New England renaissance; Brook Farm revisited
Listen to the sound of education in early New England. Listen to the sound of religion in early New England. The New England run a song. The National Association of Broadcasters resign runs on. This is Donald born professor of humanities at Boston University.
Last time we concluded Part 1 of the New England Renaissance the New England of the 1820s to the 1860s and started Part 2 which is New England today and the effect of the transcendentalists on our lives. We took you for a visit to the old Corner Bookstore which we hope you enjoyed. Was a long scene of the idealistic humming a living experiment of the transcendental. We're going to see what mama was like today. More than a year later at the moment we're headed on U.S. Route number one toward West Roxbury about 10 miles from Boston. We're going first to the home of our poor conductor a man who describes him so humorously as the last Living Transcendental Dr. Howard on the. Dock Donald as a retired pastor of the church where one part of the free. We drive
along Route 1 through residential section with goods going up rapidly from some level of travel this road the tires of our asphalt of the highway reminding us that there was no such slick traveling coming for 100 or more years ago. Only mud and snow in the winter and the summer. Now we are approaching the center of West Roxbury a congenial community of mixed architecture and vocation. The sound of the property increases the West Roxbury. Then the property decreases slowly or we loop around several side streets. We're in a quiet residential district. Some analysts were drilling for. Matic. Drive by them barely ever. Think properly in competition with it.
Like you get away from the news and presses the gas pedal. We drive off the tar pit road. But still those cameras. Going up up right between two long rows of tall mature trees which are almost out of place in the neighborhood of new dwellings. We're on a gravel driveway surrounded by the garden. And explain a thing. Or so. Suddenly. We stop and look around. It's really amazing. This is an area the bulldozers haven't reached. Before us was a tremendously large house mid-Victorian in style but without the gingerbread a brownish pan and color. We gradually realized that all around us friendly birds were stretching their lungs. This is the home like a
remote island surrounded by a sea of encroaching modern humanity. This is the home of a man who has devoted most of his life to a study of Brook Farm you knows every inch of the ground. He's an authority on books about the book prom experiment. He lives here with his charming wife in the midst of these lovely flowers and well-kept grounds. The confusion of the outside world is frozen out. We have the feeling that this is a wonderful backward glance at the suffering of the 19th century with only a present touch here and there. We walk up the pathway step onto a small porch and pull the old way. Barely a moment dial on I wondered if you'd let me come here and ask you some questions about the proper predicate right here in fact you.
Were ushered into a mammals the living room which is authentically 900 century rich with mementos pictures paintings furniture. There's a grand piano and old carved wooden chest under the window of a fireplace flanked by two tall windows gleaming bright old brass smiled at us. We glance at a magnificent old saw for us a caution not upholstered in green velvet Victorian chairs upholstered in red some in gold. Invite us to sit down. The wards are a creamy beige gold colored molding. Works its way a couple of feet down from the high ceiling green bulb of Port peers give a preview of Dr. cosey study just beyond the living room. The study is a friendly cluster of books papers diplomas pipes Dr. Arnold sits on a chair once owned by Edward Everett Hale. And we begin our conversation.
You did preach for seven years in the church of Theodore Parker had is that correct. Oh yes for 35 years. What's the name of the tradition of the first parish. West Roxbury during parkas time it was known as the second church in Roxbury and Parker was called here in eighteen hundred and thirty seven and remained here in Delhi eighteen hundred and forty five years old in the Boston group who regarded Theodore Parker be given a chance to be heard in Boston and they hired Carl that was the proper time of the break for the transcendental is breaking away from the Unitarians. Yes I don't think the transcendentalists ever broke away from the Unitarians I think developed into transcendental is a fine good point while I was thinking of Ralph Waldo Emerson giving up his. Church that's what I want to say that you never gave up Unitarianism I think he
would already have Unitarian in mind. We talk a bit about Mr. Emerson and then move on to a discussion of Dr. William Ellery Channing. Dr. Arnold discusses the origin and development of going to Perry and as I'm pointing out that Dr. Channing sometimes called the father of Unitarianism had a lively interest in book form although advanced years prevented him from taking an active part in the experiment on this question of transcendental ism. And books from. Around the world or a Muslim left the second church before Brook Farm stronger. That's right isn't it. Yes and he would publish to make sure that self-reliance Yes and was already living and writing in Concord in order beginning his lecture to us. And he certainly did nothing to deter people from joining the book from movement. But he never did himself no doubt he would come in and go over from Concord as
an interested observer. But he always preferred to go home to come good night and that it stated that he made the remark that he considered that real estate value which were a bit better written conquered death. After all he had conservative traits. And some of the people in the Brook Farm Community who was the real leader George Ripley or rather George Ripley ways the founder of it and the lead it threw out his idea was to start a community of people who could live a good life away from the industrialism system and the money making a process that was not his idea to show other people that they could themselves start communities like Brook Farm and other parts of the United States.
