Brook Farm

Brook Farm, 1841–47, an experimental farm at West Roxbury, Mass., based on cooperative living. Founded by George Ripley, a Unitarian minister, the farm was initially financed by a joint-stock company with 24 shares of stock at $500 per share. Each member was to take part in the manual labor in an attempt to make the group self-sufficient. Intellectual life was stimulating, with such members as Nathaniel Hawthorne, John S. Dwight, Charles A. Dana, and Isaac Hecker, and such visitors as Ralph Waldo Emerson, W. E. Channing, Margaret Fuller, Horace Greeley, and Orestes Brownson. Brook Farm was mainly an outgrowth of Unitarianism, although most of the members had left that church and were advocates of the literary and philosophical movement known as transcendentalism. Economically, the community's excellent school was the most successful part of the venture (anticipating John Dewey's progressive-education ideas of learning from experience); agriculture showed little profit because of the sandy soil and the inexperience of the farmers. The popularity of the doctrines of Charles Fourier led, especially through the efforts of Albert Brisbane, to Brook Farm's conversion to a phalanx in 1844. The group, however, did not long survive the financial disaster of the burning (1846) of the uncompleted central building. The Harbinger (1845–49), printed at Brook Farm and edited by Ripley, was rather a Fourierist weekly newspaper than the organ of Brook Farm and was continued in New York City with Parke Godwin as editor after 1847.

See E. R. Curtis, A Season in Utopia (1961, repr. 1971).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Brook Farm: Selected full-text books and articles

A Season in Utopia: The Story of Brook Farm
Edith Roelker Curtis.
Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1961
Transcendental Utopias: Individual and Community at Brook Farm, Fruitlands, and Walden
Richard Francis.
Cornell University Press, 1997
Escape to Utopia: The Communal Movement in America
Everett Webber.
Hastings House, 1959
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Eleven "Equity, Fourier, Brook Farm, and the Phalanxes: The Court of Love was Overruled"
Brotherly Tomorrows: Movements for a Cooperative Society in America, 1820-1920
Edward K. Spann.
Columbia University Press, 1989
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IV "Individuality and Brook Farm"
Utopias and Utopians: An Historical Dictionary
Richard C. S. Trahair.
Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Brook Farm Colony" begins on p. 49
America's Communal Utopias
Donald E. Pitzer.
University of North Carolina Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "Brook Farm and the Fourierist Phalanxes: Immediatism, Gradualism, and American Utopian Socialism" begins on p. 159
American Transcendentalism, 1830-1860: An Intellectual Inquiry
Paul F. Boller Jr.
G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1974
Librarian’s tip: "Ripley and Brook Farm" begins on p. 122
The Periodicals of American Transcendentalism
Clarence L. F. Gohdes.
Duke University Press, 1931
Librarian’s tip: Chap. V "The Harbinger"
Making Sense of Failure: From Death to Resurrection in Nineteenth-Century American Communitarianism
McKanan, Dan.
Utopian Studies, Vol. 18, No. 2, Spring 2007
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
A Utopia of "Spheres and Sympathies": Science and Society in the Blithedale Romance and at Brook Farm
White, Craig.
Utopian Studies, Spring 1998
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
`Housekeeping Hereafter': The Preservation of Domesticity in a Technological Utopia
Hardy, Robert.
Utopian Studies, Vol. 13, No. 2, Spring 2002
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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