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Oneida Community Collection

The Oneida Community Collection in the Syracuse University Library

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Call number: Oneida HX656.O58 S9 1961o

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The Oneida Community Collection
in the
Syracuse University Library

The Oneida Community Collection
in the
Syracuse University Library

Foreword by


Professor Of History, Syracuse University

Introduction and Bibliographical Notes by


Librarian, Lena R. Arents Rare Book Room
Syracuse University Library

Syracuse, New York

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 61-9120



Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Books and Pamphlets by John Humphrey Noyes . . . 11

Books and Pamphlets about the Oneida Community and John Humphrey Noyes . . . . . 13

Serial Publications Issued or Edited by John Humphrey Noyes
or by the Communities with Which He Was Associated . 18

Miscellaneous Publications . . . . . . . . 27

Manuscript Materials in the Syracuse University Library Relating to the Oneida Community . . . . 3

Syracuse University and the Oneida Community . . . 35

General Social Reform Publications . . . . . . 37



But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

1 John 1:7

THE ONEIDA COMMUNITY was an experiment in Christian perfectionism, the doctrine that by union with God persons could live lives entirely free from sin. It was radical in the thoroughness with which this challenging ideal was pursued.

The Community was founded in 1848 by John Humphrey Noyes, who rivals Joseph Smith for the distinction of being the most controversial figure in American religious history. Born in 1811 in Brattleboro, Vermont, and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1830, Noyes gave up the study of law and began to prepare for the ministry after experiencing conversion during one of the revivals then sweeping the country. After a year at Andover Theological Seminary he transferred to the Yale Theological Seminary, where, still a student, he was licensed to preach by the local Congregational Association in 1833.

Speaking frequently at the New Haven Free Church, a center of emotional evangelism, young Noyes found himself increasingly attracted to the idea of Christian perfection. He was only one of many turning in this direction. Since 1828 preachers proclaiming the perfectionist point of view had been creating a great stir, particularly around New York City, Albany, and Central New York State. These early perfectionists were mostly variant Methodists who had seized upon John Wesley's teaching that perfect holiness was a theoretical possibility and a goal worthy of the efforts of his more spiritual followers. The New York perfectionists shook off the caution with which



Wesley had stated his ideas and made this the central emphasis of their preaching. From the beginning, orthodox Presbyterians and Congregationalists had regarded perfectionism as a dangerous heresy:

complete emancipation from sin was to them a goal to be achieved only in Heaven, not by presumptuous men on earth.

When, therefore, on February 20, 1834, Noyes took the occasion of a sermon at the New Haven Free Church to announce that he had achieved full salvation from sin, he created a great stir both in the town and the college. Two months later the Congregational Association revoked his license on the ground that he had adopted views on perfection which were "erroneous, unscriptural, and inconsistent with his usefulness as a preacher of the gospel." He was also expelled from the Theological Seminary.

Though branded a heretic, Noyes was unrepentant. "I have taken away their license to sin, and they keep on sinning," he declared. "So, though they have taken away my license to preach, I shall keep on preaching." For the next three years he lived a highly irregular life, winning a few converts here and there as he visited New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, and many smaller places. Often penniless and homeless, the perfectionist prophet trudged many miles on foot, sometimes sleeping in haylofts and public parks. The two poles between which his activities increasingly oscillated were New Haven and Putney, Vermont, where his parents lived. At New Haven Noyes collaborated fitfully with James Boyle, ousted pastor of the Free Church, in publishing The Perfectionist, a journal devoted to propagating the new doctrine. Visiting the family home at Putney from time to time, Noyes provided a tantalizing puzzle for his father, mother, sisters, and brothers. At first they feared that his extraordinary behavior was cvidence of insanity, but in the end his burning conviction won over most of them to become his faithful disciples.

Noyes's wanderings of these years symbolized the utter confusion prevailing through the whole perfectionist movement. Without any generally accepted leader and with wide divergences of doctrine, the perfectionists constituted not a sect, but a bewildering kaleidoscope of individual mystics and local groups. Emphasizing their freedom from bondage to the moral law, some of the perfectionists shocked Noyes with their licentiousness.


