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Letters From an American Utopia: The Stetson Family and the Northampton Association 1843-47 Hardcover – February 18, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press (February 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558494316
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558494312
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,350,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The newly discovered Stetson letters answer a historian's prayer. What a joy to look over the family's shoulders into the everyday life of the Northampton Association! For the first time we can see Sojourner Truth as a flesh-and-blood person enmeshed in her own family and the Association's activities, not in retrospect, but, as it were, in real time."—Nell Irvin Painter, author of Sojourner Truth: A Life, a Symbol

"A wonderful collection of letters that is very well edited and introduced. The correspondence gives us a detailed view of communal life as experienced by the ordinary middle- and working-class families who were the majority of committed communitarians. Rich in details about religion, reform, economics, and education at the Association, the letters inform us about why communitarianism appealed to abolitionist families and how they lived it. These letters are a real find."—Carl Guarneri, author of The Utopian Alternative: Fourierism in Nineteenth-Century America

From the Publisher

Provides a rare look at daily life inside a nineteenth-century utopian community.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This remarkable book is based on a collection of 75 letters written by members of one family who were part of a Massachusetts utopian community from 1843 to 1847. The book provides a vivid glimpse of the personal lives of that family, as well as a first-hand view of life in such a community, and its historical context. James and Dolly Stetson of Brooklyn, CT, facing economic difficulty, moved with their children to Northampton, MA, in 1843 to join the Northampton Association of Education and Industry. They shared the community's progressive values, such as the abolition of slavery, religious tolerance, liberal education, and equality between races and sexes. Sojourner Truth was also a member of this community for a while. Most of the letters were written by Dolly and her children to their father, who was often on the road selling the community's product: silk. Three additional chapters provide authoritative accounts of the social, political, economic, and historical context in which this community lived, faltered, and ultimately disbanded. An excellent choice for anyone interested in this dynamic period in American history, and the lives of one very energetic fammily.
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