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Listen to the sound of education in early New England. Listen to the sound of religion in early New England. The New England run of song. The National Association of Broadcasters resigned. Runnels song. This is Donald born professor of humanities at Boston University program today deals with Brook Farm and plans to have about
unknown common law experiments in the United States in the first half of the 19th century. These genuine home enterprises sponsored and participated in by some of the most prominent New England writers of the Renaissance period many of them transcendentalists were both doomed to failure. But the story behind them is a story worth repeating. This is Rod Wright. I've been studying the New England Renaissance period. Brook Farm situated in West Roxbury Massachusetts is a name in place of fascinating interest to all who are familiar with the record of American literature or concerned about movements of social reform. Here on this site which still retains visible features of a broad green grassy meadow and a gentle flowing stream there was conducted during the six years from 1841 to 1847 a cooperative idealistic enterprise which caused considerable comment at the time and has for ever since been looked back upon as a romantic daydream or a golden age that decade of the 40s in the 19th century was an arrow end so Amazon wrote to Thomas
Carlyle. Every American seemed to care scheme for the reformation of the world in his vest pocket. This was proved by a number of somewhat similar experiments but no harmony in Indiana. Red Bank in New Jersey. Hope they own Ross Hampton and plans in Harvard Massachusetts for example. The utopia of book prom however stands you make among such units. Liberal free spirit. It's tolerance of the mental and moral caliber of many of the men and women of my connection with it persons well known and famous in the annals of our land such as Ralph Waldo Emerson. Name is Bronson Orkut and Larry David. Zorro Margaret full of Horace Greeley William Henry Channing Theodore Paca and others although not members were frequent visitors and sympathetic friends. Brook Farm a winsome project sprang directly from the desire of the Rev. George Ripley who had been a Unitarian minister in Boston to put into practical operation or
to actualize as he himself expressed that those principles of associative living which were implied by transcendentalism in early April 1840 one he with his wife Sophie and a few like minded friends moved out to a milk fire and Roxbury ten miles from Boston. Here they proposed to plan what might be pictured as an earthly paradise. That is a purified and improved order of society. The farm on which they lived was a pleasant place built amid gentle sloping valleys and hills surrounded by pine trees. The Charles River laser lay rolling along in the valley. This was a milk farm. The sandy soil of the great marshes around it making it useless for cultivation. But this farm held a great fascination for the reverend and Mrs. Ripley and they frequently discussed why this is the spot in which to carry out our dearest wish. Here we can ensure a more natural union between intellectual and manual labor than now exists. Here we can combine the thinker and the worker as far as possible in the
same individual. We can guarantee the highest mental freedom by providing all with labor adapted to the tastes and talents. But George how do you propose to finance this experience. I am perfectly in sympathy with you at Jack to say as you well know that speech when there each one there will receive the fruit of his own and the groups industry the benefits of education and the profits of labor will be open to all. And we can thus prepare a society of liberal intelligent and cultivated persons whose relations with each other will permit a more wholesome and simple life than can be led amidst the pressure of our competitive institutions. But you can accomplish these objectives only by the necessary financing. Yes yes I know. I have thought of that fire. We shall organize an association. The Brook Farm Institute of agriculture and education a joint stock company among those who are friendly to this enterprise. Each subscriber will be guaranteed a fixed interest in subscriptions to be secured by the Brook Farm real
estate I have already written a letter to Waldo Emerson regarding my plans. The Ledger is here somewhere or is this the letter. Oh yes yes it is. Where did you find it. It was here on the table all the time. I think they are George since you resigned from the ministry to spend more time on your fresh use of philosophy in life hunting there has become more and more absent minded. I've discussed the matter with the Reverend Dr. Jennings via. He's very influential. He approves. Yes I know that you like the letter to Walter. Is it ready to post I have the objectives to add this I shall do now my pen my pencil Fiat Where's my pen. It is there on the table to your right. Dick No I didn't. You can ignore PR for the purposes of Brook Farm far more effectively to promote the great
purposes of human culture to establish the external relations of life on the basis of wisdom and purity to apply the principles of justice and love to our social organization to substitute a system of brotherly cooperation for one of selfish competition to diminish the desire of excessive accumulation by making the acquisition of individual property subservient to upright and disinterested uses to guarantee to each other the means of physical support and of spiritual progress and thus to impart a greater freedom. Simplicity truthfulness refinement and moral dignity to our mode of life to accomplish the objectives just name we propose to take a small tract of land which under skillful farming uniting the garden and the farm will be adequate to the support of the families which live there. We shall connect with this a school college in which the most complete instruction shall be given from the first rudiments to the highest culture. I seek your support.