Beginning in 1837, Noyes displayed a new purposefulness in his activities. In a letter to one of his disciples he wrote:

Between this present time and the establishment of God's kingdom over the earth lies a chaos of confusions, tribulation and war such as must attend the destruction of the fashion of this world and the introduction of the will of God as it is dune in heaven. God has set me to cast up a highway across this chaos, and I am gathering out the stones and grading the track as fast as possible.

Noyes's highway depended in part on theology and in part on organization. Boyle had now deserted perfectionism for other enthusiasms, and Boyle's New Haven paper with which Noyes had been loosely associated was dead. The way was consequently open for Noyes to found his own journal, The Witness. Published first out of Ithaca, New York, but later transferred to Putney, this paper provided Noyes with the means for propagating a more stable brand of perfectionism. On the one hand, he maintained the freedom of believers from all outward law; on the other, he insisted on another and higher discipline. Right conduct must be based on love of God and an understanding of the truth. The truth would be made manifest through instruction and leadership, which Noyes felt himself divinely commissioned to provide.

In 1843 Noyes wrote:

This reflected the growing emphasis which he now laid on organizing his followers into a tightly-knit association. By this time he had won a substantial number of converts at Putney, one of whom, a woman of some means named Harriet Holton, he had married in 1838. These provided the members for the "Putney Corporation or Association of Perfectionists," formally organized in 1845.

The Putney Association put into practice theories which Noyes had been developing over several years. The most radical of these was what he called "complex marriage." Rejecting conventional marriage


both as a form of legalism from which Christians should be free and as a selfish institution in which men exerted rights of ownership over women, the Putney group regarded themselves all as members of a single family. They also employed a form of birth control called "male continence," developed by Noyes and described in explicit detail, after the experience of his own wife Harriet impressed him with the sinfulness of burdening women with too frequent pregnancies.

Alas for human paradoxes, what was emancipation from sin for the perfectionists seemed only indulgence in sin to their unbelieving neighbors! A series of indignation meetings in nearby villages and threats of legal prosecution convinced Noyes in 1847 that it would be prudent to move his great experiment to some more favorable site. At the invitation of Jonathan Burt and other Central New York perfectionists, the Putney group found a new home on a beautiful tract near Oneida in Madison County, New York.

Organized on February 1, 1848, the Oneida Community practiced what Noyes called "Bible Communism." Since selfishness must be done away with, all claims of "mine and thine" were renounced, whether in property or in persons. Thus, the leader believed, the perfectionists were returning to the social practices of the primitive apostolic church. At first the colonists made only a sparse living from farming and fruit-growing, but in time they established highly profitable industries. One of their members invented a superior type of steel trap which gained a wide market; subsequent successful ventures took the Community into the making of steel chains, the canning of fruits and vegetables, and the manufacture of sewing thread and embroidery silk. Even though the Community grew to some 350 members and maintained a branch at Wallingford, Connecticut, the demand for labor was such that many non-Community members were employed for wages. In 1877 the Wallingford branch began the manufacture of silver-plated tableware, and three years later this promising industry was transferred to Niagara Falls, New York.

Paralleling this thriving economic activity was a wide range of intellectual pursuits. The Community published a succession of periodicals and many pamphlets and books. Great emphasis was placed upon education, with excellent schools being provided for the young and


study groups for the adults. Books were sometimes read aloud to the perfectionists as they worked.

There was no retreat from complex marriage and other practices that had caused controversy at Putney. Aware of the selfish ambition by which parents were likely to seek special privileges for their own offspring, the Community provided a Children's House, where all the boys and girls were reared as members of a common family. Still fertile with challenging ideas, Noyes became deeply interested in what he called "stirpiculture," the idea of breeding superior children by encouraging the mating of the healthiest and most intelligent males and females. Of fifty-four babies born in the Community between 1869 and 1880, all but six were carefully planned by an appropriate committee.

