Owen's agitation for social change, along with the work of the Owenites and of his own children, helped to bring lasting social reforms in women's and workers' rights, establish free public libraries and museums, child care and public, co-educational schools, and pre-Marxian communism, and develop the Co-operative and trade union movements. New Harmony, Indiana, and New Lanark, Scotland, two towns with which he is closely associated, remain as reminders of his efforts.[25][69]

Owen's legacy of public service continued with his four sons, Robert Dale, William, David Dale, and Richard Dale, and his daughter, Jane, who followed him to America to live at New Harmony, Indiana:

• Robert Dale Owen (1801–1877), an able exponent of his father's doctrines, managed the New Harmony community after his father returned to Britain in 1825. He wrote articles and co-edited with Frances Wright the New-Harmony Gazette in the late 1820s in Indiana and the Free Enquirer in the 1830s in New York City. Owen returned to New Harmony in 1833 and became active in Indiana politics. He was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives (1836–1839 and 1851–1853) and U.S. House of Representatives (1843–1847), and was appointed chargé d'affaires in Naples in 1853–1858. While serving as a member of Congress, he drafted and helped to secure passage of a bill founding the Smithsonian Institution in 1846. He was elected a delegate to the Indiana Constitutional Convention in 1850,[4][70][71][72] and argued in support of widows and married women's property and divorce rights. He also favoured legislation for Indiana's tax-supported public school system.[26] Like his father, he believed in spiritualism, authoring two books on the subject: Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World (1859) and The Debatable Land Between this World and the Next (1872).[15][73]
• William Owen (1802–1842) moved to the United States with his father in 1824. His business skill, notably his knowledge of cotton-goods manufacturing, allowed him to remain at New Harmony after his father returned to Scotland, and serve as adviser to the community. He organised New Harmony's Thespian Society in 1827, but died of unknown causes at the age of 40.[16][74][75]
• Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy (1805–1861) arrived in the United States in 1833 and settled in New Harmony. She was a musician and educator who set up a school in her home. In 1835 she married Robert Henry Fauntleroy, a civil engineer from Virginia who lived at New Harmony.[76][77][78]
• David Dale Owen (1807–1860) moved to the United States in 1827 and resided at New Harmony for several years. He trained as a geologist and natural scientist and earned a medical degree. He was appointed a United States geologist in 1839. His work included geological surveys in the Midwest, more specifically the states of Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas, as well as Minnesota Territory. His brother Richard succeeded him as state geologist of Indiana.[79][80]
• Richard Dale Owen (1810–1890) emigrated to the United States in 1827 and joined his siblings at New Harmony. He fought in the Mexican–American War in 1847, taught natural science at Western Military Institute in Tennessee in 1849–1859, and earned a medical degree in 1858. During the American Civil War he was a colonel in the Union army and served as a commandant of Camp Morton, a prisoner-of-war camp for Confederate soldiers at Indianapolis, Indiana. After the war, Owen served as Indiana's second state geologist. In addition, he was a professor at Indiana University and chaired its natural science department in 1864–1879. He helped plan Purdue University and was appointed its first president in 1872–1874, but resigned before its first classes began and resumed teaching at Indiana University. He spent his retirement years on research and writing.[80][81][82]

Honours and tributes

Robert Owen Memorial, next to The Reformers Memorial, Kensal Green Cemetery, London

• The Co-operative Movement erected a monument to Robert Owen in 1902 at his burial site in Newtown, Powys.[4]
• The Welsh people donated a bust of Owen by Welsh sculptor Sir William Goscombe John to the International Labour Office library in Geneva, Switzerland.[4]
Selected published works[edit]
• A New View of Society: Or, Essays on the Formation of Human Character, and the Application of the Principle to Practice (London, 1813). Retitled, A New View of Society: Or, Essays on the Formation of Human Character Preparatory to the Development of a Plan for Gradually Ameliorating the Condition of Mankind, for second edition, 1816
• Observations on the Effect of the Manufacturing System. (London, 1815)
• Report to the Committee of the Association for the Relief of the Manufacturing and Labouring Poor (1817).[83]
• Two Memorials on Behalf of the Working Classes (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 181[84]
• An Address to the Master Manufacturers of Great Britain: On the Present Existing Evils in the Manufacturing System (Bolton, 1819)
• Report to the County of Lanark of a Plan for relieving Public Distress (Glasgow: Glasgow University Press, 1821)
• An Explanation of the Cause of Distress which pervades the civilised parts of the world (London and Paris, 1823)
• An Address to All Classes in the State (London, 1832)
• The Revolution in the Mind and Practice of the Human Race (London, 1849)

Collected works:

• A New View of Society and Other Writings, introduction by G.D.H. Cole (London and New York: J.M. Dent & Sons, E.P. Dutton and Co., 1927)
• A New View of Society and Other Writings, G. Claeys, ed. (London and New York: Penguin Books, 1991)
• The Selected Works of Robert Owen, G. Claeys, ed., 4 vols. (London: Pickering and Chatto, 1993)

Archival collections:

• Robert Owen Collection, National Co-operative Archive, United Kingdom.[85]
• New Harmony, Indiana, Collection, 1814-1884, 1920, 1964, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States[86]
• New Harmony Series III Collection, Workingmen's Institute, New Harmony, Indiana, United States[87]
• Owen family collection, 1826-1967, bulk 1830-1890, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington, Indiana, United States[88]

See also

• Cincinnati Time Store
• José María Arizmendiarrieta
• Labour voucher
• List of Owenite communities in the United States
• Owenstown
• Owenism
• William King


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2. Arthur H. Estabrook (1923). "The Family History of Robert Owen". Indiana Magazine of History. Bloomington: Indiana University. 19 (1): 63 and 69. Retrieved 29 August 2017. See also: Frank Podmore (1907). Robert Owen: A Biography. I. New York: D. Appleton and Company. pp. 2, 4.
3. Estabrook, p. 63; Podmore, pp. 15–17.
4. Sir James Frederick Rees (2007). "Owen, Robert (1771–1858), Utopian Socialist". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 30 August 2017. (online version)
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6. A memorial plaque marks the firm's location."Owen Blue Plaque". 6 February 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
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15. Estabrook, p. 72.
16. Pitzer, "Why New Harmony is World Famous," in Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, p. 11.
17. Estabrook, p. 70.
18. John F. C. Harrison, "Robert Owen's Quest for the New Moral World in America," in Donald E. Pitzer, ed. (1972). Robert Owen's American Legacy: Proceedings of the Robert Owen Bicentennial Conference. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. p. 34. OCLC 578923.
19. cullen, Alex (1891). "Adventures in Socialism New Lanark establishment and Orbiston community". Retrieved 30 August 2018.
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29. Curti, "Robert Owen in American Thought," in Robert Owen's American Legacy, p. 61.
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63. "History of Spiritualism". SNU international. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
64. Leopold, Robert Dale Owen, A Biography, p. 327.
65. Harrison, "Robert Owen's Quest for the New Moral World in America," in Robert Owen's American Legacy, p. 41.
66. Robert Owen (1849). Revolution in the Mind and Practice of the Human Race, or, The Coming Change from Irrationality to Rationality. London: Effingham Wilson. pp. 1 & 9. OCLC 11756751.
67. Owen, Revolution in the Mind and Practice of the Human Race, p. 29. See also: Harrison, "Robert Owen's Quest for the New Moral World in America," in Robert Owen's American Legacy, p. 38.
68. Owen, Revolution in the Mind and Practice of the Human Race, p. 59.
69. Branigin, "Robert Owen's New Harmony" in Robert Owen's American Legacy, pp. 21–23.
70. Estabrook, pp. 72–74.
71. "Owen, Robert Dale (1801–1877)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. U.S. Congress. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
72. "Owen, Robert Dale (1801–1877)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. U.S. Congress. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
73. Pancoast and Lincoln, p. 100.
74. Estabrook, p. 80.
75. Leopold, p. 21.
76. Estabrook, pp. 82–83.
77. Elinor Pancoast and Anne E. Lincoln (1940). The Incorrigible Idealist: Robert Dale Owen in America. Bloomington, Indiana: Principia Press. p. 25. OCLC 2000563.
78. Josephine Mirabella Elliott (December 1964). "The Owen Family Papers". Indiana Magazine of History. Bloomington: Indiana University. 60 (4): 343. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
79. Estabrook, pp. 88–89.
80. Leopold, Robert Dale Owen, A Biography, pp. 50–51.
81. Elliott, pp. 343–44.
82. Estabrook, pp. 94–95.
83. Harrison, "Robert Owen's Quest for the New Moral World in America," in Robert Owen's American Legacy, p. 32
84. Robert Owen (1818). Two Memorials Behalf of the Working Classes. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown.
85. The collection includes papers and letters as well as pamphlets and books. See "National Co-operative Archive". Archived from the original on 3 October 2006. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
86. The collection includes a letter describing Owen's views and documents related to the New Harmony community. See "New Harmony Collection, 1814–1884, Collection Guide" (PDF). Indiana Historical Society. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
87. Bound records of the New Harmony community. See "New Harmony Series II". Workingmen's Institute. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
88. The collection includes the correspondence, speeches, and publications of Robert Owens and his descendants. See "Owen family collection, 1826-1967, bulk 1830-1890". Archives Online at Indiana University. Retrieved 30 April 2020.


• "1828". Retrieved 13 July 2009.
• Albjerg, Victor Lincoln (March 1946). Richard Owen: Scotland 1810, Indiana 1890. The Archives of Purdue, no. 2. Lafayette, Indiana.
• Arndt, Karl J. R. (1965). George Rapp's Harmony Society 1785–1847. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
• Baldus, Heather (Spring 2014). "A Broad Stroke: New Harmony's Artistic Legacy". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 22–29.
• Bryden, Amanda S., and Connie A. Weinzapfel (Spring 2014). "Editors' Page: 'That Wonder of the West'". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 2–3.
• Clayton, Joseph (1908). Robert Owen: Pioneer of Social Reforms. London: A. C. Fifield.
• Dowd, Douglas F. "Robert Owen". Encyclopædia Britannica (Online ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
• Elliott, Josephine Mirabella (December 1964). "The Owen Family Papers". Indiana Magazine of History. Bloomington: Indiana University. 60 (4): 331–52. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
• Estabrook, Arthur H. (1923). "The Family History of Robert Owen". Indiana Magazine of History. Bloomington: Indiana University. 19 (1): 63–101. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
• Gugin, Linda C., and James E. St. Clair, eds. (2015). Indiana's 200: The People Who Shaped the Hoosier State. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press. pp. 269–70. ISBN 978-0-87195-387-2.
• Harvey, Rowland Hill. Robert Owen: Social Idealist. Cambridge, Massachusetts: University of California. OCLC 774894.
• "History of Spiritualism". SNU international. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
• Leopold, Richard William (1940). Robert Dale Owen, A Biography. Harvard Historical Studies. 45. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. OCLC 774894.
• "New Harmony Collection, 1814-1884, Collection Guide" (PDF). Indiana Historical Society. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
• "New Harmony Series II". Workingmen's Institute. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
• Owen, Robert (1840). Manifesto of Robert Owen: The discoverer, founder, and promulgator, of the rational system of society, and of the rational religion.
• Owen, Robert (1849). Revolution in the Mind and Practice of the Human Race, or, The Coming Change from Irrationality to Rationality. London: Effingham Wilson. OCLC 11756751.
• "Owen, Robert Dale (1801–1877)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. U.S. Congress. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
• Owen, Robert Dale (1874). Threading My Way, Twenty-seven Years of Autobiography. New York; London: G. W. Carleton and company: Trubner and Company.
• Pancoast, Elinor, and Anne E. Lincoln (1940). The Incorrigible Idealist: Robert Dale Owen in America. Bloomington, Indiana: Principia Press. OCLC 2000563.
• Pitzer, Donald E. (Spring 2014). "Why New Harmony is World Famous". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 4–15.
• Pitzer, Donald E., ed. Robert Owen's American Legacy: Proceedings of the Robert Owen Bicentennial Conference. Indiana Historical Society. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
• Rokicki, Ryan (Spring 2014). "Science in Utopia: New Harmony's Naturalistic Legacy". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 50–55.
• Podmore, Frank (1907). Robert Owen: A Biography. New York: D. Appleton and Company.
• Rees, Sir James Frederick (2007). "Owen, Robert (1771–1858), Utopian Socialist". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 30 August 2017. (online version)
• "Robert Owen Blue Plaque". 6 February 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
• "Robert Owen Timeline". Robert Owen Museum. 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
• "ROC–Robert Owen". National Co-operative Archive. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
• Royle, Edward (1998). Robert Owen and the Commencement of the Millennium. Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-5426-5.
• Schuette, Kent (Spring 2014). "New Harmony, Indiana: Three Great Community Experiments". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 44–49.
• Spence, Lewis (2003). Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. Kessinger Publishing Company. p. 679.
• "Who said this: "all strange but thee and Me"". Literature Network Forums. Retrieved 13 July 2009.

Further reading

• Owen, Robert (1920). The Life of Robert Owen. London: G. Bell and Sons.

Biographies of Owen

• A. J. Booth, Robert Owen, the Founder of Socialism in England (London, 1869)
• G. D. H. Cole, Life of Robert Owen (London, Ernest Benn Ltd., 1925)
• Lloyd Jones. The Life, Times, and Labours of Robert Owen (London, 1889).
• A. L. Morton, The Life and Ideas of Robert Owen (New York, International Publishers, 1969)
• F. A. Packard, Life of Robert Owen (Philadelphia: Ashmead & Evans, 1866)
• Frank Podmore, Robert Owen: A Biography (London: Hutchinson and Company, 1906).
• David Santilli, Life Of the Mill Man (London, B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1987)
• William Lucas Sargant, Robert Owen and his social philosophy (London, 1860)
• Richard Tames, Radicals, Railways & Reform (London, B.T. Batsford Ltd, 1986)

Other works about Owen

• Arthur Bestor, Backwoods Utopias (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1950, second edition, 1970).
• Gregory Claeys, Citizens and Saints. Politics and Anti-Politics in Early British Socialism (Cambridge University Press, 1989)
• Gregory Claeys, Machinery, Money and the Millennium: From Moral Economy to Socialism 1815–1860 (Princeton University Press, 1987)
• R. E. Davies, The Life of Robert Owen, Philanthropist and Social Reformer, An Appreciation (Robert Sutton, 1907)
• R. A. Davis and F. J. O'Hagan, Robert Owen (London: Continuum Press, 2010)
• E. Dolleans, Robert Owen (Paris, 1905).
• I. Donnachie, Robert Owen. Owen of New Lanark and New Harmony (2000)
• Auguste Marie Fabre, Un Socialiste Pratique, Robert Owen (Nìmes, Bureaux de l'Émancipation, 1896)
• John F. C. Harrison, Robert Owen and the Owenites in Britain and America: Quest for the New Moral World (New York, 1969).
• Alexander Herzen, My Past and Thoughts (University of California Press, 1982) (One chapter is devoted to Owen.)
• G. J. Holyoake, The History of Co-operation in England: Its Literature and Its Advocates V. 1 (London, 1906)
• G. J. Holyoake, The History of Co-operation in England: Its Literature and Its Advocates V. 2 (London, 1906)
• The National Library of Wales, A Bibliography of Robert Owen, The Socialist (1914)
• Pollard, Sidney, and John Salt, eds. (1971). Robert Owen, Prophet of the Poor; Essays in Honor of the Two Hundredth Anniversary of His Birth (1st American ed.). Lewisburg, Pennsylvania: Bucknell University Press. ISBN 0838779522.
• H. Simon, Robert Owen: Sein Leben und Seine Bedeutung für die Gegenwart (Jena, 1905)
• O. Siméon, Robert Owen's Experiment at New Lanark. From Paternalism to Socialism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)

External links

• Works by or about Robert Owen in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
• Brief biography at the New Lanark World Heritage Site
• The Robert Owen Museum, Newtown, Wales
• Video of Owen's wool mill
• Brief biography at Cotton Times
• "Robert Owen (1771-1858) social reformer, founder of New Harmony", University of Evansville, Indiana
• "Robert Owen and the Co-operative movement"
• Brief biography at The History Guide
• Brief biography at
• Heaven On Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism at PBS
• "Owen, Robert" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.
• "Owen, Robert" . New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
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New Harmony, Indiana
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/18/20

New Harmony, Indiana
Location of New Harmony in Posey County, Indiana.
Country: United States
State: Indiana
County: Posey
Township: Harmony

New Harmony is a historic town on the Wabash River in Harmony Township, Posey County, Indiana.[6] It lies 15 miles (24 km) north of Mount Vernon, the county seat, and is part of the Evansville metropolitan area. The town's population was 789 at the 2010 census.

