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John Sullivan Dwight correspondence regarding Brook Farm

 Collection — Container: MS E.4.1
Call Number: MS E.4.1

Scope and Contents

This collection contains thirty-two letters written to John Sullivan Dwight between 1840-1848 and cover a variety of subjects including George Ripley’s (1802-1880) resignation from the Purchase Street church in 1840; Sophia Ripley’s (1803-1861) description of early life on the Farm; Albert Brisbane’s (1809-1890) comments of the progress of associationism; the future prospects of the community after the Phalanstery fire; and William Henry Channing’s (1810-1884) thoughts about the future of the reform movement. Many of the letters in this collection were printed in Haraszti, Zoltàn The Idyll of Brook Farm as Revealed by Unpublished Letters in the Boston Public Library. Boston: Trustees of the Boston Public Library, 1940. Also see More Books, vol. 12, February-March, 1937, pp. 49-68 and 93-114.


  • 1840-1848


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. The Boston Public Library does not hold copyright on the material in this collection. Researchers are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright.

When reproducing material from this collection please include the credit line "Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books."

Biographical or Historical Information

Founded by George Ripley (1802-1880) in 1841, the Brook Farm Institute of Agriculture and Education was a Transcendentalist community located in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. Brook Farm was an experiment in communal living that sought to create a harmonious society wherein both men and women shared the labor which in turn provided them with more time to pursue their intellectual and artistic interests. Residents were stockholders in the Farm. Another important element of Brook Farm was its school which provided a progressive education, and was its main source of income. In 1844, the Farm converted to the ideas of Charles Fourier, who advocated for a society that was divided into cooperative communities of small self-sustaining groups called phalanxes. With the conversion came a new constitution and the name Brook Farm Association for Industry and Education. From 1845-1847, the Harbinger, a journal dedicated to social and political reform, was published at Brook Farm and edited by Ripley. A fire in 1846 destroyed the central building (the Phalanstery) and together with financial difficulties, contributed to the dissolution of the community in 1847. Among the residents of Brook Farm were Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) who wrote The Blithdale Romance (1852), a novel about life on the Farm, Charles A. Dana (1819-1897), and John Sullivan Dwight (1813-1893). Among the frequent visitors were Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), Margaret Fuller (1810-1850), Bronson Alcott (1799-1888), and Elizabeth Peabody (1804-1894), in whose bookshop the first conversations about Brook Farm took place, and Theodore Parker (1810-1860).


32.00 items 1 box Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

Arranged chrolologically.

Source of Acquisition


Processing Information

Finding aid written by Rare Books and Manuscripts staff.
John Sullivan Dwight correspondence regarding Brook Farm
Description rules
Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2014-09: Updated by Kimberly Reynolds, September 2014.

About this library

Part of the Boston Public Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

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