Date of Award

Summer 1985

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

James L. Bugg, Jr.

Committee Member

Peter Stewart

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H85M67


This thesis examines the historical literature regarding the Oneida Community (1848-81) from the society's conceptual beginnings in the 1830s to the present time. After an overview of the antebellum communitarian movement in the United States, a detailed description of the Oneida Community, one of America's most prominent nineteenth-century utopian experiments, is presented.

Chapters III, IV, and V survey the body of literature pertinent to the Oneida Community and its founder and spiritual leader, John Humphrey Noyes, over the last 145 years. The writings of the Oneida apologists, a majority of whom were Oneida Community family members and their descendants, are examined chronologically in Chapter III. In contrast, Chapter IV emphasizes the negative commentary on Oneida by "outsiders" dating from the late 1840s through the 1950s. It also highlights the favorable criticism formulated in these same years. The fifth and final chapter illustrates that contemporary opinion since 1960 has generally been favorable to the Oneida experiment, perhaps influenced by the social mores of the twentieth century.


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