Established by the Harmony Society in 1814 under the leadership of George Rapp, the town was originally known as Harmony (also called Harmonie, or New Harmony). In its early years the 20,000-acre (8,100 ha) settlement was the home of Lutherans who had separated from the official church in the Duchy of Württemberg and immigrated to the United States.[7] The Harmonists built a new town in the wilderness, but in 1824 they decided to sell their property and return to Pennsylvania.[8] Robert Owen, a Welsh industrialist and social reformer, purchased the town in 1825 with the intention of creating a new utopian community and renamed it New Harmony. While the Owenite social experiment failed two years after it began, the community made some important contributions to American society.[9]

New Harmony became known as a center for advances in education and scientific research. Town residents established the first free library, a civic drama club, and a public school system open to men and women. Its prominent citizens included Owen's sons: Robert Dale Owen, an Indiana congressman and social reformer who sponsored legislation to create the Smithsonian Institution; David Dale Owen, a noted state and federal geologist; William Owen, a New Harmony businessman; and Richard Owen, Indiana state geologist, Indiana University professor, and first president of Purdue University. The town also served as the second headquarters of the U.S. Geological Survey. Numerous scientists and educators contributed to New Harmony's intellectual community, including William Maclure, Marie Louise Duclos Fretageot, Thomas Say, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, Joseph Neef, Frances Wright, and others.

Many of the town's old Harmonist buildings have been restored. These structures, along with others related to the Owenite community, are included in the New Harmony Historic District. Contemporary additions to the town include the Roofless Church and Atheneum.[9] The New Harmony State Memorial is located south of town on State Road 69 in Harmonie State Park.

Photo from Small Town Indiana photo survey.


Harmonist settlement (1814–1824)

The town of Harmony was founded by the Harmony Society in 1814 under the leadership of German immigrant George Rapp (born Johann Georg Rapp). It was the second of three towns built by the pietist, communal religious group, known as Harmonists, Harmonites, or Rappites. The Harmonists settled in the Indiana Territory after leaving Harmony, Pennsylvania, where westward expansion, the area's rising population, jealous neighbors, and the increasing cost of land threatened the Society's desire for isolation.[10]

In April 1814 Anna Mayrisch, John L. Baker, and Ludwick Shirver (Ludwig Schreiber) traveled west in search of a new location for their congregation, one that would have fertile soil and access to a navigable waterway.[11] By May 10 the men had found suitable land along the Wabash River in the Indiana Territory and made an initial purchase of approximately 7,000 acres (28 km2). Rapp wrote on May 10, "The place is 25 miles from the Ohio mouth of the Wabash, and 12 miles from where the Ohio makes its curve first before the mouth. The town will be located about 1/4 mile from the river above on the channel on a plane as level as the floor of a room, perhaps a good quarter mile from the hill which lies suitable for a vineyard."[12] Although Rapp expressed concern that the town's location lacked a waterworks, the area provided an opportunity for expansion and access to markets through the nearby rivers, causing him to remark, "In short, the place has all the advantages which one could wish, if a steam engine meanwhile supplies what is lacking."[12]

The first Harmonists left Pennsylvania in June 1814 and traveled by flatboat to their new land in the Indiana Territory. In May 1815 the last of the Harmonists who had remained behind until the sale of their town in Pennsylvania was completed departed for their new town along the Wabash River.[13] Frederick Reichert Rapp, George Rapp's adopted son, drew up the town plan for their new village at Harmony, Indiana, which surveyors laid out on August 8, 1814.[14] By 1816, the same year that Indiana became a state, the Harmonists had acquired 20,000 acres (81 km2) of land, built 160 homes and other buildings, and cleared 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) for their new town.[15] The settlement also began to attract new arrivals, including emigrants from Germany such as members of Rapp's congregation from Wurttemberg, many of whom expected the Harmonists to pay for their passage to America.[16] However, the new arrivals "were more of a liability than an asset".[17] On March 20, 1819, Rapp commented, "It is astonishing how much trouble the people who have arrived here have made, for they have no morals and do not know what it means to live a moral and well-mannered life, not to speak of true Christianity, of denying the world or yourself."[18]

Visitors to Harmony commented on the commercial and industrial work being done in this religious settlement along the Wabash River. "It seemed as though I found myself in the midst of Germany," noted one visitor.[19] In 1819 the town had a steam-operated wool carding and spinning factory, a horse-drawn and human-powered threshing machine, a brewery, distillery, vineyards, and a winery. The property included an orderly town, "laid out in a square", with a church, school, store, dwellings for residents, and streets to create "the most beautiful city of western America, because everything is built in the most perfect symmetry".[19] Other visitors were not as impressed: "hard labor & coarse fare appears to be the lot of all except the family of Rapp, he lives in a large & handsome brick house while the rest inhabit small log cabins. How so numerous a population are kept quietly & tamely in absolute servitude it is hard to conceive—the women I believe do more labor in the field than the men, as large numbers of the latter are engaged in different branches of manufactures."[20] Although they were not paid for their work, the 1820 manufacturer's census reported that 75 men, 12 women, and 30 children were employed, in the Society's tanneries, saw and grain mills, and woolen and cotton mills. Manufactured goods included cotton, flannel, and wool cloth, yarn, knit goods, tin ware, rope, beer, peach brandy, whiskey, wine, wagons, carts, plows, flour, beef, pork, butter, leather, and leather goods.[21]

The Harmonist community continued to thrive during the 1820s, but correspondence from March 6, 1824, between Rapp and his adopted son, Frederick, indicates that the Harmonists planned to sell their Indiana property and were already looking for a new location.[22] In May, a decade after their arrival in Indiana, the Harmonists purchased land along the Ohio River eighteen miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and were making arrangements to advertise the sale of their property in Indiana.[23] The move, although it was made primarily for religious reasons, would provide the Harmonists with easier access to eastern markets and a place where they could live more peacefully with others who shared their German language and culture.[17] On May 24, 1824, a group of Harmonists boarded a steamboat and departed Indiana, bound for Pennsylvania, where they founded the community of Economy, the present-day town of Ambridge. In May 1825 the last Harmonists left Indiana after the sale of their 20,000 acres (81 km2) of property, which included the land and buildings, to Robert Owen for $150,000.[24][25][26] Owen hoped to establish a new community on the Indiana frontier, one that would serve as a model community for communal living and social reform.

West Street Log Cabins

Eigner Cabin

Potter Cabin

Owenite community (1825–1827)

New Harmony as envisioned by Owen[27]

Robert Owen was a social reformer and wealthy industrialist who made his fortune from textile mills in New Lanark, Scotland. Owen, his twenty-two-year-old son, William, and his Scottish friend Donald McDonald [28] sailed to the United States in 1824 to purchase a site to implement Owen's vision for "a New Moral World" of happiness, enlightenment, and prosperity through education, science, technology, and communal living. Owen believed his utopian community would create a "superior social, intellectual and physical environment" based on his ideals of social reform.[29] Owen was motivated to buy the town in order to prove his theories were viable and to correct the troubles that were affecting his mill-town community New Lanark.[30] The ready-built town of Harmony, Indiana, fitted Owen's needs. In January 1825 he signed the agreement to purchase the town, renamed it New Harmony, and invited "any and all" to join him there.[31] While many of the town's new arrivals had a sincere interest in making it a success, the experiment also attracted "crackpots, free-loaders, and adventurers whose presence in the town made success unlikely."[32] William Owen, who remained in New Harmony while his father returned east to recruit new residents, also expressed concern in his diary entry, dated March 24, 1825: "I doubt whether those who have been comfortable and content in their old mode of life, will find an increase of enjoyment when they come here. How long it will require to accustom themselves to their new mode of living, I am unable to determine."[33]

When Robert Owen returned to New Harmony in April 1825 he found seven hundred to eight hundred residents and a "chaotic" situation, much in need of leadership.[34] By May 1825 the community had adopted the "Constitution of the Preliminary Society," which loosely outlined its expectations and government. Under the preliminary constitution, members would provide their own household goods and invest their capital at interest in an enterprise that would promote independence and social equality. Members would render services to the community in exchange for credit at the town's store, but those who did not want to work could purchase credit at the store with cash payments made in advance.[35] In addition, the town would be governed by a committee of four members chosen by Owen and the community would elect three additional members.[36] In June, Robert Owen left William in New Harmony while he traveled east to continue promoting his model community and returned to Scotland, where he sold his interests in the New Lanark textile mills and arranged financial support for his wife and two daughters, who chose to remain in Scotland.[37] Owen's four sons, Robert Dale, William, David Dale, and Richard, and a daughter, Jane Dale, later settled in New Harmony.[38][39]

While Owen was away recruiting new residents for New Harmony, a number of factors that led to an early breakup of the socialist community had already begun. Members grumbled about inequity in credits between workers and non-workers.[40] In addition, the town soon became overcrowded, lacked sufficient housing, and was unable to produce enough to become self-sufficient, although they still had "high hopes for the future."[41] Owen spent only a few months at New Harmony, where a shortage of skilled craftsmen and laborers along with inadequate and inexperienced supervision and management contributed to its eventual failure.[42]

Despite the community's shortcomings, Owen was a passionate promoter of his vision for New Harmony. While visiting Philadelphia, Owen met Marie Louise Duclos Fretageot, a Pestalozzian educator, and persuaded her to join him in Indiana. Fretageot encouraged William Maclure, a scientist and fellow educator, to become a part of the venture. (Maclure became Owen's financial partner.) On January 26, 1826, Fretegeot, Maclure, and a number of their colleagues, including Thomas Say, Josef Neef, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, and others aboard the keelboat Philanthropist (also called the "Boatload of Knowledge"), arrived in New Harmony to help Owen establish his new experiment in socialism.[43]

On February 5, 1826, the town adopted a new constitution, "The New Harmony Community of Equality", whose objective was to achieve happiness based on principles of equal rights and equality of duties. Cooperation, common property, economic benefit, freedom of speech and action, kindness and courtesy, order, preservation of health, acquisition of knowledge, and obedience to the country's laws were included as part of the constitution.[44] The constitution laid out the life of a citizen in New Harmony based on age. Children from the age of one to five were to be cared for and encouraged to exercise; children aged six to nine they were to be lightly employed and given education via observation directed by skilled teachers. Youth from the ages of ten to twelve were to help in the houses and with the gardening. Teenagers from the age of twelve to fifteen were to receive technical training, and from fifteen to twenty their education was to be continued. Young adults from the ages of twenty to thirty were to act as a superintendent in the production and education departments. Adults from the ages of thirty to forty were to govern the homes, and residents aged forty to sixty were to be encouraged to assist with the community's external relations or to travel abroad if they so desired.[45]

Although the constitution contained worthy ideals, it did not clearly address how the community would function and was never fully established.[46] Individualist anarchist Josiah Warren, who was one of the original participants in the New Harmony Society, asserted that the community was doomed to failure due to a lack of individual sovereignty and private property. He commented: "It seemed that the difference of opinion, tastes and purposes increased just in proportion to the demand for conformity. Two years were worn out in this way; at the end of which, I believe that not more than three persons had the least hope of success. Most of the experimenters left in despair of all reforms, and conservatism felt itself confirmed. We had tried every conceivable form of organization and government. We had a world in miniature. -- we had enacted the French revolution over again with despairing hearts instead of corpses as a result. ...It appeared that it was nature's own inherent law of diversity that had conquered us ...our 'united interests' were directly at war with the individualities of persons and circumstances and the instinct of self-preservation... and it was evident that just in proportion to the contact of persons or interests, so are concessions and compromises indispensable." (Periodical Letter II 1856).

Part of New Harmony's failings stemmed from three activities that Owen brought from Scotland to America. First, Owen actively attacked established religion, despite United States' constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and the separations of church and state. Second, Owen remained stubbornly attached to the principles of the rationalist Age of Enlightenment, which drove away many of the Jeffersonian farmers Owen tried to attract. Thirdly, Owen consistently appealed to the upper class for donations, but found that the strategy was not as effective as it had been in Europe.[47]

Robert Dale Owen wrote that the members of the failed socialist experiment at New Harmony were "a heterogeneous collection of radicals, enthusiastic devotees to principle, honest latitudinarians, and lazy theorists, with a sprinkling of unprincipled sharpers thrown in,"[48] and that "a plan which remunerates all alike, will, in the present condition of society, ultimately eliminate from a co-operative association the skilled, efficient and industrious members, leaving an ineffective and sluggish residue, in whose hands the experiment will fail, both socially and pecuniarily."[49] However, he still thought that "co-operation is a chief agency destined to quiet the clamorous conflicts between capital and labour; but then it must be co-operation gradually introduced, prudently managed, as now in England."[50] In 1826 splinter groups dissatisfied with the efforts of the larger community broke away from the main group and prompted a reorganization.[51]

In New Harmony work was divided into six departments, each with its own superintendent. These departments included agriculture, manufacturing, domestic economy, general economy, commerce, and literature, science and education. A governing council included the six superintendents and an elected secretary.[52] Despite the new organization and constitution, members continued to leave town.[53] By March 1827, after several other attempts to reorganize, the utopian experiment had failed.

The larger community, which lasted until 1827, was divided into smaller communities that led further disputes. Individualism replaced socialism in 1828 and New Harmony was dissolved in 1829 due to constant quarrels. The town's parcels of land and property were returned to private use.[48] Owen spent $200,000 of his own funds to purchase New Harmony property and pay off the community's debts. His sons, Robert Dale and William, gave up their shares of the New Lanark mills in exchange for shares in New Harmony. Later, Owen "conveyed the entire New Harmony property to his sons in return for an annuity of $1,500 for the remainder of his life." Owen left New Harmony in June 1827 and focused his interests in the United Kingdom. He died in 1858.[54]


New Harmony, a utopian attempt; depicted as proposed by Robert Owen


Although Robert Owen's vision of New Harmony as an advance in social reform was not realized, the town became a scientific center of national significance, especially in the natural sciences, most notably geology.

William Maclure (1763–1840), president of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia from 1817 to 1840, came to New Harmony during the winter of 1825–26.[29] Maclure brought a group of noted artists, educators, and fellow scientists, including naturalists Thomas Say and Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, to New Harmony from Philadelphia aboard the Philanthropist (also known as the "Boatload of Knowledge").[55]

Thomas Say (1787–1834), a friend of Maclure, was an entomologist and conchologist. His definitive studies of shells and insects, numerous contributions to scientific journals, and scientific expeditions to Florida, Georgia, the Rocky Mountains, Mexico, and elsewhere made him an internationally known naturalist.[56] Say has been called the father of American descriptive entomology and American conchology.[29] Prior to his arrival at New Harmony, he served as librarian for the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, curator at the American Philosophical Society, and professor of natural history at the University of Pennsylvania.[29] Say died in New Harmony in 1834.[57]

Charles-Alexandre Lesueur (1778–1846), a naturalist and artist, came to New Harmony aboard the Philanthropist. His sketches of New Harmony provide a visual record of the town during the Owenite period. As a naturalist, Lesueur is known for his classification of Great Lakes fishes. He returned to his native France in 1837.[58][59] Many species were first described by both Say and Leseuer, and many have been named in their honor.

The Church of the Harmonists; sketch by Charles Alexandre Lesueur. From the collection of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, one of many sketches preserved in the Lesueur Collection at the Academy. Shown here by courtesy of the Academy.