Although the Community thus followed a code of morals startlingly different from that of the outside world, Noyes with just indignation denied charges that his followers were unprincipled free lovers. "Our Communities," he protested, "are families as distinctly bounded and separated from promiscuous society as ordinary households. The tie that binds us together is as permanent and sacred, to say the least, as that of common marriage, for it is our religion. We receive no new members (except by deception and mistake) who do not give heart and hand to the family interest for life and for ever. Community of property extends just as far as freedom of love. Every man's care and every dollar of the common property are pledged for the maintenance and protection of the women and the education of the children of the Community." The members abstained from intoxicants, tdbacco, profanity, and obscenity; even meat, coffee, and tea were regarded as luxuries only occasionally to be served to vary the ordinary diet of vegetables and fruits. The ever-ingenious Noyes developed a system of "mutual criticism," through which the perfectionists subjected each other to candid comments on personal faults and suggestions for improvement.

Although the neighbors of the Community shook their heads over some of its practices, they learned to respect the colonists for their industriousness, honesty, and sincerity. For almost thirty years the experiment was tolerated without serious threat of interference. But


beginning in 1873 self-appointed guardians of morality in nearby New York cities and towns began to organize a concerted drive to obtain anti-Oneida legislation. This campaign culminated in February, 1879, in a conference held at Syracuse University, although not sponsored by the University itself. Hitherto the Oneida Community had been largely free of those internal dissentions that had plagued similar communal experiments. But now the external threat intensified growing tensions among the perfectionists themselves, partly to be explained by the rise of a younger generation less willing than the old to follow "Father" Noyes unquestioningly.

Sadly admitting the need to bend before the storm, Noyes now proposed that the Community "give up the practice of Complex Marriage, not as renouncing belief in the principles and prospective finality of that institution, but in deference to public sentiment." On August 26, 1879, the Community so resolved, and the members began the process of reorganizing their lives within conventional marriage patterns. As Noyes had foreseen, the reappearance of separate families was speedily followed by a demand for the recognition of private property rights. On January 1, 1881, the business and property of the Community were transferred to Oneida Community, Limited, an incorporated company in which the members were allocated shares on a basis carefully worked out to prevent individual hardships.

After the communal phase of his experiment came to an end, Noyes retired to a stone cottage in Niagara Falls, Canada, where he passed his remaining days in the company of a small but loyal group of relatives and friends. Still holding tenaciously to his doctrines, the patriarch finally died in 1886. Although many of the former Community members dispersed to new homes, a substantial number continued to live in the great Mansion House and other Oneida buildings. In more than one sense, therefore, the old Community never really died. Oneida Community, Limited, eventually specializing in the silverware business, passed through various vicissitudes, including reorganization as Oneida Limited in 1935. Usually prosperous, the corporation showed characteristics unique for its day in paying higher than prevailing wages and in otherwise benefiting its employees through planned housing and the encouragement of schools. Much of the old idealism thus found a new expression in the field of welfare capitalism.


The collection of Oneida Community materials described in the following pages has been assembled largely through the efforts of Mr. Lester G. Wells, Librarian of the Lena R. Arents Rare Book Room in the Syracuse University Library. Although not himself descended from the perfectionists, Mr. Wells has been a lifelong resident of Central New York and remembers visiting the Community buildings and grounds while still a boy. Several years spent later in the employ of the company gave Mr. Wells an unusual opportunity to make friends among the survivors and descendants of the Community. From these associations he came to feel sympathy for the sincerity of Noyes's great experiment and a feeling of affection and respect for the people involved. As a librarian, he has therefore seen the importance of collecting and preserving as much as possible of Noyes's published writings and other pertinent documents.

These materials are of great interest to the student of nineteenth-century American culture. It is somewhat unfortunate that curiosity about Noyes's ideas on sex and family life has tended to divert attention from other scarcely less significant aspects of his career.

