Religious and Utopian Communities Special Collections Research Center

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black and white building in Oneida

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The repository for the Oneida Community Papers as well as their publications, including material relating to other religious and communal societies who were in contact with the Oneida community.

William A. Hinds was an important member of the Oneida Community and fashioned himself as a historian for the organization. In keeping with this role, he developed a census form that he sent to a substantial number of the communal societies in the United States. His concept was to glean the same type of information from each of these groups as well as to solicit copies of their publications to obtain additional data on them. The Shakers provided many of their early tracts and promotional pieces to Hinds. There are also many materials from the Quakers in the collection, as well as Mormon content. There is less content available for the smaller religious and communal societies.

Researchers of religious and utopian communities might also be interested in our holdings of Antiquarian Books.

Archival Materials

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Digitized Materials

Audio and Visual Materials

Many of the collections relating to the subjects of religion and of religious and utopian communities contain visual and audio materials. For example, see:

Rare Books and Printed Materials

The collection includes virtually all of the publications of the Oneida Community as presented by the Oneida Community Mansion House in the 1960s. At that time the mansion house concluded it could not function as a research library and make these materials available to the public.

The collection includes some of the highlights of the Shaker printed material, including the first edition of what is known as the Shaker Bible, The Testimony of Christ's Second Appearing (Lebanon, Ohio: 1808). In addition, some Shaker publications intended for internal use are also available: The Youth's Guide in Zion, and Holy Mother's Promises (Canterbury, N.H., 1842) written by Elisha D. Blakeman while in a trance and The Gospel Monitor: A Little Book of Mother Ann's Word to Those Who Are Placed as Instructors and Care-Takers of Children (Canterbury, N.H., 1843). We also have the first and second editions of the The Book of Mormon as well as the very rare Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Kirtland, Ohio: 1835).

Useful search terms to locate these items in the catalog include "utopianism," "Oneida," "Shaker," "Mormonism,"  "missionaries," "theologians," "sermons," and "black Muslims."

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