Us there tonight of course during this period over there are in fact it is as it is sometimes called. There were a number of such community is being established throughout the country and with different auspices utopian enterprises and farmers right in keeping with the general trend of thought and activity at the time among people who are dissatisfied with what they call the facts of current civilization. And then a little bit later you see five French socialistic philosophy. Again to have an influence particularly through relate in New York there are interest really. Horace Brook Farm itself became
Franks was a lot of folks from as they call it started on a purely independent basis and some people say that that was the cry began when it changed from being a point to a mechanistic mechanical contrivance. We talk about some of the other pop farmers market who are not on your horse on. Dr. Arnold refers to perform as the union of the mentor on the manual. He read portions of an extremely interesting letter to us. The communication was from William Henry Channing one of those vitally interested in book form to a prospective sponsor written at a time when the financial going was difficult. The ink has faded from time to time Dr. Arnold was forced to pause to decipher the handwriting. I know this is a letter rather a manuscript letter
from Brooklyn June 24th eighteen hundred forty six. Just a few months after the disastrous fire that did roll into the finance director and the going it become very difficult and it looked as if for nothing. Yes financially it looked as if the farm might be abandoned. And he was reluctant to see it abandoned. So he addressed this Edward Phillips Esq. cat of Dr. West of Brattleboro Vermont. I had fully expected to have seen you before are this time at Brattleboro but being here. Right to say that our friends here are in a condition to make the early payment of the contribution which you kindly offered a great convenience. I make no apologies for having first written to you or are writing now because I know that doing you only
bare justice in believing that you to be the great privilege of wealth that makes it supposed to be a minister of Providence that you feel are also the responsibility of administering your aid wisely. As your letter proves in my mind a new claim to respect that this car was perfect order in human society is worthy of your race and of all men. I am as confident as I that the universe is governed by justice and predisposed by God for peace and harmony. Association is the attempt to fully embody the new commandment Love which Christ declared to be the sign of his disciple.
After a study of this subject and three years and more of the voting Labor in the cause I am ready to say this movement to establish justice and cooperation in our branches of industry in the division and distribution of property and in the use of all advantages of life is a providential movement as the result of Christian reform of civil freedom of the spirit of Philanthropy which is based upon strict science that corresponds perfectly to our maker. As we learn from Revelation and nature fulfill the want of
human nature. Beautiful life for our men and all nations to all good not to become a reality. Medical Association is now pledged themselves to this great cause. Let me interrupt doctor the association assts are across the brook from community. Yes but myself and I are going to Germany. The people that were interested in the futuristic movement of which Brook Farm was only one of us one brand one brand. So a person could call itself an association ist. Being a resident it might have been one of the not really Red Bank New Jersey. Just a friendly observer.
Through the length and breadth of the Latin. But and our hope is to buy 100 person who will subscribe $100 a year for three years or two hundred persons who will subscribe fifty dollars in order to plan the work of disseminating in a form in a permanent on a permanent basis. We merely wish to make our doctrine know the spirit of justice freedom. When we got the true intrusted to us
and leave the result to God. Will you aid us in making this exposure our system to the whole nation. We have all pledged our ally our best and it is our influence and all this cause and assured that the time is not distant and those who aid it will rejoice. Their first term briefing on the motives behind the book bomb experiment from a manuscript letter showing the transcendentalists intensity and spirit than we prepared to leave Dr. Arnall study for a tour of Brook Farm Dakar. And I'm going to try to drive to Brook Farm this afternoon and I wondered if you could give me some directions about how to get there. If you're
free or maybe even Come on show us around. If you tattoo I'd love to go over where you are and wonder if the personal conduct out from here or how will we go. Crap it's not more than two miles from the house here on the other side of the street and out on the road that used to lead to Baker Street leading over to Newton and we will still find the general appearance of landscape much ours rather will be there. Yes it will still be there. The few in the world. It's only a few minutes drive from docked on a study to book farm on the side of the hills down the main building the famous book still runs placidly along its winding course through the meadow. We park near a mountainous ally like Bush and wait for a doctor on the scene he shows up a
jaunty figure in walking clothes and cap pipe in mouth walking stick in hand. He uses a stick to point out the major spots of interest Stukely both wearing glasses he obviously enjoys himself on the tour. His step is quick and energetic. He scrambles up and down the hillsides. He moves rapidly through the underbrush. We're hard pressed to keep up with him. The Torah's three or four miles long takes a couple of hours. Finally having seen all the points of interest we return to the Main Building a book to rest and to talk. Doc Donald I want to thank you very much for taking years on this tour. Wrong. Or no we couldn't have enjoyed it or understood it if you hadn't been wrong. And I'd like to ask you a few questions again so I have recent straight in my mind there is only move one. Now standing that was here when the book formed group were conducting the experiment is that right.