David Dale Owen (1807–1860), third son of Robert Owen, finished his formal education as a medical doctor in 1837. However, after returning to New Harmony, David Dale Owen was influenced by the work of Maclure and Gerard Troost, a Dutch geologist, mineralogist, zoologist, and chemist who arrived in New Harmony in 1825 and later became the state geologist of Tennessee from 1831 to 1850.[29] Owen went on to become a noted geologist. Headquartered at New Harmony, Owen conducted the first official geological survey of Indiana (1837–39). After his appointment as U.S. Geologist in 1839,[60] Owen led federal surveys from 1839 to 1840 and from 1847 to 1851 of the Midwestern United States, which included Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and part of northern Illinois.[61] In 1846 Owen sampled a number of possible building stones for the Smithsonian Institution Building (the Smithsonian "Castle") and recommended the distinctive Seneca Creek sandstone of which that building is constructed.[62] The following year, Owen identified a quarry at Bull Run, twenty-three miles from nation's capital, that provided the stone for the massive building.[62] Owen became the first state geologist of three states: Kentucky (1854–57), Arkansas (1857–59), and Indiana (1837–39 and 1859–60).[29][63] Owen's museum and laboratory in New Harmony was known as the largest west of the Allegheny Mountains.[64] At the time of Owen's death in 1860, his museum included some 85,000 items.[65] Among Owen's most significant publications is his Report of a Geological Survey of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota and Incidentally of a Portion of Nebraska Territory (Philadelphia, 1852).[66]

Several men trained Owen's leadership and influence: Benjamin Franklin Shumard, for whom the Shumard oak is named, was appointed state geologist of Texas by Governor Hardin R. Runnels;[67] Amos Henry Worthen was the second state geologist of Illinois and the first curator of the Illinois State Museum;[68] and Fielding Bradford Meek became the first full-time paleontologist in lieu of salary at the Smithsonian Institution.[69] Joseph Granville Norwood, one of David Dale Owen's colleagues and coauthors, also a medical doctor, became the first state geologist of Illinois (1851–1858).[65][70] From 1851 to 1854, the Illinois State Geological Survey was headquartered in New Harmony.

Richard Owen (1810–1890), Robert Owen's youngest son, came to New Harmony in 1828 and initially taught school there.[71] He assisted his brother, David Dale Owen, with geological survey and became Indiana's second state geologist. During the American Civil War, Colonel Richard Owen was commandant in charge of Confederate prisoners at Camp Morton in Indianapolis.[72] Following his retirement from the U.S. Army in 1864, Owen became a professor of natural sciences at Indiana University in Bloomington, where an academic building is named in his honor. In 1872 Owen became the first president of Purdue University, but resigned from this position in 1874. He continued teaching at IU until his retirement in 1879.[72][73]

Public service and social reform

Robert Dale Owen, eldest son of Robert Owen, was a social reformer and intellectual of national importance. At New Harmony, he taught school and co-edited and published the New Harmony Gazette with Frances Wright.[71][74] Owen later moved to New York. In 1830 he published "Moral Philosophy," [Moral Physiology; or, A Brief and Plain Treatise on the Population Question 1830] the first treatise in the United States to support birth control, and returned to New Harmony in 1834.[74] From 1836 to 1838, and in 1851, Owen served in the Indiana legislature and was also a delegate to the state's constitutional convention of 1850.[71] Owen was an advocate for women's rights, free public education, and opposed slavery. As a member of the U. S. House of Representatives from 1843 to 1847, Owen introduced a bill in 1846 that established the Smithsonian Institution.[75] He also served as chairman of the Smithsonian Building Committee. He arranged for his brother, David Dale Owen, to sample a large number of possible building stones for the Smithsonian Castle.[76] From 1852 to 1858 Owen held the diplomatic position of charge d'affairs (1853–1858) in Naples, where he began studying spiritualism.[77] Owen's book, Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World (1860), aroused something of a literary sensation. Among his critics in the Boston Investigator and at home in the New Harmony Advertiser were John and Margaret Chappellsmith, he formerly an artist for David Dale Owen's geological publications, and she a former Owenite lecturer. Robert Dales Owen died at Lake George, New York, in 1877.[77]

Frances Wright (1795–1852) came to New Harmony in 1824, where she co-edited and wrote for the New Harmony Gazette with Robert Dale Owen. In 1825 she established an experimental settlement at Nashoba, Tennessee, that allowed African American slaves to work to gain their freedom, but the community failed. A liberal leader in the "free-thought [freethought] movement," Wright opposed slavery, advocated woman's suffrage, birth control, and free public education. Wright and Robert Dale Owen moved their newspaper to New York City in 1829 and published it as the Free Enquirer.[71][78] Wright married William Philquepal d'Arusmont, a Pestalozzian educator she met at New Harmony. The couple also lived in Paris, France, and in Cincinnati, Ohio, where they divorced in 1850. Wright died in Cincinnati in 1852.[78][79]


The history of education at New Harmony involves several teachers who were already well-established in their fields before they moved to New Harmony, largely through the efforts of William Maclure. These Pestalozzian educators included Marie Duclos Fretageot and Joseph Neef. By the time Maclure arrived in New Harmony he had already established the first Pestalozzian school in America. Fretageot and Neef had been Pestalozzian educators and school administrators at Maclure's schools in Pennsylvania.[29]

Under Maclure's direction and using his philosophy of education, New Harmony schools became the first public schools in the United States open to boys and girls. Maclure also established at New Harmony one of the country's first industrial or trade schools.[80] He also had his extensive library and geological collection shipped to New Harmony from Philadelphia. In 1838 Maclure established The Working Men's Institute, a society for "mutual instruction".[81] It includes the oldest continuously operating library in Indiana, as well as a small museum. The vault in the library contains many historic manuscripts, letters, and documents pertaining to the history of New Harmony. Under the terms of his will, Maclure also offered $500 to any club or society of laborers in the United States who established a reading and lecture room with a library of at least 100 books. About 160 libraries in Indiana and Illinois took advantage of his bequest.[82][83]

Marie Duclos Fretageot managed Pestalozzian schools that Maclure organized in France and Philadelphia before coming to New Harmony aboard the Philanthropist. In New Harmony she was responsible for the infant's school (for children under age five), supervised several young women she had brought with her from Philadelphia, ran a store, and was Maclure's administrator during his residence in Mexico.[84] Fretageot remained in New Harmony until 1831, returned to France, and later joined Maclure in Mexico, where she died in 1833.[57] Correspondence of Maclure and Fretageot from 1820 to 1833 was extensive and is documented in Partnership for Posterity.[85]

Joseph Neef ( 1770–1854) published in 1808 the first work on educational method to be written in English in the United States, Sketch of A Plan and Method of Education.[86] Maclure brought Neef, a Pestalozzian educator from Switzerland, to Philadelphia, and placed him in charge of his school for boys. It was the first school in the United States to be based on Pestalozzian methods. In 1826 Neef, his wife, and children came to New Harmony to run the schools under Maclure's direction.[87][88] Neef, following Maclure's curriculum, became superintendent of the schools in New Harmony, where as many as 200 students, ranging in age from five to twelve, were enrolled.[86][87][89]

Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy (1806–1861), daughter of Robert Owen, arrived in New Harmony in 1833. She married civil engineer Robert Henry Fauntleroy in 1835. He became a business partner of David Dale and Robert Dale Owen. Jane Owen Fauntleroy established a seminary for young women in her family's New Harmony home, where her brother, David Dale Owen, taught science.[90]

Students in New Harmony now attend North Posey High School after New Harmony High School closed in 2012.[91]


Cornelius Tiebout (c. 1773–1832) was an artist, printer, and engraver of considerable fame when he joined the New Harmony community in September 1826. Tiebout taught printing and published a bimonthly newspaper, Disseminator of Useful Knowledge, and books using the town's printing press.[92][93] He died in New Harmony in 1832.[94]

Publications from New Harmony's press include William Maclure's Essay on the Formation of Rocks, or an Inquiry into the Probably Origin of their Present Form (1832); and Maclure's Structure and Observations on the Geology of the West India Islands; from Barbadoes to Santa Cruz, Inclusive (1832); Thomas Say's Description of New Species of North American Insects; Observations on Some of the Species Already Described; Descriptions of Some New Terrestrial and Fluviatile Shells of North America; and several of the early volumes of Say's American Conchology, or Descriptions of the Shells of North America. (The seventh volume of American Conchology was published in Philadelphia.)[95][96]

Lucy Sistare Say was an apprentice at Fretageot's Pestalozzian school and a former student of Lesueur in Philadelphia before coming to New Harmony aboard the Philanthropist to teach needlework and drawing. En route to Indiana, Sistare met Thomas Say and the two were married on January 4, 1827, prior to their arrival at New Harmony. An accomplished artist, Say illustrated and hand-colored 66 of the 68 illustrations in American Conchology, her husband's multi-volume work on mollusks. Following Thomas Say's death in 1834, she moved to New York, trained to become an engraver, and worked to complete and publish the final volume of American Conchology. Lucy Say remained interested in the natural sciences after returning to the East. In 1841 she became the first female member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.[97]

Publications on the history of New Harmony include the work of the New Harmony historian and resident, Josephine Mirabella Elliott.


William Owen (1802–1842), Robert Owen's second oldest son, was involved in New Harmony's business and community affairs. He was among the leaders who founded New Harmony's Thespian Society and acted in some of the group's performances.[98] Owen also helped establish the Posey County Agricultural Society and, in 1834, became director of the State Bank of Indiana, Evansville Branch. He died in New Harmony in 1842.[99]

Historic structures

Main article: New Harmony Historic District

More than 30 structures from the Harmonist and Owenite utopian communities remain as part of the New Harmony Historic District, which is a National Historic Landmark.[100] In addition, architect Richard Meier designed New Harmony's Atheneum, which serves as the Visitors Center for Historic New Harmony,[25] and depicts the history of the community. Also listed on the National Register of Historic Places are the George Bentel House, Ludwig Epple House, Harmony Way Bridge, Mattias Scholle House, and Amon Clarence Thomas House.[101]


New Harmony is located at 38°7′43″N 87°56′3″W (38.128583, −87.934122).[102] The Wabash River forms the western boundary of New Harmony. It is the westernmost settlement in Indiana.

According to the 2010 census, New Harmony has a total area of 0.65 square miles (1.68 km2), of which 0.64 square miles (1.66 km2) (or 98.46%) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) (or 1.54%) is water.[103]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, New Harmony has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[104]


Historical population

Census / Pop. / %±

1860 / 825 / —
1870 / 836 / 1.3%
1880 / 1,095 / 31.0%
1890 / 1,197 / 9.3%
1900 / 1,341 / 12.0%
1910 / 1,229 / −8.4%
1920 / 1,126 / −8.4%
1930 / 1,022 / −9.2%
1940 / 1,390 / 36.0%
1950 / 1,360 / −2.2%
1960 / 1,121 / −17.6%
1970 / 971 / −13.4%
1980 / 945 / −2.7%
1990 / 846 / −10.5%
2000 / 916 / 8.3%
2010 / 789 / −13.9%
Est. 2018 / 759 [4] / −3.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[105]

2010 census

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 789 people, 370 households, and 194 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,232.8 inhabitants per square mile (476.0/km2). There were 464 housing units at an average density of 725.0 per square mile (279.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 99.0% White, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% Asian, and 0.6% from two or more races.

There were 370 households of which 17.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.7% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 47.6% were non-families. 43.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 23.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.93 and the average family size was 2.62.

The median age in the town was 55.1 years. 13.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 17.3% were from 25 to 44; 30.4% were from 45 to 64; and 33.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 43.2% male and 56.8% female.

2000 census

As of the 2000 census,[5] there were 916 people, 382 households, and 228 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,441.5 people per square mile (552.6/km²). There were 432 housing units at an average density of 679.8 per square mile (260.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.91% White, 0.55% Native American, 0.22% Asian, and 0.33% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.44% of the population.

There were 382 households out of which 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.9% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.1% were non-families. 38.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.12 and the average family size was 2.80.

In the town, the population was spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 4.5% from 18 to 24, 21.2% from 25 to 44, 24.7% from 45 to 64, and 29.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 71.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $28,182, and the median income for a family was $40,865. Males had a median income of $39,250 versus $21,607 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,349. About 12.2% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.8% of those under age 18 and 17.1% of those age 65 or over.

Paul Tillich Park

Paul Tillich's gravestone in the Paul Tillich Park.

Bust of Paul Johannes Tillich by James Rosati in New Harmony

Paul Tillich Park commemorates the renowned twentieth century theologian, Paul Johannes Tillich. The park was dedicated on 2 June 1963, and Tillich's ashes were interred there in 1965.

Located just across North Main Street from the Roofless Church, the park consists of a stand of evergreens on elevated ground surrounding a walkway. Along the walkway there are several large stones on which are inscribed quotations from Tillich's writings. James Rosati's sculpture of Tillich's head rises at the north end of the walkway, backed by a clearing and a large pond.

Those who walk the Tillich Park Finger Labyrinth, which was created by Reverend Bill Ressl after an inspirational walk through the park, are also invited to ponder the quotations and discern Tillich's systematic theology.

Secondary education

For over 200 years, New Harmony was served by New Harmony School, a K-12 school. In 2012, due to low enrollment and funding cuts, the school consolidated with the MSD of North Posey County[106][107][108] which operates four schools:

• North Posey High School (9-12)
• North Posey Junior High School (7-8)
• North Elementary School (K-6)
• South Terrace Elementary School (K-6)


• Indiana State Road 66, ends at New Harmony Toll Bridge.
• Indiana State Road 68, ends just north of New Harmony
• Indiana State Road 69, used to end at New Harmony, now goes around town and ends at nearby Griffin.


’’New-Harmony on the Wabash’’ (circa 1832): aquatint by Karl Bodmer from "Maximilian, Prince of Wied’s Travels in the Interior of North America, during the years 1832–1834"

• New Harmony is the setting for the season three finale of The CW television series Supernatural.
• A short experimental film, The Ends of Utopia, was created in 2009 by a Vanderbilt University student.

See also

• Ambridge, Pennsylvania
• Grand Rapids Dam
• Grand Rapids Hotel
• Harmony Society
• Harmony, Pennsylvania
• List of public art in New Harmony, Indiana
• New Harmony Toll Bridge, closed. Talks are ongoing as to a replacement.[109]
• Old Economy Village
• George Rapp