As a school of thought, Christian perfectionism has not received the attention that it deserves. Early Methodism was strongly tinted with Wesley's teachings on perfection and sanctification. Within Congregational and Presbyterian circles the revolt against Calvinist orthodoxy took the form, among others, of the New Haven theology with its emphasis on man's ability to achieve a saving faith. From this doctrine so congenial to the instantaneous conversions sought by the revivalists it was only a short step to the belief that every act of sin represented a wrongful choice of the human will. If this were so, true Christians ought to be able to sanctify their lives and reject all sinful thoughts and actions. The greatest evangelist of the day, Charles G. Finney, .took this leap in his thought and developed along with others a doctrine of perfection that was taught for many years at Oberlin College greatly to the consternation of more conservative theologians. Although Finney took care to dissociate himself with Noyes's more radical perfectionist position, the two men met and discussed their ideas on at least one occasion and influenced each other indirectly through a number of traceable channels. If Finney cannot be fully understood without a study of perfectionism, William Lloyd Garrison cannot


either. Many of the peculiarities of Garrisonian abolitionism had their origins in the surging perfectionism of the 1830's.

Noyes himself deserves more respectful treatment as a writer and thinker than he has usually received. However wrong-headed some of his ideas may appear, they are presented with refreshing clarity and vigor. Noyes could fight with the weapons of theology, quoting Biblical verses to support every point and haggling over the definition of each item. He could also resort to the would-be prophet's favorite secret weapon, the claim of direct revelation from God. Even so, however, he had no use for the type of mysticism that renounces human reason. On the contrary, he exalted human intelligence and counted heavily upon instruction and reflection to achieve his perfect Christian society. Indeed, this prideful reliance upon reason may have been his downfall, insofar as he carried his rejection of conventional morality to extremes that were logical enough but left out of account the deep-rootedness of human institutions.

Even on the issues where his viewpoint was most controversial Noyes deserves respect as a penetrating critic of real evils. In his day - and probably in our own as well-there were all too many loveless and tyrannical marriages, too many women broken in health through excessive childbearing, too many babies brought into the world by shiftless couples unable to care for them properly, and too many children spoiled through parental indulgence. On these and scores of less explosive issues Noyes was a keen observer of society.

Interested in all religious and reform movements of the day, Noyes opened the columns of his periodicals to a description of many different subjects. As might be expected, he had a special interest in other communal experiments.

The Oneida Community materials are therefore well worth examinatlon by any student of American religious and social developments - particularly for the period 1837-1879, covered by Noyes's various papers and magazines.

Professor of History
Syracuse University


THERE HAVE been several reasons for the Syracuse University Library to collect materials about Oneida Community and its antecedents and branches.

For three decades the Library has been assembling data on social-religious movements of New York State during the nineteenth century as part of its collecting policy to include "local history"-with chief emphasis on the geographical region of Central New York within a radius of approximately fifty miles from Syracuse.

The main body of materials in this field consists of the papers of Gerrit Smith (1797-1874), "philanthropist and reformer," and of his father Peter Smith (1768-1837), wealthy land owner and business associate of the first John Jacob Astor. Their papers cover a wide range of subject matter-land history of New York State, commercial and social relationships with the Indians, the trading post at Old Fort Schuyler (now Utica), abolition, and a multiplicity of reforms (temperance, vegetarianism, "free" churches, socialism, inter al.) .

When Syracuse University Library recently acquired complete runs of the serial publications of Oneida Community and of its antecedents and branches, covering the span of years from 1837 until 1879, we were happy to be able to provide additional primary research tools for the scholars from Syracuse and elsewhere who have been coming to us for many years.

We believe that we have the largest group of Oneida Community historical materials outside of private ownership. Consequently, we publish this little book to acquaint you with this major acquisition of materials in the field of American social reform of the nineteenth century.



A list of general social reform publications, not Oneida Community, has been included since these contain accounts of many socialistic experiments in the United States and in England.

It goes without saying that our holdings are available for the use of responsible scholars.

LESTER G. WELLS, Librarian
Lena R. Arents Rare Book Room Syracuse University Library

Books and Pamphlets by John Humphrey Noyes

The Berean: a manual for the help of those who seek the faith of the primitive church. . . . Putney, Vt., Office of the Spiritual Magazine, 1847. 504 p.

Confessions of John H. Noyes. Part 1. Confession of religious experience: including a history of modern Perfectionism. Oneida Reserve (Oneida, N.Y.), 1849. 70 p.