So I believe there is a little cross shaped cottage that has long been over the Margaret Fuller cottage alone just why. Nobody seems to know. She was never a member of the community but only a frequent visitor that is now occupied as his residence by the custodian of the Gethsemane a cemetery book from. Its actual activities here on the farm just before 1850 is that right. Yes. Before 1850 the town of Roxbury which used it for its poorer several years then bought by the Rev.. Freeman Clark. Who conducted a farm here
for a number of rental and during the Civil War the property to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The training ground camp the 2nd Massachusetts Regiment writes the rocky top of resort camp rules or is known as Camp and rose in honor of Governor Andrews of the coming of that time and a great friend and parishioner of Clark's. There is that bronze tablet on the stone now on the pathway. After what happened toward 60 shortly after camp Andrews in the close of the Civil War crock sold it. It passed through one or two individuals who held it only for a very brief period and immediately reached and finally 70 Mr per car
Mr. Beck caught a German Lutheran tropic citizen Rock's parade who gave it to the Lutheran Association for works of Lutheran often. Home coming up to the present day the same association is going to make this over and to get them in the cemetery. Yes until now that have been and the various superintendents such a home conducted here in this building that we are now meeting that has since sinister took the land there have been a small town Metairie on Crest Hill at the end of the dry that he himself and members of his family already then in succeeding quite a few lots and been established. Let me ask you some questions about what I saw a few moments
ago. Certainly is a book. Is there a Russian with an April book when George Ripley first brought his group out here just this time of year and Ripley and his wife and a handful of friends came in began the community they had been have some up before you I think you know and they like had been had the previous summer when it ran it is a milk and apparently took some some I guess in this room that were now sitting on the very sight of the farmhouse the child lived in. George Ripley came here one summer like that so much that when they got the communal experiment not what you want to get this straight. Then came here with the first group in April making 41 41. The book was a marker for the house
it was put up shortly afterwards was a slightly after and I saw the sight of the brow of the hill where the great large fire lanced rebuilding was and what other things that we see on the trip that you think were the. Well which are the foundations of God to replace however the eagles nest on the crest of the hill which the cellar hole is still very evident. We passed by the little building out here in the yard. That may well have been the print shop or the workshop in the community and I've never been very able to verify whether that was actually standing at the time or is a new building built upon the same foundations but the site. At any rate is the same. And this building in which we are just now occupied by the cemetery office and the often home is at any rate on the
exact site of the original farmhouse. Charles I was on how much the superstructure remains after the fire. I've never been able to determine but the foundations at any rate largely the same right across the street across Baker Street sort of cut a corner on the road you have or farmhouse It was on. By now that there is no farmhouse standing now occupied by the Office of the Catholic cemetery which occupies a large acreage upon that side of the road. When I was in existence at the time of the community and I understand it was occupied by a local that went by the name of John the orange man import oranges from. I suspect that he bought it himself from Northern Ireland they are an American. Now let's see. We have cemeteries on two sides of the
present gets them in the cemetery with some of those all around and I know that the place will run down to become a center for cemeteries and that's what's happened pretty much to perform. You're right but fortunately it keeps the line open at any rate. And in light of its original natural view if you were coming from say the middle west back to New England to see where some of your ancestors may well have lived at one time. And you certainly would have known the stories of them of some thorough Margaret Fuller and George Ripley said to a park or on the other transcendentalists you would have known certainly of a Brook Farm experiment. Would you come here to see Brook Farm even though it's a cemetery or because it's a summit and I think I would I still regard it as holy God. We have so many other comments you don't like to tell us
about books generally. That it is the investigation of anyone who is interested in this transcendental period of the New England Renaissance and who find it well with exploration. It isn't difficult wondering around books from it isn't difficult to visualize the book farm that was in your mind's eye. You can see George and Safire Ripley laboring hard to make their idealistic concepts come true. You see in a sign of a horse on his farm work and disliking every moment of it. Margaret Fuller's voice a captivating voice almost seems to reach out to grasp your attention. And it's well to note that even today at Brook Farm the shops of happy children still ring out across the green countryside. We know to the reform. Much of it now being converted into a Lutheran cemetery for a promise still the resting
place of many many warm memories and interrupted dreams and schemes. Standing in the yard of the HUGH WHITE rambling structure which is now the oftener it is virtually impossible to escape the flavor of the place in an atmosphere practically untouched by modern living. Reform still stands even today as an oasis of peace. Plus there is still an influence. Noble experiment several generations after the noble thoughts were expressed in the New England renaissance. This has been the New England Renaissance written and produced the Boston University for the National Association of education of broadcasters in cooperation with the
- New England renaissance
- Brook Farm revisited
- Producing Organization
- WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
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- Episode Description
- Brook Farm as it is today. Tour conducted by Reverend Harold Arnold, former pastor of the church where Theodore Parker preached.
- Series Description
- A dramatic re-creation of the New England Renaissance produced at Boston University. In this part of the series, the Transcendentalists are viewed from the perspective of 1954, when this program was recorded.
- Broadcast Date
- New England--History--1775-1865
- Media type
Director: Sloan, George, W., Jr.
Interviewee: Arnold, Harold
Producer: Boston University
Producing Organization: WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
Speaker: Bourne, Donald
Speaker: Rightmire, Rod
Subject: Parker, Theodore, 1810-1860
Writer: Diamond, Sidney, A.
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-2-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “New England renaissance; Brook Farm revisited,” 1954-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 22, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-9p2w7n4k.
- MLA: “New England renaissance; Brook Farm revisited.” 1954-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 22, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-9p2w7n4k>.
- APA: New England renaissance; Brook Farm revisited. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-9p2w7n4k