1. "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 28, 2017.
2. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
3. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
4. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved February 29, 2020.
5. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
6. "New Harmony, Indiana". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2017-04-01.
7. Donald Pitzer (2012). New Harmony Then and Now. 601 North Morton Street: Quarry Books. pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-0-253-35645-1.
8. Karl J. R. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1814–1824 (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1975) 1:xi.
9. Ray E. Boomhower, "New Harmony: Home to Indiana’s Communal Societies," Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History14(4):36–37.
10. Karl J. R Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, 1785–1847 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1965) p. 130–31, 133.
11. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 133.
12. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:8.
13. Arndt, George Rapp’s Harmony Society, p. 162.
14. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society 1785–1847, p. 146.
15. Arndt, George Rapp’s Harmony Society, p. 182.
16. Arndt, George Rapp’s Harmony Society, p. 182–98.
17. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 209.
18. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:674.
19. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:744.
20. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:784.
21. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 2:131–32.
22. Arndt, George Rapp’s Harmony Society, p. 287.
23. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:837, 871–74.
24. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:837, 871.
25. Boomhower, p. 37.
26. See Donald F. Carmony and Josephine M. Elliott. "New Harmony, Indiana: Robert Owen's Seedbed for Utopia," Indiana Magazine of History 76, no. 3 (September, 1980):165. Carmony and Elliott indicate that Owen paid $125,000 for New Harmony, and cite other sources that state varying amounts.
27. "New Harmony as envisioned by Owen" was originally captioned by Stedman Whitwell, the architect who drew the figure, as "Design for a Community of 2000 Person founded upon a principle Commended by Plato, Lord Bacon and Sir Thomas More" in Description of an Architectural Model From a Design by Stedman Whitwell, Exq. For a Community Upon a Principle of United Interests, as Advocated by Robert Owen, Esq. (London: Hurst Chance and Co., 1830). Whitwell (1784–1840) lived in New Harmony during 1825. John W. Reps,"Whitwell, Description of a Model City", Cornell University. Retrieved 2012-6-20. In Edward Royle's Robert Owen and the Commencement of the Millennium, (Manchester University Press, 1998), Whitwell's figure is presented in a chapter on Harmony, the name of Owen's community in Hampshire, England, dating from 1841, although the figure was published in 1830 and almost certainly existed as early as 1825.
28. Pitzer, Donald (2012). New Harmony Then and Now. Quarry Books. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-253-35645-1.
29. Donald E. Pitzer, "The Original Boatload of Knowledge Down the Ohio River." Reprint. Ohio Journal of Science 89, no. 5 (December 1989):128–142.
30. Wilson, William (1964). The Angel and the Serpent. Binghamton, N.Y.: Vail-Ballou Press, Inc. pp. 102–103.
31. William E. Wilson, The Angel and the Serpent: The Story of New Harmony (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1967, 2nd ed.), p. 105, 110, 116.
32. Wilson, p. 116.
33. Joel Hiatt, ed., "Diary of William Owen: From November 10, 1824, to April 20, 1825" Indiana Historical Society Publications 4, no. 1 (1906): 130.
34. Carmony and Elliott, p. 168.
35. Wilson, p. 117–118.
36. Wilson, p. 119.
37. Wilson, p. 119–122.
38. Wilson, p. 122.
39. Several of Robert Owen's children were given the middle name Dale in honor of Owen's father-in-law, David Dale.
40. Wilson, p. 125.
41. Wilson, p. 135.
42. Carmony and Elliott, p. 170.
43. Wilson, p. 118.
44. Wilson, p. 149.
45. Lockwood, George (1905). The New Harmony Movement. New York: D. Appleton and Company. pp. 66–67.
46. Carmony and Elliott, p. 173.
47. Pitzer, Donald (2012). New Harmony Then and Now. Quarry Books. pp. 51–53. ISBN 978-0-253-35645-1.
48. Joseph Clayton, Robert Owen: Pioneer of Social Reforms (London: A.C. Fifield, 1908)
49. Dale, Robert Owen (1874). Threading my way: Twenty-seven years of autobiography. Trübner & Co. p. 258.
50. Dale, Robert Owen (1874). Threading my way: Twenty-seven years of autobiography. Trübner & Co. p. 241.
51. Carmony and Elliott, p. 174–176.
52. Wilson, p. 150.
53. Wilson, p. 153–54.
54. Wilson, p. 162–64.
55. Janet R. Walker, Wonder Workers on the Wabash (New Harmony, IN: Historic New Harmony, 1999), p. 9–10.
56. Walker, p. 11.
57. Wilson, p. 184.
58. Walker, p. 15–16.
59. Wilson, p. 146.
60. Wilson, p. 199.
61. Walter B. Hendrickson (1943). David Dale Owen, Pioneer Geologist of the Middle West. Indiana Historical Collection. XXVII. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau. pp. 41–43, 48–50, 58, 84–86. OCLC 767609.
62. Clark Kimberling. "Special Sandstone of the Smithsonian "Castle"". University of Evansville. Retrieved November 10,2017.
63. Wilson, p. 199–200. See also: Hendrickson, David Dale Owen, pp. 116, 128.
64. Clark Kimberling, et. al."Smithsonian Institution: World’s Largest Museum Complex", University of Evansville. Retrieved 2012-6-19.
65. Clark Kimberling, "David Dale Owen and Joseph Granville Norwood: Pioneer Geologists in Indiana and Illinois", Indiana Magazine of History 92, no. 1 (March 1996): 15. Retrieved 2012-6-19.
66. Hendrickson, p. David Dale Owen, 148. See also: Davie D. Owen (1852). Report of a Geological Survey of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota; and Incidentally of a Portion of Nebraska Territory, Made under Instructions from the United States Treasury Department. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo.
67. Seymour V. Connor, "Benjamin Franklin Shumard", Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
68. R. Bruce McMillan, "The First Century", The Living Museum 64, nos. 2 and 3 (summer and fall 2002):4–13. Retrieved 2012-6-19.
69. Smithsonian Institution Archives, "Fielding B. Meek Papers, 1843–1877 and undated" collection guide. Retrieved 2012-6-20.
70. Clark Kimberling, et. al. "Joseph Granville Norwood", University of Evansville. Retrieved 2012-6-19.
71. Indiana Historical Society, "New Harmony Collection, 1814–1884" collection guide. Retrieved 2012-7-25.
72. Wilson, p. 200.
73. "Richard Owen", University of Evansville. Retrieved 2012-6-18.
74. Walker, p . 23.
75. Wilson, p. 195–197.
77. Wilson, p. 196–197.
78. Clark Kimberling, "Frances Wright", University of Evansville. Retrieved 2012-6-20.
79. Britannica Online, "Frances Wright". Retrieved 2012-6-20.
80. Wilson, p. 187.
81. Wilson, p. 173, 188.
82. Wilson, p. 188–189.
83. Walker, p. 9–10.
84. Walker, p. 18, 19, 21.
85. Josephine Mirabella Elliott, ed. Partnership for Posterity: The Correspondence of William Maclure and Marie Duclos Fretageot, 1820–1833 (Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Historical Society, 1994)
86. Clark Kimberling, "Francis Joseph Nicholas Neef", University of Evansville. Retrieved 2012-6-20.
87. Wilson, p. 185.
88. Walker, p. 35–36.
89. On March 23, 1837, an unusual triple marriage took place at New Harmony, when Neef's daughter, Anne Eliza, married Richard Owen, Neef's daughter, Caroline, married David Dale Owen, and Mary Bouton married William Owen.
90. Clark Kimberling, et. al. "Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy", University of Evansville. Retrieved 2012-6-20.
91. Martin, John T. "Old vacant school in New Harmony has a new owner who vows to preserve it". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
92. Wilson, p. 183–184.
93. Among Tiebout's best-known engravings are George Washington (1798), Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States(1800), Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States (1801), Constitution (USS Constitution dueling with British frigate Guerriere, War of 1812, engraved 1813). These and others are well represented on the Internet.
94. ArtFact, "Cornelius Tiebout". Retrieved 2012-6-20.
95. Carmony and Elliott, p. 182.
96. "Lucy Say Illustrations". Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
97. Heather Baldus (Spring 2014). "A Broad Stroke: New Harmony's Artistic Legacy". Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 26 (2): 26–27.
98. Carmony and Elliott, p. 181.
99. Hiatt, p. v.
100. New Harmony Historic District Archived 2011-06-05 at the Wayback Machine, National Historic Landmarks Program, National Park Service. Accessed September 24, 2011.
101. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
102. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
103. "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the originalon 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
104. "New Harmony, Indiana Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase.
105. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
106. "One Of The Oldest School Districts In Indiana Closes Due To Funding Cuts".
107. "New Harmony School to close doors & consolidate".
108. "Decision finalized to merge Hew Harmony and N. Posey".
109.[permanent dead link]

Further reading


• Bestor, Arthur. Backwoods Utopias (University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1950, 2nd. ed. 1970)
• Blair, Don. The New Harmony Story (The New Harmony Publication Committee, 1967)
• De la Hunt, Thomas James, ed. History of the New Harmony Workingmen's Institute, New Harmony, Indiana (Evansville, 1927)
• Douglas, Jeffrey. "William Maclure and the New Harmony Working Men's Institute", Libraries and Culture 26 (1991): 402–414.
• Elliott, Josephine Mirabella. Charles-Alexandre Lesueur: Premier Naturalist and Artist
• Galbraith, John Kenneth. The Age of Uncertainty: The Prophets and Promise of Classical Capitalism (BBC, 1977)
• Gutek, Gerald Lee. Joseph Neef: The Americanization of Pestalozzianism" (University of Alabama Press, 1978)
• Hackensmith, Charles W. Biography of Joseph Neef, Educator in the Ohio Valley, 1809–1854 (New York: Carlton Press, 1973)
• Harrison, J. F. C. Robert Owen and the Owenite Movement in Britain and America: The Quest for the New Moral World (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1969)
• Hendrickson, Walter Brookfield. David Dale Owen: Pioneer Geologist of the Middle West (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1943)
• Lang, Elfrieda. "The Inhabitants of New Harmony According to the Federal Census of 1850", Indiana Magazine of History 42, no. 4 (December, 1946): 355–394.
• Leopold, Richard William. Robert Dale Owen: A Biography (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1940; New York: Octagon Books, reprint 1969)
• Lockwood, G. B. The New Harmony Communities (New York, 1905)
• Stroud, Patricia Tyson. Thomas Say: New World Naturalist, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1992.
• Young, Marguerite. Angel in the Forest: A Fairy Tale of Two Utopias (New York: Scribners, 1945)
Paul Tillich[edit]
• Pauck, Wilhelm, and Marion Pauck, Paul Tillich: His Life & Thought (New York: Life, Harper & Row, 1976)
• Ressl, William, and Penny Taylor, Excerpts from The Paul Tillich Archive of New Harmony, Indiana: From the Collection of Mrs. Jane Blaffer Owen (Chicago, Illinois: 2007) (OCLC 180767473)
• Ruediger Reitz, Paul Tillich und New Harmony (Stuttgart, Germany: Evangelisches Verlagswerk, 1970)
The Atheneum and Richard Meier[edit]

The Atheneum in New Harmony, Indiana, United States.

• Abercrombie, Stanley. "A Vision Continued." AIA Journal, mid-May 1980, pp. 126–137.
• "The Architecture of the Promenade: The Atheneum." International Architect 3, 1980, pp. 13–24.
• Cassara, Silvio. "Intrinsic Qualities of Remembrances. The Atheneum at New Harmony, Indiana." Parametro, July/August 1976, pp. 16–19, 59.
• Cohen, Arthur. "Richard Meier, Creator of a New Harmony: An Architect Builds a Classic Meeting Hall for the Nations Heartland." United Mainliner, March 1980, pp. 25–65.
• Futagawa, Yukio, ed. "Collage and Study Sketches for the Atheneum."; "Meier's Atheneum." by Kenneth Frampton; "Richard Meier, An American Architect." by Arthur Cohen; "The Atheneum, New Harmony, Ind. (First Scheme)."; "The Atheneum (Executed Scheme)." GA Document 1, 1980, pp. 25–65.
• Futagawa, Yukio, ed. "The Atheneum, New Harmony, Indiana. 1975-1979." Text by Paul Goldberger. Global Architecture 60, 1981. Reprinted in Global Architecture Book 6: Public Buildings. Tokyo: A.D.A. Edita Co., 1981, n.p.
• Goldberger, Paul. "The Atheneum: Utopia Lives." Vogue, February 1980, pp. 250–251, 296.
• Haker, Werner. "New Harmony und das Athenaeum von Richard Meier." Werk, Bauen + Wohnen, December 1980, pp. 44–53.
• "Harmonious Museum for New Harmony." Life, February 1980, pp. 60–62.
• Huxtable, Ada Louise. "A Radical New Addition for Mid-America." New York Times, 30 September 1979, sec. 2, pp. 1, 31.
• Klotz, Heinrich, ed. "Das Athenaeum." Text by Richard Meier. Jahrbuch für Architektur: Neues Bauen 1980-1981, pp. 53–64.
• Magnago Lampugnani, Vittorio. Architecture of Our Century in Drawings: Utopia and Reality. Stuttgart: Verlag Gerd Hatje, 1982, pp. 106–107.
• Marlin, William. "Dissonance in New Harmony." Inland Architect, December 1981, pp. 20–28.
• Marlin, William. "Revitalizing Architectural Legacy of an American 'Camelot.'" Christian Science Monitor, 16 April 1976, p. 26.
• Meier, Richard. "Comments on The Atheneum, New Harmony, Indiana; Manchester Civic Center, Manchester, New Hampshire." Harvard Architectural Review, Spring 1981, pp. 176–187. Reprinted in French. Les Cahiers de la Recherche Architecturale, November 1982, pp. 66–73.
• "The Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates." Zodiac 12. Includes "The World's Greatest Architect." by Francesco Dal Co; "Statement on Architecture." by Richard Meier. Editrice Abitare: Milan, 1995.
• Richard Meier Architect. New York: Rizzoli, 1984. pp. 190–215.
• Rykwert, Joseph. "New Harmony Propylaeon." Domus, February 1980, pp. 12–17.
• Shezen, Roberto. "La via storica: L'Atheneum di New harmony nell' Indiana di Richard Meier." Gran Bazaar, January/February 1982, pp. 128–135.
• Stephens, Suzanne. "Emblematic Edifice: The Atheneum, New Harmony, Indiana." Progressive Architecture, February 1980, pp. 67–75.
• Zevi, Bruno. "Un UFO nel campo de grano." L'Espresso, 6 April 1980, p. 124.

External links

• Historic New Harmony, administered by the University of Southern Indiana and the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.
• Equitable Commerce by Josiah Warren The individualist anarchist who participated in the New Harmony project discusses the reasons for its failure
• Account of the Harmony Society and its beliefs
• New Harmony Scientists, Educators, Writers & Artists
• New Harmony Town Government
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Harmony Society
by Wikipedia
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The Harmony Society church in Old Economy Village, Pennsylvania
The Harmony Society was a Christian theosophy and pietist society founded in Iptingen, Germany, in 1785. Due to religious persecution by the Lutheran Church and the government in Württemberg, the group moved to the United States,[1] where representatives initially purchased land in Butler County, Pennsylvania. On February 15, 1805, the group of approximately 400 followers formally organized the Harmony Society, placing all their goods in common.

Under its founder and spiritual leader, Johann Georg Rapp (1757–1847); Frederick (Reichert) Rapp (1775–1834), his adopted son who managed its business affairs; and their associates, the Society existed for one hundred years, roughly from 1805 until 1905. Members were known as Harmonists, Harmonites, or Rappites. The Society is best known for its worldly successes, most notably the establishment of three model communities, the first at Harmony, Pennsylvania; the second, also called Harmony, in the Indiana Territory, now New Harmony, Indiana; and the third and final town at Economy, now Ambridge, Pennsylvania.

Origins in Germany

Johann Georg Rapp (George Rapp) 1757–1847.

Johann Georg Rapp (1757–1847), also known as George Rapp, was the founder of the religious sect called Harmonists, Harmonites, Rappites, or the Harmony Society. Born in Iptingen, Duchy of Württemberg, Germany, Rapp was a "bright but stubborn boy" who was also deeply religious. His "strong personality" and religious convictions began to concern local church authorities when he refused to attend church services or take communion.[2] Rapp and his group of believers began meeting in Iptengen and eventually emigrated to the United States, where they established three communities: Harmony, Butler County, Pennsylvania; Harmony (later named New Harmony), Posey County, Indiana; and Economy, Beaver County, Pennsylvania.