Dixon and his copyists. A criticism of the accounts of the Oneida Community in "New America," "Spiritual Wives" and kindred publications. 2nd edition. (Wallingford, Conn.) The Oneida Community, 1874. 39 p.


The doctrine of salvation from sin, explained and defended. Putney, Vt., 1843. 30 p.

History of American socialisms. Philadelphia, Pa., 1870. 678 p.

Home talks, edited by Alfred Barron and George Noyes Miller. Volume 1. Oneida, N.Y., the Oneida Community, 1875. 358 p.

Male continence; or Self-control in sexual intercourse. Oneida, N.Y., Office of Oneida Circular, 1866. 4 p.

Male continence. . . . Published by the Oneida Community. Oneida, N.Y., Office of Oneida Circular, 1872. 24 p.

Die Manneskraft und ihre Beherrschung und Erhaltung . . . Autorisierte deutsche Uebersetzung von H. B. Fischer. . . . Leipzig, Germany, 1896. 45 p.

Salvation from sin; the end of Christian faith. . . . Oneida, N.Y., the Oneida Community, 1876. 48 p.

A theological article in sermon form.

Books and Pamphlets about the
Oneida Community and John Humphrey Noyes

NOTE: This list largely excludes works of a popular nature and more serious works devoting but a slight amount of space to the above subjects.

CALVERTON, VICTOR FRANCIS. Where angels dared to tread. Indianapolis, Ind., 1941. 381 p.

DIXON, WILLIAM HEPWORTH. New America. London, England, 1867. 2 volumes, 359; 369 p.

Spiritual wives. Fourth edition with a new preface by the author. London, England, 1868. 2 volumes, 331; 348 p.

EASTMAN, REV. HUBBARD. Noyesism unveiled: a history of the sect selft styled Perfectionists; with a summary view of their leading doctrines. Brattleboro, Vt., 1849. 432 p.



EDMONDS, WALTER. The first hundred years: 1848 - 1948. 1848 The Oneida Community. 1880 Oneida Community Ltd. 1935 Oneida Ltd. Oneida, N.Y., Oneida Ltd. c1948. 75 p. With photographs by Samuel Chamberlain.

ESTLAKE, ALLAN. The Oneida Community: a record of an attempt to carry out the principles of Christian unselfishness and scientific race-improvement. London, England, 1900. 158 p.

HINDS, WILLIAM ALFRED. American communities: brief sketches of Economy, Zoar, Bethel, Aurora, Amana, Icaria, the Shakers, Oneida, Wallingford, and the Brotherhood of the New Life. Oneida, N.Y., Office of the American Socialist, 1878. 176 p.

American communities and co-operative colonies. Second revision. Chicago, Ill., 1908. 608 p.

HOLLOWAY, MARK. Heavens on earth; Utopian communities in America, 168~1880. New York, N.Y., Library Publishers, 1951. 240 p.

KAUFMANN, REV. MORITZ. Socialism and communism in their practical application. . . . London, England, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1883. 264 p.


NORDHOFF, CHARLES. The communistic societies of the United States; from personal visit and observation; including detailed accounts of the Economists, Zoarites, Shakers, The Amana, Oneida, Bethel, Aurora, Icarian and other existing societies; their religious creeds, social practices, numbers, industries, and present condition. . . . New York, N.Y., 1875. 439 p. Bibliography.

NOYES, CORINNA ACKLEY (Mrs. Pierrepont Burt Noyes). The days of my youth. Oneida, N.Y., 1960. Privately distributed.

NOYES, GEORGE WALLINGFORD, ED. John Humphrey Noyes the Putney Community. Compiled and edited by George Wallingford Noyes Oneida, N.Y. (Oneida Community Ltd.), 1931. 393 p.

Religious experience of John Humphrey Noyes, founder of the Oneida Community. Compiled and edited by George Wallingford Noyes. New York, Macmillan Co., 1923. 416 p. With seventeen illustrations.


NOYES, PIERREPONT BURT. My father's house; an Oneida boyhood. New York, N.Y., Farrar and Rinehart, Inc., 1937. 312 p.

A goodly heritage. New York, N.Y., Rinehart, 1958. 275 p.

