John Humphrey Noyes

John Humphrey Noyes, 1811–86, American reformer, founder of the Oneida community, b. Brattleboro, Vt. He studied theology at Yale but lost his license to preach because of his "perfectionist" doctrine. This took its name from Mat. 5.48 and was based on the belief that man's innate sinlessness could be regained through communion with Christ. At Putney, Vt., he formed (1839) a society of Bible communists, later called Perfectionists. In 1846 they began the practice of complex marriage, a form of polygamy, but this so aroused their neighbors that Noyes was forced to flee. In 1848 he established another community at Oneida, N.Y. (and later a branch at Wallingford, Conn.), where he developed his religious and social experiments in communal living. By 1879 internal dissension had arisen and outside hostility became so strong that Noyes went to Canada, where he spent the rest of his life. His writings include The Berean (1847, repr. 1969) and many pamphlets.

See G. W. Noyes, comp., Religious Experience of John Humphrey Noyes (1923, repr. 1971) and John Humphrey Noyes: the Putney Community (1931); R. A. Parker, A Yankee Saint (1935); P. B. Noyes, My Father's House (1937); C. N. Robertson, ed., Oneida Community (1970).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

John Humphrey Noyes: Selected full-text books and articles

Religious Experience of John Humphrey Noyes, Founder of the Oneida Community By George Wallingford Noyes; George Wallingford Noyes Macmillan, 1923
History of American Socialisms By John Humphrey Noyes Hillary House, 1961
A Baker's Dozen: Thirteen Unusual Americans By Russel B. Nye Michigan State University Press, 1956
Librarian’s tip: "John Humphrey Noyes" begins on p. 141
An Ordered Love: Sex Roles and Sexuality in Victorian Utopias: The Shakers, the Mormons, and the Oneida Community By Louis J. Kern University of North Carolina Press, 1981
Librarian’s tip: "The Perfect Love of God: John Humphrey Noyes, Founder of the Oneida Community" begins on p. 207
Women, Family, and Utopia: Communal Experiments of the Shakers, the Oneida Community, and the Mormons By Lawrence Foster Syracuse University Press, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of John Humphrey Noyes in multiple chapters
America's Communal Utopias By Donald E. Pitzer University of North Carolina Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "Free Love and Community: John Humphrey Noyes and the Oneida Perfectionists" begins on p. 253
Escape to Utopia: The Communal Movement in America By Everett Webber Hastings House, 1959
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Nineteen "Oneida and the Perfect Race"
A Miscellany of American Christianity: Essays in Honor of H. Shelton Smith By Stuart C. Henry Duke University Press, 1963
Librarian’s tip: "The Communitarian Quest for Perfection" begins on p. 48
Traitors to the Masculine Cause: The Men's Campaigns for Women's Rights By Sylvia Strauss Greenwood Press, 1982
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "The Shaping of the New Woman: Free Love and Erotic Rights"
Readings on the Changing Family By David A. Schulz; Robert A. Wilson Prentice-Hall, 1973
Librarian’s tip: "The Practice of Perfection" begins on p. 207
Religion in the Development of American Culture, 1765-1840 By William Warren Sweet Charles Scribner's Sons, 1952
Librarian’s tip: "Religious Communitarianism" begins on p. 292
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