Rapp became inspired by the philosophies of Jakob Böhme, Philipp Jakob Spener, Johann Heinrich Jung, and Emanuel Swedenborg, among others, and later wrote Thoughts on the Destiny of Man, published in German in 1824 and in English a year later, in which he outlined his ideas and philosophy.[3] Rapp lived out his remaining days in Economy, where he died on August 7, 1847, at the age of 89.[4]

By the mid-1780s, Rapp had begun preaching to the Separatists, his followers in Iptengen, who met privately and refused to attend church services or take communion.[5] As their numbers increased, Rapp's group officially split with the Lutheran Church in 1785 and was banned from meeting. Despite warnings from local authorities, the group continued to meet privately and attract even more followers.[6]

By 1798 Rapp and his group of followers had already begun to distance themselves from mainstream society and intended to establish a new religious congregation of fellow believers. In the Lomersheimer declaration, written in 1798, these religious Separatists presented their statement of faith, based on Christian principles, to the Wurttemberg legislature.[7] Rapp's followers declared their desire to form a separate congregation who would meet in members' homes, free from Lutheran Church doctrines. The group supported the belief that baptism was not necessary until children could decide for themselves whether they wanted to become a Christian. They also believed that confirmation for youth was not necessary and communion and confession would only be held a few times a year. Although the Separatists supported civil government, the group refused to make a physical oath in its support, "for according to the Gospel not oath is allowed him who gives evidence of a righteous life as an upright man."[8] They also refused to serve in the military or attend Lutheran schools, choosing instead to teach their children at home.[9] This declaration of faith, along with some later additions, guided the Harmony Society's religious beliefs even after they had emigrated from Germany to the United States.[10]

In the 1790s, Rapp's followers continued to increase, reaching as many as 10,000 to 12, 000 members.[11] The increasing numbers, which included followers outside of Rapp's village, continued to concern the government, who feared they might become rebellious and dangerous to the state.[12] Although no severe actions were initially taken to repress the Separatists, the group began to consider emigration to France or the United States. In 1803, when the government began to persecute Rapp's followers, he decided to move the entire group to the United States. Rapp and a small group of men left Iptingen in 1803 and traveled to America to find a new home.[13] On May 1, 1804, the first group of emigrants departed for the United States. The initial move scattered the followers and reduced Rapp's original group of 12,000 to just a few followers. Johan Frederich Reichert, who later agreed to become Rapp's adopted son and took the name of Frederick Reichert Rapp, reported in a letter dated February 25, 1804, that there were "at least 100 families or 500 persons actually ready to go" even if they had to sacrifice their property.[14]

Settlements in the United States

In 1804, while Rapp and his associates remained in the United States looking for a place to settle, his followers sailed to America aboard several vessels and made their way to western Pennsylvania, where they waited until land had been selected for their new settlement.[15] Rapp was able to secure a large tract of land in Pennsylvania and started his first commune, known as Harmonie or Harmony, in Butler County, Pennsylvania,[16] where the Society existed from 1804 to 1815.[17] It soon grew to a population of about 800, and was highly profitable. Ten years later, the town was sold and the Harmonists moved westward to the Indiana Territory, where they established the town of Harmony, now called New Harmony, Indiana, and remained there from 1815 to 1825.[17] The Indiana settlement was sold to Robert Owen and was renamed New Harmony. Ten years after the move to Indiana the commune moved again, this time returning to western Pennsylvania, and named their third and final town Economy ('Ökonomie' in German).[18] The Harmonists lived in Economy until the Society was dissolved in 1905.[17]

Articles of association

On February 15, 1805, the settlers at Harmony, Pennsylvania, signed articles of association to formally establish the Harmony Society in the United States. In this document, Society members agreed to hold all property in a common fund, including working capital of $23,000 to purchase land, livestock, tools, and other goods needed to establish their town.[19] The agreement gave the Society legal status in the United States and protected it from dissolution. Members contributed all of their possessions, pledged cooperation in promoting the interests of the group, and agreed to accept no pay for their services. In return, the members would receive care as long as they lived with the group. Under this agreement, if a member left the Society, their funds would be returned without interest or, if they had not contributed to the Society's treasury, they would receive a small monetary gift.[20]

The Society was a religious congregation who submitted to spiritual and material leadership under Rapp and his associates and worked together for the common good of all its members.[21] Believing that the Second Coming of Christ would occur during their lifetimes, the Harmonists contented to live simply under a strict religious doctrine, gave up tobacco, and advocated celibacy.[18]

First settlement: Harmony, Pennsylvania

Harmony Society building in Harmony, Pennsylvania, built in 1809.

Main article: Harmony, Pennsylvania

In December 1804 Rapp and a party of two others initially contracted to purchase 4,500 acres (18 km2) of land for $11,250 in Butler County, Pennsylvania,[22] and later acquired additional land to increase their holdings to approximately 9,000 acres (36 km2) by the time they advertised their property for sale in 1814.[23] Here they built the town of Harmony, a small community that had, in 1805, nearly 50 log houses, a large barn, a gristmill, and more than 150 acres of cleared land to grow crops.[24]

Because the climate was not well suited for growing grapes and nearby property was not available to expand their landholdings, the Harmonists submitted a petition to the U.S. government for assistance in purchasing land elsewhere. In January 1806 Rapp traveled to Washington, D.C. to hear discussions in Congress regarding the Harmonists' petition for a grant that would allow them to purchase approximately 30,000 acres (120 km2) acre of land in the Indiana Territory. While the Senate passed the petition on January 29, it was defeated in the House of Representatives on February 18. The Harmonists had to find other financial means to support their plans for future expansion.[25] By 1810 the town's population reached approximately 700, with about 130 houses. The Society landholdings also increased to 7,000 acres (28 km2).[26] In the years that followed, the Society survived disagreements among its members, while shortages of cash and lack of credit threatened its finances. Still, the young community had a good reputation for its industry and agricultural production.[27]

At Harmony, George Rapp, also known as Father Rapp, was recognized as the spiritual head of the Society, the one that they went to for discussions, confessions, and other matters.[28] Rapp's adopted son, Frederick, managed the Society's business and commercial affairs.[29]

Rapp let newcomers into the Society and, after a trial period, usually about a year, they were accepted as permanent members.[20] While new members continued to arrive, including immigrants from Germany, others found the Harmonists' religious life too difficult and left the group.[30] In addition, during a period of religious zeal in 1807 and 1808, most, but not all, of the Harmonists adopted the practice of celibacy and there were also few marriages among the members. Rapp's son, Johannes, was married in 1807; and it was the last marriage on record until 1817.[31] Although Rapp did not entirely bar sex initially, it gradually became a custom and there were few births in later years.[32]

In 1811 Harmony's population rose to around 800 persons involved in farming and various trades.[33] Although profit was not a primary goal, their finances improved and the enterprise was profitable, but not sufficient to carry out their planned expansions.[34] Within a few years of their arrival, the Harmonist community included an inn, a tannery, warehouses, a brewery, several mills, stables, and barns, a church/meetinghouse, a school, additional dwellings for members, a labyrinth, and workshops for different trades. In addition, more land was cleared for vineyards and crops. The Harmonists also produced yarn and cloth.[35]

Several factors led to the Harmonists' decision to leave Butler County. Because the area's climate was not suitable, they had difficulties growing grapes for wine.[36] In addition, as westward migration brought new settlers to the county, making it less isolated, the Harmonists began having troubles with neighbors who were not part of the Society.[37] By 1814 Butler County's growing population and rising land prices made it difficult for the Society to expand, causing the group's leaders to look for more land elsewhere.[38] Once land had been located that offered a better climate and room to expand, the group began plans to move.[39] In 1814 the Harmonites sold their first settlement to Abraham Ziegler, a Mennonite, for $100,000 and moved west to make a new life for themselves in the Indiana Territory.[40]

Second settlement: Harmony, Indiana

Harmony Society buildings in New Harmony, Indiana.

Main article: New Harmony, Indiana

In 1814 the Harmony Society moved to the Indiana Territory, where it initially acquired approximately 3,500 acres (14 km2) of land along the Wabash River in Posey County and later acquired more.[41] Over the next ten years the Society built a thriving new community they called Harmonie or Harmony on the Wabash in the Indiana wilderness. (The town's name was changed to New Harmony after the Harmonists left in 1824.) The Harmonists entered into agriculture and manufacture on a larger scale than they had done in Pennsylvania. When the Harmonists advertised their Indiana property for sale in 1824, they had acquired 20,000 acres (81 km2) of land, 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) of which was under cultivation.[42]

During the summer and fall of 1814, many Harmonists fell sick from fever (malaria) and work on the new town nearly ceased.[43] During this time the Society lost about 120 people and others fell ill until conditions were improved and the swamps around the area were drained.[28] Despite these illnesses, construction of the new town continued. By 1819 the Harmonites had built 150 log homes, a church, a community storehouse, barns, stables, and a tavern, along with thriving shops and mills, and cleared land for farming.[44] As the new settlement in Indiana grew, it also began to attract new arrivals, including emigrants from Germany, who expected the Harmonists to pay for their passage to America.[45]

Visitors to the new town commented on its growing commercial and industrial work. In 1819 the town had a steam-operated wool carding and spinning factory, a brewery, distillery, vineyards, and a winery,[46] but not all visitors were impressed with the growing communist town on the frontier.[47] The Society also had visitors from another communal religious society, the Shakers. In 1816 meetings between the Shakers and Harmonists considered a possible union of the two societies, but religious differences between the two groups halted the union.[48] Members of the groups remained, however, in contact over the years. George Rapp's daughter and others lived for a time at the Shaker settlement in West Union, Indiana, where the Shakers helped a number of Harmonites learn the English language.[49]

The Harmonist community continued to thrive during the 1820s. The Society shipped its surplus agricultural produce and manufactured goods throughout the Ohio and Mississippi valleys or sold them through their stores at Harmony and Shawneetown and their agents in Pittsburgh, Saint Louis, Louisville, and elsewhere.[50] Under Frederick Rapp's financial management the Society prospered, but he soon wished for a location better suited to manufacturing and commercial purposes.[51] They had initially selected the land near the Wabash River for its isolation and opportunity for expansion, but the Harmonites were now a great distance from the eastern markets and trade in this location wasn't to their liking. They also had to deal with unfriendly neighbors.[28] As abolitionists, the Harmonites faced disagreeable elements from slavery supporters in Kentucky, only 15 miles (24 km) away, which caused them much annoyance.[citation needed] By 1824 the decision had been made to sell their property in Indiana and search for land to the east.[52]

On January 3, 1825, the Harmonists and Robert Owen, a Welsh-born industrialist and social reformer, came to a final agreement for the sale of the Society's land and buildings in Indiana for $150,000. Owen named the town New Harmony, and by May, the last of the Harmony Society's remaining members returned to Pennsylvania.[53]

Third settlement: Economy, Pennsylvania

Main article: Old Economy Village

The Rapp house in Old Economy Village, Pennsylvania.

Grotto (far left) and statue of Harmonia in the Harmony Society gardens in Old Economy Village, Pennsylvania.

In 1824 Frederick Rapp initially purchased 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) along the Ohio River, 18 miles (29 km) northwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for $10,000, and later bought an additional 2,186 acres (8.85 km2) for $33,445, giving the Society more than 3,000 acres (12 km2) to develop into a new community.[54] The Harmonites named their third and last town Economy, after the spiritual notion of the Divine Economy, "a city in which God would dwell among men" and where perfection would be attained.[55]

At Economy the Harmonists intended to become more involved in manufacturing and their new town on the Ohio River provided better access to eastern markets and water access to the south and west than they had in Indiana.[51] By 1826 the Harmonists had woolen and cotton mills in operation as well as a steam-operated grain mill.[56] The Harmonist society also ran a wine press, a hotel, post office, saw mills, stores, and a variety of farms.[57] Here, under the business acumen and efficient management of Frederick Rapp, they enjoyed such prosperity that by 1829 they dominated trade and the markets of Pittsburgh and down the Ohio River. The Harmonists' competitors accused them of creating a monopoly and called on state government to dissolve the group.[18] Despite the attacks, the Harmonists developed Economy into a prosperous factory town, engaged in farming on a large scale, and maintained a brewery, distillery, and wine-making operation.[58] They also pioneered the manufacturing of silk in the United States.[59]

The community was not neglectful of matters pertaining to art and culture. Frederick Rapp purchased artifacts and installed a museum containing fine paintings and many curiosities and antiques, but it proved to be unprofitable and was sold at a loss.[60] In addition, the Harmonists maintained a deer park, a floral park, and a maze, or labyrinth. The Harmonists were fond of music and many of the members were accomplished musicians. They sang, had a band/orchestra, composed songs, and gave much attention to its cultivation.[61] By 1830 they had amassed a 360-volume library.[60]

In 1832 the Society suffered a serious division. Of 750 members, 250 became alienated through the influence of Bernhard Müller (self-styled Count de Leon), who, with 40 followers (also at variance with the authorities in the old country), had come to Economy to affiliate with the Society. Rapp and Leon could not agree; a separation and apportionment of the property were therefore agreed upon. This secession of one-third of the Society, which consisted mostly of the flower of young manhood and young womanhood who did not want to maintain the custom of celibacy, broke Frederick's heart. He died within two years. It resulted in a considerable fracturing of the community. Nevertheless, the Society remained prosperous in business investments for many more years to come.

After Frederick Rapp's death in 1834, George Rapp appointed Romelius Baker and Jacob Henrici as trustees to manage the Society's business affairs.[62] After George Rapp's death in 1847, the Society reorganized. While a board of elders was elected for the enforcement of the Society's rules and regulations, business management passed to its trustees: Baker and Henrici, 1847–68; Henrici and Jonathan Lenz, 1869–90; Henrici and Wolfel, 1890; Henrici and John S. Duss, 1890–1892; Duss and Seiber, 1892–1893; Duss and Reithmuller, 1893–1897;Duss, 1897–1903; and finally to Suzanna (Susie) C. Duss in 1903.[63][64] By 1905 membership had dwindled to just three members and the Society was dissolved.[65]

The settlements at Economy remained economically successful until the late 19th century, producing many goods in their cotton and woolen factories, sawmill, tannery, and from their vineyards and distillery.[66] They also produced high quality silk for garments. Rapp's granddaughter, Gertrude, began the silk production in Economy on a small scale from 1826 to 1828, and later expanded.[67] This was planned in New Harmony, but fulfilled when they arrived at Economy.[28] The Harmonists were industrious and utilized the latest technologies of the day in their factories. Because the group chose to adopt celibacy and their members grew older, more work gradually had to be hired out. As their membership declined, they stopped manufacturing operations, other than what they needed for themselves, and began to invest in other ventures such as the oil business, coal mining, timber, railroads, land development, and banking.[65] The group invested in the construction of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, established the Economy Savings Institution and the Economy Brick Works, and operated the Economy Oil Company,[68] as well as the Economy Planing Mill, Economy Lumber Company, and eventually donated some land in Beaver Falls for the construction of Geneva College. The Society exerted a major influence on the economic development of Western Pennsylvania.[69]

Oil production in the mid-1860s brought the high-water mark of the Society's prosperity.[70] By the close of Baker's administration in 1868, The Society's wealth was probably $2 million.[citation needed] By 1890, however, the Society was in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy with a depleted and aged membership. In addition, the Society faced litigation from previous members and would-be heirs. The Society's trustee, John S. Duss, settled the lawsuits, liquidated its business ventures, and paid the Society's indebtedness.[65] The great strain which he had undergone at this time undermined his health and he resigned his trusteeship in 1903.[71] With only a few members left, the remaining land and assets were sold under the leadership of Duss's wife, Susanna (Susie), and the Society was formally dissolved in 1905.[65] At the time of the Society's dissolution, its net worth was $1.2 million.[72]

In 1916 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania acquired 6 acres (0.024 km2) and 17 buildings of Economy, which became the Old Economy Village historic site. The American Bridge Company had already acquired other parts of the Society's land in 1902 to build the town of Ambridge.[65]


Religious views

In 1791 George Rapp said, "I am a prophet, and I am called to be one" in front of the civil affairs official in Maulbronn, Germany, who promptly had him imprisoned for two days and threatened with exile if he did not cease preaching.[73][74] To the great consternation of church and state authorities, this mere peasant from Iptingen had become the outspoken leader of several thousand Separatists in the southern German duchy of Württemberg.[1][73][74] By 1802 the Separatists had grown in number to about 12,000 and the Württemberg government decided that they were a dangerous threat to social order.[1] Rapp was summoned to Maulbronn for an interrogation, and the government confiscated Separatist books.[1] When released in 1803, from a brief time in prison, Rapp told his followers to pool their assets and follow him on a journey for safety to the "land of Israel" in the United States, and soon over 800 people were living with him there.[1]

The Harmonites were Christian pietist Separatists who split from the Lutheran Church in the late 18th century. Under the leadership of George Rapp, the group left Württemberg, Germany, and came to the United States in 1803. Due to the troubles they had in Europe, the group sought to establish a more perfect society in the American wilderness. They were nonviolent pacifists who refused to serve in the military and tried to live by George Rapp's philosophy and literal interpretations of the New Testament. They first settled and built the town of Harmony, Pennsylvania, in 1804, and established the Harmony Society in 1805 as a religious commune. In 1807, celibacy was advocated as the preferred custom of the community in an attempt to purify themselves for the coming Millennium. Rapp believed that the events and wars going on in the world at the time were a confirmation of his views regarding the imminent Second Coming of Christ, and he also viewed Napoleon as the Antichrist.[75] In 1814, the Society sold their first town in Pennsylvania and moved to the Indiana Territory, where they built their second town. In 1824, they decided it was time to leave Indiana, sold their land and town in Indiana, and moved to their final settlement in Western Pennsylvania.

Virgin Sophia design on doorway in Harmony, Pennsylvania, carved by Frederick Reichert Rapp (1775–1834).

The Harmonites were Millennialists, in that they believed Jesus Christ was coming to earth in their lifetime to help usher in a thousand-year kingdom of peace on earth. This is perhaps why they believed that people should try to make themselves "pure" and "perfect", and share things with others while willingly living in communal "harmony" (Acts 4:32-35) and practicing celibacy. They believed that the old ways of life on earth were coming to an end, and that a new perfect kingdom on earth was about to be realized.