PARKER, ROBERT ALLERTON. A Yankee saint; John Humphrey Noyes and the Oneida Community. New York, N.Y., G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1935. 322 p.

SEYMOUR, HENRY J. Letter to the "Outlook." Kenwood, N.Y., February 11, 1903. 4 p.

The Oneida Community; a dialogue by . . . one of the original members. Undated. 23 p.

SHAW, GEORGE BERNARD. The revolutionist's handbook and pocket companion . . . , Ill. The Perfectionist experiment at Oneida Creek (in Man and superman; a comedy and a philosophy. London, England, 1947).


STRACHEY, RACHEL CONN (COSTELLOE), ED. Group movements of the past and experiments in guidance by Ray Strachey. London, England, Faber (1934). 270 p.

WORDEN, HARRJET M. Old Mansion House memories by one brought up in it. Kenwood, Oneida, N.Y., privately printed (1950). 106 p.

Serial Publications Issued or Edited by
John Humphrey Noyes or by the Communities
with Which He Was Associated

The Perfectionist. New Haven, Conn. Volumes 1-2, 1834-1836.

The Witness. Ithaca, N.Y. and Putney, Vt. Editors: J. H. Noyes; H.A. Noyes; J. L. Skinner. Volumes 1-2,1837-1843. (Continued as The Perfectionist.)




The Spiritual Moralist. Putney, Vt. Editors: J. H. Noyes and G. Cragin. Volume 1, 1842 (June 13 and 25). (No more published.)

The Perfectionist. Putney, Vt. Editors: J. H. Noyes and J. L. Skinner. Volume 3, 1843-4.

The Perfectionist and Theocratic Watchman. Putney, Vt. Editors: J. H. Noyes and J. L. Skinner. Volumes 4-5, 1844-1846.


Spiritual Magazine. Putney, Vt. and Oneida Reserve, N.Y. Published by the Association of Perfectionists. Editor: J. H. Noyes, although not so stated. Volumes 1-2, 1846-1850.



Free Church Circular. Oneida Reserve, N.Y. Editor: J. H. Noyes (although not stated). Volumes 3-4, 1850-1851.


The Circular. Brooklyn and Oneida, N.Y.; Wallingford, Conn. Edi-tors: J. H. Noyes; the Oneida and Wallingford Communities. Volumes 1-12, 1851-1864. Volumes 1-7, New Series, 1864-1870.

The Oneida Circular. Oneida, N.Y. Published by the Oneida and Wal-lingford Communities; no editor stated. Volumes 8-13,1871-1876.


Daily Journal of Oneida Community. Oneida, N.Y. No editor stated. Volumes 1-3, 1866-1867.

The 0. C. Daily. Oneida, N.Y. No editor stated. Volumes 4-5, 1867-1868.

The American Socialist. Oneida, N.Y. No editor stated. Volumes 1-4, 1876-1879.


Miscellaneous Publications

Annual reports of Oneida Community.

Bible communism; a compilation from the annual reports and other publications of the Oneida Association and its branches; presenting in connection with their history, a summary view of their religious and social theories. Brooklyn, N.Y., Office of the Circular, 1853. 128 p.

The Community Quadrangle.



Faith facts; or, A confession of the kingdom of God and the age of miracles. Edited by George Cragin. Oneida Reserve (Oneida Community) Oneida, N.Y., 1850. 40 p. "Free Church Tracts, number 1."

A farewell to an old friend. Oneida Ltd., Niagara Falls, Canada, 1938. 10 p.

Handbook of the Oneida Community with a sketch of itsfounder and an outline of its constitution and doctrines. Wallingford, Conn., Office of the Circular, 1867. 71 p.

Handbook of the Oneida Community; containing a brief sketch of its present condition, internal economy and leading principles. No.2. Oneida Community, Oneida, N.Y., 1871. 64 p.

Handbook of the Oneida Community 1875. Oneida, N.Y. Office of the Circular (1875). 48 p.