They also practiced forms of Esoteric Christianity, Mysticism (Christian mysticism), and Rapp often spoke of the virgin spirit or Goddess named Sophia in his writings.[76] Rapp was very influenced by the writings of Jakob Böhme,[76] Philipp Jakob Spener, and Emanuel Swedenborg, among others. Also, at Economy, there are glass bottles and literature that seem to indicate that the group was interested in (and practiced) alchemy.[76] Other books found in the Harmony Society's library in Economy, include those by the following authors: Christoph Schütz, Gottfried Arnold, Justinus Kerner, Thomas Bromley,[77] Jane Leade, Johann Scheible (Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses),[78] Paracelsus, and Georg von Welling,[79] among others.[76]

The Harmonites tended to view unmarried celibate life as morally superior to marriage, based on Rapp's belief that God had originally created Adam as a dual being, having male and female sexual organs.[80] According to this view, when the female portion of Adam separated to form Eve, disharmony followed, but one could attempt to regain harmony through celibacy.

George Rapp predicted that on September 15, 1829, the three and one half years of the Sun Woman would end and Christ would begin his reign on earth.[75] Dissension grew when Rapp's predictions did not come to pass. In March 1832, one third of the group left the Society and some began following Bernhard Müller, who claimed to be the Lion of Judah. Nevertheless, most of the group stayed and Rapp continued to lead them until he died on August 7, 1847. His last words to his followers were, "If I did not so fully believe, that the Lord has designated me to place our society before His presence in the land of Canaan, I would consider this my last".[81]

The Harmonites did not mark their graves with headstones or grave markers, because they thought it was unnecessary to do so; however, one exception is George Rapp's son Johannes' stone marker in Harmony, Pennsylvania, which was installed by non-Harmonites many years after the Harmonites left that town.[82] Today, Harmonist graveyards are fenced in grassy areas with signs posted nearby explaining this practice.


The Harmony Society's architecture reflected their Swabian German traditions, as well as the styles that were being developed in America during the 19th century. In the early days of the Society, many of the homes were initially log cabins and later, Harmonist craftsmen built timber-frame homes. At Economy, their homes were mostly two-story brick houses "that showed the influence of their American neighbors."[83] In general, Harmonist buildings, in addition to being sturdy and functional, were centrally heated, economical to maintain, and resistant to fire, weather, and termites.[84]

Once established at Harmony, Pennsylvania, the Society planned to replace the log dwellings with brick structures, but the group moved to the Indiana Territory before the plan was completed.[85] In Indiana, log homes were soon replaced with one- or two-story houses of timber frame or brick construction in addition to four large rooming houses (dormitories) for its growing membership. The new town also included shops, schools, mills, a granary, a hotel, library, distilleries, breweries, a brick kiln, pottery ovens, barn, stables, storehouses, and two churches, one of which was brick.[86]

In 1822 William Herbert, a visitor to Harmony, Indiana, described the new brick church and the Harmonists' craftsmanship:

"These people exhibit considerable taste as well as boldness of design in some of their works. They are erecting a noble church, the roof of which is supported in the interior by a great number of stately columns, which have been turned from trees in their own forests. The kinds of wood made use of for this purpose are, I am informed, black walnut, cherry and sassafras. Nothing I think can exceed the grandeur of the joinery and the masonry and brickwork seem to be of the first order. The form of this church is that of a cross, the limbs being short and equal; and as the doors, which there are four, are placed at the end of the limbs, the interior of the building as seen from the entrance, has a most ample and spacious effect.... I could scarcely imagine myself to be in the woods of Indiana, on the borders of the Wabash, while pacing the long resounding aisles, and surveying the stately colonnades of this church."[28]

Frame structures were built on piers to keep the air circulating across the area's damp soil, while brick structures had a root cellar with a drainage tunnel. Inside, Harmonists built fireplaces to the left or right of center to allow for a long center beam, adding strength to support the structure and its heavy, shingled roof. "Dutch biscuits" (wood laths wrapped in straw and mud) provided insulation and soundproofing between the ceiling and floors. The exterior was insulated with bricks between the exterior's unpainted weatherboards and the interior's lath and plaster walls.[87] Structures had standard parts and pre-cut, pre-measured timbers, which were assembled on the ground, adjusted to fit on site, raised in place, and locked into place with pegs and mortise and tenon joints.[88] Two-story floor plans for homes included a large living room, kitchen, and entrance hall, with stairs to the second floor and attic. In Indiana, Harmonists did their baking in communal ovens, so stoves could be substituted for fireplaces.[89]

Living styles

At Harmony, Pennsylvania, four to six members were assigned to a home, where they lived as families, although not all those living in the household were related.[85] Even when the house contained those that were married, they would live together as brother and sister, since there was a suggestion and custom of practicing celibacy. In Indiana, Harmonists continued to live in homes, but they also built dormitories to house single men and women.[28]

Society members woke between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. They ate breakfast between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., lunch at 9 a.m., dinner at noon, afternoon lunch at 3 p.m., and supper between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.[90] They did their chores and work during the day. At the end of the day, members met for meetings and had a curfew of 9 p.m. On Sundays, the members respected the "Holy day" and did no unnecessary work, but attended church services, singing groups, and other social activities.[28]


Their style of dress reflected their Swabian German roots and traditions and was adapted to their life in America.[91] Although the Harmonites typically wore plain clothing, made with their own materials by their own tailors, they would wear their fine garments on Sundays and on other special occasions. At Economy, on special occasions and Sundays, women wore silk dresses using fabric of their own manufacture.[91] Clothing varied in color, but often carried the same design. On a typical day, women wore ankle-length dresses, while men wore pants with vests or coats and a hat.[28]


The Harmonites were a prosperous agricultural and industrial people. They had many machines that helped them be successful in their trades. They even had steam-powered engines that ran the machines at some of their factories in Economy. They kept their machines up to date, and had many factories and mills, for example Beaver Falls Cutlery Company which they purchased in 1867.[92]


Each member of the Society had a job in a certain craft or trade. Most of the work done by men consisted of manual labor, while the women dealt more with textiles or agriculture.

As Economy became more technologically developed, Harmonites began to hire others from outside the Society, especially when their numbers decreased because of the custom of celibacy and as they eventually let fewer new members join. Although the Harmonites did seek work-oriented help from the outside, they were known as a community that supported themselves, kept their ways of living in their community, mainly exported goods, and tried to import as little as possible.

Rise and fall of Harmony Society

George Rapp had an eloquent style, which matched his commanding presence, and he was the personality that led the group through all the different settlements. After Rapp's death in 1847, a number of members left the group because of disappointment and disillusionment over the fact that his prophecies regarding the return of Jesus Christ in his lifetime were not fulfilled. However, many stayed in the group, and the Harmony Society went on to become an even more profitable business community that had many worldly financial successes under the leadership of Romelius L. Baker and Jacob Henrici.

Over time the group became more protective of itself, did not allow many new members, moved further from its religious foundation to a more business-oriented and pragmatic approach, and the custom of celibacy eventually drained it of its membership. The land and financial assets of the Harmony Society were sold off by the few remaining members under the leadership of John Duss and his wife, Susanna, by the year 1906.

Today, many of the Society's remaining buildings are preserved; all three of their settlements in the United States have been declared National Historic Landmark Districts by the National Park Service.

See also

• Ambridge, Pennsylvania
• Economy, Pennsylvania
• Freedom, Pennsylvania
• Geneva College
• Harmonie State Park
• Harmony, Pennsylvania
• Harmony Historic District
• Harmony Township, Beaver County, Pennsylvania
• New Harmony Historic District
• New Harmony, Indiana
• New International Encyclopedia
• Old Economy Village
• Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad
• Zoar, Ohio


1. Robert Paul Sutton, Communal Utopias and the American Experience: Religious Communities (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004) p. 38.
2. Karl J. R. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, 1785–1847 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1965), p. 17–18.
3. John Archibald Bole, The Harmony Society: A Chapter in German American Culture History (Philadelphia: Americana Germanica Press, 1904) p. 45, 65.
4. Karl J. R. Arndt, George Rapp's Successors and Material Heirs, 1847–1916 (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UniversityPress, 1971), p. 17.
5. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 20.
6. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 30.
7. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 35.
8. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 39.
9. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 38–39.
10. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 40.
11. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 46.
12. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 49.
13. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 49–50.
14. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 54.
15. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 65–69.
16. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 72.
17. Karl J. R. Arndt, The Harmony Society from its beginnings in Germany in 1785 to its Liquidation in the United States in 1905 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1953), p. 189.
18. David Schwab, comp. (2010-05-20). "The Harmony Society". U.S. Army Corps of Engineers–Pittsburg District. Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
19. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 71.
20. Bole, p. 33–34.
21. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 75.
22. William E. Wilson, The Angel and the Serpent: The Story of New Harmony (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1964), p. 13.
23. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 135, 137.
24. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 76.
25. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 84, 86–90.
26. Christiana F. Knoedler, The Harmony Society: A 19th-Century American Utopia (New York: Vantage Press, 1954), p. 10–11.
27. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 92.
28. Historic New Harmony (2008). "The Harmonie Society" (PDF). University of Southern Indiana. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
29. Wilson, p. 15–16.
30. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 100.
31. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 97–99.
32. Wilson, p. 24–25.
33. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 121.
34. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 123–127.
35. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 105–107, 112.
36. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 84.
37. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 130–131.
38. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 133.
39. Ray E. Boomhower, "New Harmony: Home to Indiana's Communal Societies," Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, 14(4):36.
40. Wilson, p. 37–38.
41. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 145.
42. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 295.
43. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 147.
44. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 206–207.
45. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 182–198.
46. Karl J. R. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society 1814–1824 (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1975), 1:744–745.
47. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:784.
48. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:225–229.
49. Arndt, A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society, 1:230.
50. Bole, p. 79.
51. Bole, p. 91.
52. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 287.
53. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 298.
54. Knoedler, p. 19, 22.
55. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 306.
56. Knoedler, p. 23.
57. John M. Tate, Jr. Collection of Notes, Pictures and Documents relating to the Harmony Society, 1806-1930, DAR.1946.02, Darlington Library, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh
58. Bole, p. 107.
59. Arndt, The Harmony Society from its beginnings in Germany in 1785 to its Liquidation in the United States in 1905, p. 190.
60. Bole, p. 148.
61. Knoedler, p. 79–83.
62. Daniel B. Reibel, A Guide to Old Economy (Old Economy, PA: Harmonie Associates, 1969), p. 8–9.
63. Bole, p. 141–142, 229.
64. Arndt, George Rapp's Successors and Material Heirs, p. 99.
65. Reibel, p. 9.
66. Bole, p. 97, 107, 113.
67. Knoedler, p. 58–60.
68. Bole, p. 133, 135.
69. Knoedler, p. 148.
70. Bole, p. 133.
71. J. S. Duss, The Harmonists: A Personal History (Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Book Service, 1943), p. 359–360.
72. Arndt, George Rapp's Successors and Material Heirs, p. 328.
73. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, 1785–1847, p. 30.
74. Donald E. Pitzer, America's Communal Utopias (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1997) p. 57.
75. Frederic J. Baumgartner, Longing for the End: A History of Millennialism in Western Civilization (1999) p. 166.
76. Arthur Versluis, "Western Esotericism and The Harmony Society", Esoterica I (1999) p. 20–47. Michigan State University
77. PasstheWORD (2005-10-13). "Thomas Bromley On-Line Manuscripts". PasstheWORD. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
78. Joseph H. Peterson (2005). "The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses". Retrieved 2012-06-15.
79. Georg von Welling (1784, third ed., edited and translated by Arthur Versluis). "Opus Mago-Cabalisticum". Frankfurt and Leipzig: The Fleischer Bookstore. Retrieved 2012-06-15. Check date values in: |date= (help)
80. Arndt, George Rapp's Successors and Material Heirs, p. 147.
81. Wilson, p. 11.
82. Arndt, George Rapp's Successors and Material Heirs, p. 157.
83. Don Blair, "Harmonist Construction. Principally as found in the two-story houses built in Harmonie, Indiana, 1814–1824," Indiana Historical Society Publications 23, no. (1964): 81.
84. Blair, p. 82.
85. Arndt, George Rapp's Harmony Society, p. 109.
86. Blair, p. 49–50.
87. Blair, p. 52–54, 76.
88. Blair, p. 57.
89. Blair, p. 66, 71, 73.
90. Bole, p. 145.
91. Bole, p. 146.
92. Anon (1993). "Gone but not forgotten: the Beaver Falls Cutlery Company". Industrious Beaver Falls. Darlington, Pennsylvania: Beaver County Industrial Museum. This is based on Anon (1992). "The history and lore of Beaver Co.: the Chinese in Beaver Falls 1872". The Beaver Countian Vol III no.1. Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. pp. 1–3.