Mutual criticism. Oneida, N.Y., Office of the American Socialist. 1876. 96 p.


alism. Included are several illustrations of the practical application of criticism (case histories); an explanation of the value of the practice not only for spiritual and moral effects but also as "a hygienic agency," by which an ill person would send for a committee, "in whose faith and spiritual judgment he has confidence," to visit him with criticism. This resulted in bringing about "a reaction of his life against disease."

NEWHOUSE, SEWELL. The trapper's guide. . . . Edited by John Humphrey Noyes. Oneida Community, Kenwood, Madison County, N.Y., c1893 by Oneida Community. 126 p.

The Oneida Community, 1848-1901. 20 p.

The Oneida Community: a familiar exposition of its ideas and practical life, in a conversation with a visitor. Wallingford, Conn. Office of the Circular, 1865. 32 p.

The Oneida Community: its business ideals. Published by Oneida Community Ltd., c1910. 12 p.

Oneida Community. Willow Place Works, Oneida, N.Y. Testimonials. Machine twist manufactured by the Oneida Community. Wallingford, Conn., 1869. 16 p.

A sales promotion pamphlet relative to the silk thread manufactured by the Community.

Oneida Community Ltd. No date, between 1880-1935.


Oneida Ltd. Let's take a look around the friendly place to work. Oneida, N.Y., 1950. 16 p.

Oneida Ltd. in wartime. Oneida, N.Y., 1943. 20 p. A sales promotion pamphlet.

Oneida Ltd., formerly Oneida Community Ltd. Annual report to stockholders for the fiscal year ended January 31, 1948.

Manuscript Materials in the
Syracuse University Library
Relating to the Oneida Community

IN 1860 William Mills and family joined the Community. He disagreed with the leaders on the matter of relations with women and rebelled against the ethics of the eugenics system as laid down by John Humphrey Noyes. He was expelled ("the first and only compulsory expulsion in the history of the Community"-Parker) . He entered a legal complaint with lawyers in Syracuse. Settlement of differences was made early in 1865 under terms which Noyes proposed to him several months earlier. He later removed to a Western state. Noyes wrote that if the Community should ever be indicted "for keeping a disorderly house, the principal specification against us ought to be that we received and harbored for years such a licentious scoundrel as Mills."

Original autograph letter. John Humphrey Noyes, Oneida, December 28, 1864 to Gerrit Smith, Peterboro, N.Y.

"After our conversation yesterday I regretted that I did not note more particularly your report of the advice you gave to Mr. Mills and ask permission to mention it in our paper. As the matter now stands he has the advantage of apparently carrying on the war against us with your sanction. This he distinctly claims. Whereas, the truth is that he is acting in direct opposition to your advice. Have you any objection to making this known or allowing me to make it known?"

Original autograph letter. William Mills, Oneida Community, January 2, 1864 to Gerrit Smith, Peterboro, N.Y.



Original autograph letter. Prof. Thomas Cogswell Upham, Professor of Philosophy and Hebrew, Bowdoin College, to Gerrit Smith, December 23, 1864.

Original autograph letter. E. H. Hamilton, Oneida Community, January 21, 1865 to Gerrit Smith, Peterboro, N.Y.

Original autograph letter. E. H. Hamilton to Gerrit Smith, February 23,1865.


Original autograph letter. Victor Faith, Sherburne, N.Y. to Gerrit Smith, August 30, 1866.

Original autograph letter. Victor Cragin Noyes, Wallingford, Conn. to Gerrit Smith, November 7,1867.

Original autograph letter. Alfred Conkling, Geneseo [N.Y.] to Gerrit Smith, Peterboro, N.Y., July 5, 1871.

Original autograph letter. Helen C. Noyes to Mrs. Gerrit Smith, July 10,1877.


Typescript. Lafcadio Hearn. The Oneida Community's announcement. (Editorial in New Orleans Item, September 3,1879.)