• Arndt, Karl J. R. A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society 1814–1824. 2 vols. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1975–78.
• Arndt, Karl J. R. Economy on the Ohio, 1826–1834: The Harmony Society During the Period of its Greatest Power and Influence and its Messianic Crisis; George Rapp's Third Harmony: A Documentary History. Worcester, Mass.: Harmony Society Press, 1984.
• Arndt, Karl J. R. George Rapp's Harmony Society, 1785–1847. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1965.
• Arndt, Karl J. R. George Rapp's Re-Established Harmony Society: Letters and Documents of the Baker-Henrici Trusteeship, 1848–1868. New York: P. Lang, 1993.
• Arndt, Karl J. R. George Rapp's Separatists, 1700–1803: The German Prelude to Rapp's American Harmony Society; A Documentary History. Worcester, Mass.: Harmonie Society Press, 1980.
• Arndt, Karl J. R. George Rapp's Successors and Material Heirs, 1847–1916. Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1971.
• Arndt, Karl J. R. George Rapp's Years of Glory: Economy on the Ohio, 1834–1847. New York: P. Lang, 1987.
• Arndt, Karl J. R. Harmony on the Connoquenessing 1803–1815: George Rapp's First American Harmony. Worcester, Mass.: Harmonie Society Press, 1980.
• Arndt, Karl J. R. Harmony on the Wabash in Transition to Rapp's Divine Economy on the Ohio and Owen's New Moral World at New Harmony on the Wabash 1824–1826. Worcester, Mass.: Harmonie Society Press, 1984.
• Arndt, Karl J. R. The Harmony Society from its Beginnings in Germany in 1785 to its Liquidation in the United States in 1905. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1953.
• Arndt, Karl J. R. The Indiana Decade of George Rapp's Harmony Society: 1814–1824. Worcester, Mass.: American Antiquarian Society, 1971.
• Arndt, Karl J. R., Donald Pitzer and Leigh Ann Chamness (eds.) George Rapp's Disciples, Pioneers, and Heirs: A Register of the Harmonists in America. Evansville: University of Southern Indiana, 1992.
• Baumgartner, Frederic J. Longing for the End: A History of Millennialism in Western Civilization. New York: Saint Martin's Press, 1999.
• Berry, Brian J. L. America's Utopian Experiments: Communal Havens from Long-Wave Crises. Hanover, NH: Dartmouth College and University Press of New England, 1992.
• Bestor, Arthur. Backwoods Utopias. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1950.
• Blair, Don. Harmonist Construction. Principally as found in the two-story houses built in Harmonie, Indiana, 1814–1824. Indiana Historical Society Publications 23, no. 2. (1964): 45–82.
• Bole, John Archibald. The Harmony Society: A Chapter in German American Culture History. Philadelphia: Americana Germanica Press, 1904.
• Boomhower, Ray E. "New Harmony: Home to Indiana's Communal Societies." Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History 14, no. 4 (2002): 36–37.
• Bowden, Henry W. Dictionary of American Religious Biography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1977.
• Brooks, Joshua Thwing. Jacob Henrici. Sewickley, PA: Gilbert Adams Hays, 1922.
• Byrd, Cecil K. The Harmony Society and Thoughts on the Destiny of Man. Bloomington, IN, 1956.
• Cross, Frank L. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974.
• Dare, Philip N. American Communes to 1860: A Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1990.
• Douglas, Paul S. The Material Culture of the Harmony Society. Pennsylvania Folklife 24, no. 3 (Spring, 1975).
• Dructor, Robert M. Guide to the Microfilmed Harmony Society Records, 1786–1951 in the Pennsylvania State Archives. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1983.
• Dructor, Robert M. The Harmonists: A Personal History. Pittsburgh: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1970.
• Dudley, Lavinia P., John H. Archer, Tucker Abbot, et al. The Encyclopedia Americana: The International Reference Work New York: Americana Corp., 1963.
• Durnbaugh, Donald F. Radical Pietism as the Foundation of German-American Communitarian Settlements." In Emigration and Settlement Patterns of German Communities in North America, p. 31–54. Eberhard Reichmann, LaVern J. Rippley and Joerg Nagler, eds. Indianapolis: Max Kade German-American Center, Indiana University–Purdue University, Indianapolis, 1995.
• Duss, J. S. George Rapp and His Associates. Indianapolis, IN: Hollenbeck Press, 1914.
• Duss, J. S. The Harmonists: A Personal History. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Book Service, 1943.
• English, Eileen A. "A Brief Interlude of Peace for George Rapp's Harmony Society." Communal Societies 26.1 (2006): 37–45.
• Federal Writers' Project (Beaver County, PA). The Harmony Society in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, PA: William Penn Association, 1937.
• Feurige Kohlen, der aufsteigenden Liebesflammen im Lustspiel der Weisheit; einer nachdenkenden Gesellschaft gewidmet. Harmony Society in Oekonomie, Pennsylvania, 1826.
• Fogarty, Robert S. All Things New: American Communes and Utopian Movements, 1860–1914. University of Chicago Press, 1990.
• Fogarty, Robert S. Dictionary of American Communal and Utopian History. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1980.
• Fritz, Eberhard. Johann Georg Rapp (1757–1847) und die Separatisten in Iptingen. Mit einer Edition der relevanten Iptinger Kirchenkonventsprotokolle. Blätter für Wuerttembergische Kirchengeschichte 95/1995. S. 129–203.
• Fritz, Eberhard. Radikaler Pietismus in Württemberg. Religioese Ideale im Konflikt mit gesellschaftlichen Realitaeten. Quellen und Forschungen zur wuerttembergischen Kirchengeschichte Band 18. Epfendorf 2003.
• Fritz, Eberhard. Separatistinnen und Separatisten in Wuerttemberg und in angrenzenden Territorien. Ein biografisches Verzeichnis. Arbeitsbücher des Vereins für Familien- und Wappenkunde. Stuttgart 2005. (Register of Separatists in Wuerttemberg, including most of Rapp's followers.)
• Gormly, Agnes M. Hays. Economy: A Unique Community. Sewickley, PA: Gilbert Adams Hays, 1910.
• Gormly, Agnes M. Hays. Old Economy: The Harmony Society. Sewickley, PA: Gilbert Adams Hays, 1904.
• Hays, George A. The Churches of the Harmony Society. Ambridge, PA: Old Economy, 1964.
• Hays, George A. Founders of the Harmony Society. Ambridge, PA: Old Economy, 1961.
• Henderson, Lois T. The Holy Experiment: A Novel About the Harmonist Society. [Fiction]. Hicksville, NY: Exposition Press, 1974.
• Hinds, Alfred. American Communities. rev. ed. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr and Co., 1902.
• Historic New Harmony. (2008). "The Harmonie Society". University of Southern Indiana. Retrieved 2012-6-15.
• Holloway, Mark. Heavens on Earth: Utopian Communities in America, 1680–1880. New York: Dover Publications, 1966.
• Karl Bernhard of Saxe Weimar Eisenach, Travels through North America, during the Years 1825 and 1826 2 vols. Philadelphia, 1828.
• Knoedler, Christiana F. The Harmony Society: A 19th-Century American Utopia. New York: Vantage Press, 1954.
• Kring, Hilda. The Harmonists: A Folk-Cultural Approach. Metuchen, NY: The Scarecrow Press and The American Theological Library Association, 1973.
• Krueger, Nancy. "The Woolen and Cotton Manufactory of the Harmony Society with Emphasis on the Indiana Years 1814–1825." M.A. thesis, State University of New York College at Oneonta, 1983.
• Larner Jr., John W. "Nails and Sundrie Medicines: Town Planning and Public Health in the Harmony Society, 1805–1840." The Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine 45, no. 2 (June 1962): 115–138.
• Lockridge Jr., Ross. The Labyrinth. Westport, Conn. Hyperion, 1975.
• Lockwood, George Browning. The New Harmony Communities. Marion, IN: Chronicle Company, 1902.
• Mason, Harrison Denning. Old Economy as I knew it: Impressions of the Harmonites, their village and its surroundings, as seen almost a half-century ago. Crafton, PA: Cramer Printing and Publishing Company, 1926.
• Matter, Evelyn P. The Great House [George Rapp House] Constructed 1826 and Frederick Rapp House Constructed about 1828 at Old Economy. Old Economy, PA: Harmonie Associates, 1970.
• Miller, Melvin R. "Education in the Harmony Society, 1805–1905." Ph.D. diss., University of Pittsburgh, 1972.
• Morris, James Matthew, and Andrea L. Kross. Historical Dictionary of Utopianism. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2004.
• Nordhoff, Charles. Communistic Societies of the United States. New York, 1874.
• Oved, Yaacov. Two Hundred Years of American Communes. Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1988.
• Passavant, William A., "A Visit to Economy in the Spring of 1840." Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine 4 (July 1921): 144–149.
• Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Bibliography of the Harmony Society: With Special Reference to Old Economy. Ambridge: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1968.
• Pitzer, Donald E. America's Communal Utopias. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997.
• Pitzer, Donald E., and Josephine M. Elliott. New Harmony's first Utopians, 1814–1824. Indiana Magazine of History 75, no. 3 (1979): 225–300.
• Rapp, George. Thoughts on the Destiny of Man Particularly with Reference to the Present Times. Harmony Society in Indiana, 1824.
• Rauscher, Julian. "Des Separatisten G. Rapp Leben und Treiben" Theologische Studien aus Württemberg 6 (1885): 253–313.
• Reibel, Daniel B. Bibliography of items related to the Harmony Society with special reference to Old Economy. Ambridge: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1969, rev. 1977.
• Reibel, Daniel B. A Guide to Old Economy. Old Economy, PA: Harmonie Associates, 1969.
• Reibel, Daniel B. Walking tour of the historic area of Ambridge, Pennsylvania: Being the former village of Economy, 1824–1902. Ambridge, PA: Harmonie Associates, 1978.
• Reibel, Daniel B., and Art Becker. Old Economy Village: Pennsylvania Trail of History Guide. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2002.
• Reibel, Daniel B., and Mary Lou Golembeski. Selected Reprints from the Harmonie Herald, 1966–1979. Ambridge: Old Economy Village, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1980.
• Reibel, Daniel B., and Patricia B. Reibel. A manual for guides, docents, hostesses, and volunteers of Old Economy. Ambridge, PA: Harmonie Associates, 1974.
• Reibel, Harold B. Readings concerning the Harmony Society in Pennsylvania: Drawn from the accounts of travelers and articles in the Harmonie Herald. Harrisburg, PA, 1978.
• Reichmann, Eberhard, and Ruth Reichmann. The Harmonists: Two Points of View." In Emigration and Settlement Patterns of German Communities in North America, p. 371–380. Eberhard Reichmann, LaVern J. Rippley, and Joerg Nagler, eds. Indianapolis: Max Kade German-American Center, Indiana University–Purdue University, Indianapolis, 1995.
• Ritter, Christine C. "Life in early America, Father Rapp and the Harmony Society." Early American Life 9 (1978): 40–43, 71–72.
• Sasse, Angela. "The Religious Celibate Community in Indiana: Yesterday and Today". In German Influence on Religion in Indiana. Studies in Indiana German Americana Series, Vol. 2, 1995, p. 38–52.
• Schema, Hermann. Gemeinschaftssiedlungen auf religiöser und weltanschaulicher Grundlage. Tübingen, 1969.
• Schneck, J., and Richard Owen. The Rappites: Interesting Notes about Early New Harmony; George Rapp's reform society based on the New Testament. Evansville, IN: Courier Company, 1890.
• Schwab, David, comp. (2010-5-20). "The Harmony Society". U.S. Army Corps of Engineers–Pittsburgh District. 2004-12-3. Retrieved 2012-6-3.
• Slater, Larry R. Ambridge (Pennsylvania). In Images of America. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia, 2008.
• Stewart, Arthur I., and J. O. Gilbert. Harmony; commemorating the centennial of the Borough of Harmony, Pennsylvania, 1838–1938. Harmony, PA: Stewart, 1938.
• Stewart, Arthur I., and Loran W. Veith. Harmony : commemorating the sesquicentennial of Harmony, Pennsylvania, 1805–1955. Harmony, PA: Stewart, 1955.
• Stockwell, Foster. Encyclopedia of American Communes, 1663–1963. Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, 1998.
• Straube, Carl Frederick. Rise and Fall of Harmony Society, Economy, PA and Other Poems. Pittsburgh, PA: Press of National Printing Co., 1911.
• Sutton, Robert Paul. Communal Utopias and the American Experience: Religious Communities, 1732–2000. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2003.
• Sutton, Robert Paul. Communal Utopias and the American Experience: Secular Communities, 1824–2000. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2004.
• Tate, John Matthew. Some notes, pictures and documents relating to the Harmony Society and its homes at Harmony, Pennsylvania, New Harmony, Indiana and Economy, Pennsylvania. Sewickley, PA, 1925.
• Taylor, Anne. Visions of Harmony: A Study of Nineteenth-Century Millenarianism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.
• Thies, Clifford F. "The Success of American Communes." Southern Economic Journal 67, no. 1 (July 2000): 186–199.
• Trahair, Richard C. S. Utopias and Utopians: An Historical Dictionary. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999.
• Versluis, Arthur. "Western Esotericism and The Harmony Society", Esoterica I, Michigan State University, 1999, pp. 20–47. Retrieved 2012-6-15.
• Wetzel, Richard D. Frontier Musicians on the Connoquenessing, Wabash, and Ohio: A History of the Music and Musicians of George Rapp's Harmony Society (1805–1906). Athens: Ohio University Press, 1976.
• Wetzel, Richard D. "The Music of George Rapp's Harmony Society: 1805–1906." Thesis/diss., University of Pittsburgh, 1970.
• Williams, Aaron. The Harmony Society at Economy, Pennsylvania, Founded by George Rapp, A.D. 1805. Pittsburgh: W.S. Haven, 1866.
• Wilson, William E. The Angel and the Serpent: The Story of New Harmony. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1964.
• Young, Marguerite. Angel in the Forest: A Fairy Tale of Two Utopias. [Fiction]. New York: Reynal and Hitchcock, 1945.
• Young, Norman C. Old Economy-Ambridge sesqui-centennial historical booklet. Ambridge, PA: The Committee, 1974.

External links

• Old Economy Village museum in Old Economy, Pennsylvania, administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, interpreting the history of the Harmony Society.
• The Harmony Museum of Harmony, Pennsylvania, operated by Historic Harmony, Inc.
• Historic New Harmony of New Harmony, Indiana, administered by the University of Southern Indiana and the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.
• Harmony Society Papers, PA State Archives
• Account of the Harmony Society and its beliefs
• The Harmonist Labyrinths
• "Harmonists" . New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
• John M. Tate, Jr. Collection of Notes, Pictures and Documents relating to the Harmony Society, 1806-1930, DAR.1946.02, Darlington Library, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh
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Poor Law Amendment Act 1834
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 5/19/20

Poor Law Amendment Act 1834
Long title: An Act for the Amendment and better Administration of the Laws relating to the Poor in England and Wales.
Citation: 4 & 5 Will. 4 c. 76
Territorial extent: England and Wales
Royal assent: 14 August 1834
Status: Repealed

The Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 (PLAA) known widely as the New Poor Law, was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed by the Whig government of Earl Grey. It completely replaced earlier legislation based on the Poor Law of 1601 and attempted to fundamentally change the poverty relief system in England and Wales (similar changes were made to the poor law for Scotland in 1845). It resulted from the 1832 Royal Commission into the Operation of the Poor Laws, which included Edwin Chadwick, John Bird Sumner and Nassau William Senior. Chadwick was dissatisfied with the law that resulted from his report. The Act was passed two years after the 1832 Reform Act extended the franchise to middle class men. Some historians have argued that this was a major factor in the PLAA being passed.

The Act has been described as "the classic example of the fundamental Whig-Benthamite reforming legislation of the period".[1] Its theoretical basis was Thomas Malthus's principle that population increased faster than resources unless checked, the "iron law of wages" and Jeremy Bentham's doctrine that people did what was pleasant and would tend to claim relief rather than working.[2]

Many viewed Malthus’ ideas as cold-hearted and viewed the Malthusian Population Theory as justification for the exploitation of the working-class people in the Industrial Revolution. For example, in Charles Dickens' famous story ‘A Christmas Carol’ the character of Ebenezer Scrooge expressed Malthus' ideas in an early scene. For instance, when approached by two men collecting donations for the poor, Scrooge responded by suggesting that the poor should die and “decrease the surplus population”. ‘A Christmas Carol’ was first published by Dickens in 1843, and is generally viewed as a critique of the social system present in England at the time. As such, Dickens’ portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge is viewed as a criticism of Malthus’ ideas.

-- Thomas Malthus, by History Crunch

The Act was intended to curb the cost of poor relief and address abuses of the old system, prevalent in southern agricultural counties, by enabling a new system to be brought in under which relief would only be given in workhouses, and conditions in workhouses would be such as to deter any but the truly destitute from applying for relief. The Act was passed by large majorities in Parliament, with only a few Radicals (such as William Cobbett) voting against. The act was implemented, but the full rigours of the intended system were never applied in Northern industrial areas; however, the apprehension that they would be was a contributor to the social unrest of the period.

The importance of the Poor Law declined with the rise of the welfare state in the 20th century. In 1948, the PLAA was repealed by the National Assistance Act 1948, which created the National Assistance Board to act as a residual relief agency.[3]

1832 Royal Commission's findings

Main article: Royal Commission into the Operation of the Poor Laws 1832

Alarmed at the cost of poor relief in the southern agricultural districts of England (where, in many areas, it had become a semi-permanent top-up of labourers' wages – the Allowance System, Roundsman System, or Speenhamland System), Parliament had set up a Royal Commission into the operation of the Poor Laws. The Commission's findings, which had probably been predetermined, were that the old system was badly and expensively run. The Commission's recommendations were based on two principles. The first was less eligibility: conditions within workhouses should be made worse than the worst conditions outside of them so that workhouses served as a deterrent, and only the neediest would consider entering them. The other was the "workhouse test": relief should only be available in the workhouse. Migration of rural poor to the city to find work was a problem for urban ratepayers under this system, since it raised their poor rates. The Commission's report recommended sweeping changes:[4]

Out-door relief: Poor people coming to a workhouse for food, c. 1840

• Out-relief should cease; relief should be given only in workhouses, and upon such terms that only the truly indigent would accept it. "Into such a house none will enter voluntarily; work, confinement, and discipline, will deter the indolent and vicious; and nothing but extreme necessity will induce any to accept the comfort which must be obtained by the surrender of their free agency, and the sacrifice of their accustomed habits and gratifications."[4]

Whilst this recommendation was a solution to existing problems consistent with "political economy", there was little consideration in the report of what new problems it might give rise to. There was little practical experience to support it; only four of the parishes reporting had entirely abolished out-relief, and their problem cases could well have simply been displaced to neighbouring parishes.[5]

• Different classes of paupers should be segregated; to this end, parishes should pool together in unions, with each of their poorhouses dedicated to a single class of paupers and serving the whole of the union. "[T]he separation of man and wife was necessary, in order to ensure the proper regulation of workhouses".[6]
In practice, most existing workhouses were ill-suited to the new system (characterised by opponents as locking up the poor in "Poor Law bastilles"), and many poor law unions soon found that they needed a new purpose-built union workhouse. Their purpose being to securely confine large numbers of the lower classes at low cost, they not unnaturally looked much like prisons.