Syracuse University and the Oneida Community

ON JANUARY 23, 1879, Prof. John Mears of Hamilton College issued a call for a protest meeting against the Oneida Community to be held at Syracuse University on February 14. He was a leader in inciting public opinion against Oneida and had carried on his protests since 1873. Forty-seven clergymen attended the conference of which the Rev. A. F. Beard was secretary. The meeting was opposed by the local newspapers because of the attempt to suppress publicity concerning the deliberations of the delegates. Puck in its issue of February 26, 1879 published a cartoon showing clergymen pointing at the Community and exclaiming, "Oh, dreadful! They dwell in peace and harmony, and have no church scandals. They must be wiped out!" The American Socialist devoted its issue of February 20, 1879 to the meeting. Noyes in the February 27 issue wrote: "There is an effort in some quarters to push Bishops Huntington ~piscopal] and Peck ~Methodist] and Chancellor Haven, of Syracuse University, to the front, as the originators and chief abettors of the present clerical crusade against the Oneida Community. Nothing could be more unjust to them or more unfair to Professor Mears of Hamilton College, who is the center and soul of the whole movement. . . . Let Professor Mears, therefore, be henceforth regarded as . . . the Peter the Hermit of the present crusade. . .

The student newspapers at Syracuse University discussed the conference in the following articles:

Syracusan. Volume 1, number 7, March 11, 1879, p. 92.


Same issue, p.96.

University Herald. Volume 7, number 5, whole number 75, February 24, 1879, p.53.

Volume 8, number 1, whole number 81, October 7, 1879, p.4.

Syracusan. Volume 6, number 11, October 19, 1883, p.23.

General Social Reform Publications

CABET, ETIENNE. A brief sketch of Cabet's social and political life. Navoo, Ill., Icarian Community, 1855.

Eclectic Association of Virginia. Articles of agreement. . . . New York, N.Y., 1844.

Farist Community. Prospectus of an "intended" association. Monticello, Minn., n.d.

The Free Inquirer. Frances Wright and Robert Dale Owen, conducting editors. New York, N.Y. Volume 2, numbers 1-52. October 31, 1829-October 23, 1830.

Friendship Community. Articles of agreement. . . . Buffalo, Mo., n.d.

Communism: the right and best way to live. Buffalo, Mo., n.d.

GRANT, E. P. Co-operation; or, Sketch of conditions of attractive industry; and outline of a plan for the organization of labor. With a notice of the Kansas co-operative farm of M. Ernest V. De Boissiere. New York, N.Y., 1870.

New Moral World; or, Gazette of the Universal Community Societv of Rational Religionists. Leeds, England.

New Series: numbers 63-86. January 4-June 13, 1840. Third Enlarged Series: volume 1, numbers 1-26. July 4-December 26, 1840; volume 2, numbers 1-26. January 2-June 26, 1841.

North American Phalanx. Socialism and Christianity; being a response to an inquirer concerning religion and the observance of religious forms at the North American Phalanx, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Monmouth, NJ., 1854.

Perfectionists, Association of. Putney, Vt. Constitution, n.d. (ca.1835).

The Phalanx: organ of the Doctrine of Association. New York.



The Harbinger: Devoted to Social and Political Progress. Published by the Brook Farm Phalanx. New York and Boston.

Skaneateles [New York] Community. Community Place, Mottville, Onondaga County, N.Y. The Communist. John A. Collins, editor. Volume 1, number 6, July 10, 1844, to volume 2, number 29, March 5,1846. Microfilm.

United Christians Community. Constitution. Berea, Ohio, the Community, 1837.

WELLS, LESTER GROSVENOR. The Skaneateles Communal Experiment, 7843-7846. Syracuse, N.Y., 1953.

Zion's Redemption Society or the Order of Enoch. Articles of agreement proposed for the organization of a new society. . . . Salt Lake City, Utah, 1874.

Collection of miscellaneous reform serial publications (newspapers, periodicals, journals, etc.) . Largely U.S.A., nineteenth century. Approximately 60 titles, 415 pieces. Exchange copies sent to the editors of the Oneida Community's serial publication, the Circular. The Arents Rare Book Room of the Library has a complete catalog of the titles comprising the collection.

Plate 1: John H. Noyes & View of Oneida Community

Plate 2: The children's hour in the upper sitting-room.

Plate 3: New Mansion of the Oneida Community with adjoining buildings

Plate 4: A Mr. Bilious Briggs...

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