• The new system would be undermined if different unions treated their paupers differently; there should therefore be a central board with powers to specify standards and to enforce those standards; this could not be done directly by Parliament because of the legislative workload that would ensue.
This arrangement was simultaneously justified as required to give absolute uniformity country-wide and as allowing regulations to be tailored to local circumstances without taking up Parliament's time.
• Mothers of illegitimate children should receive much less support; poor-law authorities should
no longer attempt to identify the fathers of illegitimate children and recover the costs of child support from them.

It was argued that penalising fathers of illegitimate children reinforced pressures for the parents of children conceived out of wedlock to marry, and generous payments for illegitimate children indemnified the mother against failure to marry. "The effect has been to promote bastardy; to make want of chastity on the woman's part the shortest road to obtaining either a husband or a competent maintenance; and to encourage extortion and perjury".[7]



Malthus' An Essay on the Principle of Population set out the influential doctrine that population growth was geometric, and that, unless checked, population increased faster than the ability of a country to feed it. This pressure explained the existence of poverty, which he justified theologically as a force for self-improvement and abstention. He saw any assistance to the poor—such as given by the old poor laws—as self-defeating, temporarily removing the pressure of want from the poor while leaving them free to increase their families, thus leading to greater number of people in want and an apparently greater need for relief. His views were influential and hotly debated without always being understood, and opposition to the old Poor Law which peaked between 1815 and 1820 was described by both sides as "Malthusian".[8]

Of those serving on the Commission, the economist Nassau William Senior identified his ideas with Malthus while adding more variables, and Bishop John Bird Sumner as a leading Evangelical was more persuasive than Malthus himself in incorporating the Malthusian principle of population into the Divine Plan, taking a less pessimistic view and describing it as producing benefits such as the division of property, industry, trade and European civilisation.

Iron law of wages

David Ricardo's "iron law of wages" held that aid given to poor workers under the old Poor Law to supplement their wages had the effect of undermining the wages of other workers, so that the Roundsman System and Speenhamland system led employers to reduce wages, and needed reform to help workers who were not getting such aid and rate-payers whose poor-rates were going to subsidise low-wage employers.[2]


Edwin Chadwick, a major contributor to the Commission's report, developed Jeremy Bentham's theory of utilitarianism, the idea that the success of something could be measured by whether it secured the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. This idea of utilitarianism underpinned the Poor Law Amendment Act. Bentham believed that "the greatest good for the greatest number" could only be achieved when wages found their true levels in a free-market system. Chadwick believed that the poor rate would reach its "correct" level when the workhouse was seen as a deterrent and fewer people claimed relief. A central authority was needed to ensure a uniform poor law regime for all parishes and to ensure that that regime deterred applications for relief; that is, to ensure a free market for labour required greater state intervention in poor relief.

Bentham's argument that people chose pleasant options and would not do what was unpleasant provided a rationale for making relief unpleasant so that people would not claim it, "stigmatising" relief so that it became "an object of wholesome horror".[2]

Terms of the Poor Law Amendment Act

A "Poor Law Bastille": 1835 model design of a workhouse to hold 300 paupers...

... 'classified' (men, women, girls, boys) and segregated accordingly

When the Act was introduced, it did not legislate for a detailed Poor Law regime. Instead, it set up a three-man Poor Law Commission, an "at arms' length" quango to which Parliament delegated the power to make appropriate regulations, without making any provision for effective oversight of the Commission's doings. Local poor-rates payers still elected their local Board of Poor Law Guardians and still paid for local poor law provisions, but those provisions could be specified to the Board of Guardians by the Poor Law Commission; where they were, the views of the local rate-payers were irrelevant. The principles upon which the Commission was to base its regulations were not specified. The workhouse test and the idea of "less eligibility" were therefore never mentioned. "Classification of paupers" was neither specified nor prohibited (during passage of the Act, an amendment by William Cobbett forbidding the separation of man and wife had been defeated), and the recommendation of the Royal Commission that "outdoor relief" (relief given outside of a workhouse) should be abolished was reflected only in a clause that any outdoor relief should only be given under a scheme submitted to and approved by the Commissioners.

The Poor Law Commission was independent of Parliament, but conversely, since none of its members sat in Parliament,[9]:clause 8 it had no easy way of defending itself against criticism in Parliament. It was recognised that individual parishes would not have the means to erect or maintain workhouses suitable for implementing the policies of "no outdoor relief" and segregation and confinement of paupers; consequently, the Commission was given powers to order the formation of Poor Law Unions (confederations of parishes) large enough to support a workhouse.[9]:clause 26 The Commission was empowered to overturn any Unions previously established under Gilbert's Act, but only if at least two-thirds of the Union's Guardians supported this.[9]:clause 32 Each Union was to have a Board of Guardians elected by rate-payers and property owners;[9]:clause 38 those with higher rateable-value property were to have multiple votes, as for the Select Vestries set up under Sturges-Bourne's Acts.[9]:clause 40 The Commission had no powers to insist that Unions built new workhouses (except where a majority of Guardians or rate-payers had given written consent),[9]:clause 23 but they could order improvements to be made to existing ones.[9]:clause 25 The Commission was explicitly given powers to specify the number and salaries of Poor Law Board employees and to order their dismissal.[9]:clause 46 It could order the "classification" of workhouse inmates[9]:clause 26 and specify the extent to which (and conditions under which) out-door relief could be given.[9]:clause 52
Clause 15 of the Act gave the Commission sweeping powers:

That from and after the passing of this Act the Administration of Relief to the Poor throughout England and Wales, according to the existing Laws, or such Laws as shall be in force at the Time being, shall be subject to the Direction and Control of the said Commissioners; and for executing the Powers given to them by this Act the said Commissioners shall and are hereby authorized and required, from Time to Time as they shall see Occasion, to make and Issue all such Rules, Orders, and Regulations for the Management of the Poor, for the Government of Workhouses and the Education of the Children therein, ... and for the apprenticing the Children of poor Persons, and for the Guidance and Control of all Guardians, Vestries, and Parish Officers, so far as relates to the Management or Relief of the Poor, and the keeping, examining, auditing, and allowing of Accounts, and making and entering into Contracts in all Matters relating to such Management or Relief, or to any Expenditure for the Relief of the Poor, and for carrying this Act into execution in all other respects, as they shall think proper; and the said Commissioners may, at their Discretion, from Time to Time suspend, alter, or rescind such Rules, Orders, and Regulations, or any of them: Provided always, that nothing in this Act contained shall be construed as enabling the said Commissioners or any of them to interfere in any individual Case for the Purpose of ordering Relief.[9]:clause 15

General Rules could only be made by the Commissioners themselves[9]:clause 12 and had to be notified to a Secretary of State.[9]:clause 16 Any new General Rules had to be laid before Parliament at the start of the next session.[9]:clause 17 General Rules were those issued to the Guardians of more than one Union. Therefore, there was no provision for Parliamentary scrutiny of policy changes (e.g., on the extent to which out-door relief would be permitted) affecting a number of Poor Law Unions, provided these were implemented by separate directives to each Union involved.[10]

The Act specified penalties which could be imposed upon persons failing to comply with the directives of the Poor Law Commission (£5 on first offence; £20 for second offence, fine and imprisonment on the third offence).[9]:clause 98 However, it did not identify any means of penalising parishes or Unions which had not formed a legally constituted Board of Guardians. Poor Law Unions were to be the necessary administrative unit for the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths introduced in 1837.

The Act did give paupers some rights. Lunatics could not be held in a workhouse for more than a fortnight;[9]:clause 45 workhouse inmates could not be forced to attend religious services of a denomination other than theirs (nor could children be instructed in a religious creed objected to by their parent(s)); they were to be allowed to be visited by a minister of their religion.[9]:clause 19


One of the "Somerset House Despots": Sir Thomas Frankland Lewis, Chairman of Poor Law Commission 1834–39

The central body set up to administer the new system was the Poor Law Commission. The Commission worked in Somerset House (hence epithets such as The Bashaws of Somerset House[11]) and was initially made up of:

• Thomas Frankland Lewis – former Tory MP
• George Nicholls – Overseer of the old system
• John George Shaw Lefevre – A lawyer

Chadwick—an author of the Royal Commission's report—was Secretary.

The Commission's powers allowed it to specify policies for each Poor Law Union, and policy did not have to be uniform. Implementation of the New Poor Law administrative arrangements was phased in, starting with the Southern counties whose problems the Act had been designed to address. There was a gratifying reduction in poor-rates, but also horror tales of paupers ill-treated or relief refused. Some paupers were induced to migrate from the Southern to Northern towns, leading to a suspicion in the North that the New Poor Law was intended to drive wages down. By 1837, when roll-out of the new arrangements reached the textile districts of Lancashire and Yorkshire, trade was in recession. The usual response to this was for hours of work to be reduced, with pay reducing correspondingly and out-door relief being given to those who could not make ends meet on short-time earnings. This was clearly incompatible with a policy of "no out-door relief", and, despite assurances from the Poor Law Commission that there was no intention to apply that policy in the textile districts, they were not believed and a number of textile towns resisted (or rioted in response to) efforts to introduce the new arrangements. This resistance was eventually overcome, but outdoor relief was never abolished in many Northern districts, although the possibility existed. Policy officially changed after the passing of the Outdoor Labour Test Order, which "allowed" outdoor relief.

Problems with the Poor Law Amendment Act

After 1834, Poor Law policy aimed to transfer unemployed rural workers to urban areas where there was work, and protect urban ratepayers from paying too much.

It was impossible to achieve both these aims, as the principle of less eligibility made people search for work in towns and cities. Workhouses were built and paupers transferred to these urban areas. However, the Settlement Laws were used to protect ratepayers from paying too much. Workhouse construction and the amalgamation of unions was slow. Outdoor relief did continue after the PLAA was introduced.

The board issued further edicts on outdoor relief:

• Outdoor Labour Test Order
• Outdoor Relief Prohibitory Order

The implementation of the Act proved impossible, particularly in the industrial north which suffered from cyclical unemployment. The cost of implementing the Settlement Laws in operation since the 17th century was also high and so these were not implemented fully: it often proved too costly to enforce the removal of paupers. The Commission could issue directives, but these were often not implemented fully and in some cases ignored in order to save on expenses (Darwin Leadbitter 1782–1840 was in charge of the commission's finances).

The PLAA was implemented differently and unevenly across England and Wales. One of the criticisms of the 1601 Poor Law was its varied implementation. The law was also interpreted differently in different parishes, as these areas varied widely in their economic prosperity, and the levels of unemployment experienced within them, leading to an uneven system. Local Boards of Guardians also interpreted the law to suit the interests of their own parishes, resulting in an even greater degree of local variation.

The poor working-class including the agricultural laborers and factory workers also opposed the New Poor Law Act because the diet in workhouses was inadequate to sustain workers' health and nutrition. The Times even named this act as "the starvation act." Even more, the act forced workers to relocate to the locations of workhouses which separated families.[12]

Opposition to the Poor Law

Main article: Opposition to the Poor Law

Fierce hostility and organised opposition from workers, politicians and religious leaders eventually led to the Amendment Act being amended, removing the very harsh measures of the workhouses to a certain degree. The Andover workhouse scandal, in which conditions in the Andover Union Workhouse were found to be inhumane and dangerous, prompted investigation by a Commons select committee, whose report commented scathingly on the dysfunctionality of the Poor Law Commission. As a consequence Government legislation replaced the Poor Law Commission with a Poor Law Board under much closer government supervision and parliamentary scrutiny.

Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist harshly criticises the Poor Law. In 1835 sample dietary tables were issued by the Poor law Commissioners for use in union workhouses.[13] Dickens details the meagre diet of Oliver’s workhouse and points it up in the famous scene of the boy asking for more. Dickens also comments sarcastically on the notorious measure which consisted in separating married couples on admission to the workhouse: "instead of compelling a man to support his family [they] took his family from him, and made him a bachelor! " Like the other children, Oliver was "denied the benefit of exercise" and compelled to carry out the meaningless task of untwisting and picking old ropes although he had been assured that he would be "educated and taught a useful trade.[14]"

In the North of England particularly, there was fierce resistance; the local people considered that the existing system there was running smoothly. They argued that the nature of cyclical unemployment meant that any new workhouse built would be empty for most of the year and thus a waste of money. However, the unlikely union between property owners and paupers did not last, and opposition, though fierce, eventually petered out. In some cases, this was further accelerated as the protests very successfully undermined parts of the Amendment Act and became obsolete.[clarification needed]


According to a 2019 study, the 1834 welfare reform had no impact on rural wages, labor mobility or the fertility rate of the poor. The study concludes, "this deliberately induced suffering gained little for the land and property owners who funded poor relief. Nor did it raise wages for the poor, or free up migration to better opportunities in the cities. One of the first great triumphs of the new discipline of Political Economy, the reform of the Poor Laws, consequently had no effects on economic growth and economic performance in Industrial Revolution England."[15]

See also

• English Poor Laws


1. The Poor Law Amendment Act: 14 August 1834
2. Spicker, Paul, British social policy 1601–1948, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen: Centre for Public Policy and Management, archived from the original on 24 July 2007, retrieved 13 December 2008
3. Boyer, George. "English Poor Laws". Economic History Association.
4. Senior, Nassau; Chadwick, Edwin (1834), Poor Law Commissioners' Report of 1834, London: H.M. Stationery Office
5. Speech of Mr Paulett Scrope (c1321)in "Poor-Laws Amendment—Committee". Hansard House of Commons Debates. 23: cc1320-49. 26 May 1834. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
6. Speech of Lord Althorp (c 339) in "Poor Laws' Amendment—Committee". Hansard House of Commons Debates. 24: cc324-40. 9 June 1834. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
7. "Mr Cowell's report" quoted in "The Amendment of the Poor Laws". The Examiner. 20 April 1834. (J W Cowell was one of the Assistant Commissioners of the Royal Commission)
8. Poynter, John (1998), "Malthus and his critics", Malthus Bicentenary Conference, National Library of Australia, Canberra: National Academies Forum, archived from the original on 20 October 2008, retrieved 13 December 2008
9. "4&5 William IV c LXXVI. : An Act for the Amendment and better Administration of the Laws relating to the Poor in England and Wales". The Workhouse. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
10. "Leicester Journal: Friday, August 10, 1838". Leicester Journal. 10 August 1838.
11. "Workhouse – a fact of life in the Industrial Revolution". Cotton Times. Archived from the original on 14 December 2007.
12. Hamlin, Christopher (June 1995). "Could You Starve to Death in England in 1839? The Chadwick-Farr Controversy and the Loss of the "Social" in Public Healh". American Journal of Public Health. 85 (6): 856–866. doi:10.2105/ajph.85.6.856. PMC 1615507. PMID 7762726.
13. "The Workhouse – The Story of an institution". Retrieved 16 April 2019.
14. Dickens, Charles (1966). Oliver Twist. London: Penguin Books. pp. 54 and seq. ISBN 0140430172.
15. Clark, Gregory; Page, Marianne E. (2019). "Welfare reform, 1834: Did the New Poor Law in England produce significant economic gains?". Cliometrica. 13 (2): 221–244. doi:10.1007/s11698-018-0174-4. ISSN 1863-2505.

Further reading

• Blaug, Mark. "The Myth of the Old Poor Law and the Making of the New". Journal of Economic History 23 (1963): 151–84. online
• Boyer, James, et al. "English Poor Laws." EHnet; summary and historiography
• Brundage, Anthony. The making of the new Poor law: the politics of inquiry, enactment, and implementation, 1832–1839 (1978).
• Durbach, Najda. "Roast Beef, the New Poor Law, and the British Nation, 1834–1863". Journal of British Studies 52.4 (2013): 963–89.
• Englander, David. Poverty and Poor Law Reform in Nineteenth-Century Britain, 1834–1914: From Chadwick to Booth (1998) excerpt
• Filtness, David. "Poverty's Policeman" History Today (Feb 2014) 64#2 pp. 32–39.
• Finer, Samuel Edward. The life and times of Sir Edwin Chadwick (1952) excerpt pp. 39–114.
• Lees, Lynn Hollen, The Solidarities of Strangers: The English Poor Laws and the People, 1700–1948 (Cambridge UP, 1998).
• Rose, M.E. ed. The English Poor Law, 1780–1930 (1971)
• Thane, Pat. "Women and the Poor Law in Victorian and Edwardian England," History Workshop Journal 6#1 (1978), pp 29–51,

External links

• Text of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act
• Spartacus article on the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act
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