In the winter of 1841 Ripley decided to buy Brook Farm making himself at first responsible for its management and success. In April 1841 he with his wife and sister and some 15 others including Nathaniel Hawthorne took possession of the farmhouse which with a large barn was already on the estate. It took about a year to get started. Stockholders who lived at Brook Farm were to have their labor offset the price of board a year's labor for a year's board. Sixty hours constituted a week's Labor from May to October 48 hours from November to April. All work manual or intellectual was credited to members at a uniform rate of 10 cents an hour. The price of board to those who did not work was four dollars a week which included rent fuel light and washing. Children under 10 paid three dollars and a half a week exclusive of washing and separate fire. The farmhouse was immediately christened the hive a good name since it was to be the heart of the community activity. Here was the
common dining room and kitchen while the unfinished loft named had a cafe. It was devoted to a dormitory for men. The nest a small building used as a school for some time stood near the hive. Another building the cottage was added later. There was also a workshop a greenhouse and the gardening building. The Phalange story about which we'll hear more came later. People from New York are received at Borders and several Spanish boys who even sent a student from the Philippines farmworkers started a greenhouse will soon build from several forms of industry put on an experimental basis. Carpentry printing shoemaking dishes DAWs sashes and blinds. Every member of the community was expected to participate in some such kind of practical activity. Domestic Service or agriculture. A brilliant little magazine The Harbinger was published there was no church or chapel but religious services were often held out on the grove the Pulpit Rock a neighboring boat of Roxbury putting
stone from which according to local tradition the Apostle John Elliott was supposed to have in early colonial days preached to the Indians. The people at Brook Farm were happy they work together. I saw it together. Not all of them thought alike. They did household chores together. There were many intellectual conversations and studies. The School for the children was a happy place if a bit disorganized. It often happened that a teacher would leave his digging on the farm to meet a pupil but the people chasing the squirrel or watching a woodchuck would forget his engagement. There was a lightness of heart and perform a cheerfulness which could not be denied. Everyone pitched in when there was something to be done. Visitors were amused at the fanaticism shown by well-bred women scrubbing floors and scraping plates out of scholars and gentleman hauling potatoes and cleaning out stables with an
air of cheerful enjoyment. Than a horse on a sign and fertilizer. Made the observation that a man may as well be buried there in the fertilizer under a pile of money. He called the object of his work his gold mine. I am although there were more young men than young women requirement. Everyone had a good time. Dances were popular and in the summer there were picnics in the nearby woods and joined at almost from the first was a serious pursuit of the community. It was a daily habit of life but duty. There was the habit of running boating parties on the Charles River and hikes and winter there was skating and coasting and indoor recreation like literary societies and reading clubs.
There was music to be enjoyed dialogue charades and have looked throughout it all according to one author Brook Farm was rich in cheerful but was always in character with the Purposes of the experiment to substitute a system of brotherly cooperation for one of superficial competition. On Sunday afternoons during the earlier years Ripley explained cotton Spinoza and there were often lectures by Emerson Margaret Fuller. Oh look at Ms Bayne and Dr. Channing. Most of the women while working at the farm were a short script with knickerbockers of the same material but at social events they were close with the prevailing fashions of the period. Many of the men wore tunics instead of what they termed the old world copes picturesque little visor less caps were also won by the men with beards and long hair completing the picture. The farmers on the surrounding farms considered these costumes a bit odd for tillers of the soil. There was most of the time harmony and mutual admiration among the Transcendentalist.
Many of whom stayed at Brook Farm. One of them however Ralph Waldo Emerson joined a minority in questioning the value of the Brook Farm experiment while admitting it was a pleasant place. He called their activities an age of reason in a paddy pan Emerson had always emphasized the individual not the group in his thinking and writing. He was concerned with what he called the infinitude of the private men and he mistrusted even such an idealistic project as Brook Farm where the individual would have to give up some of himself for the group. In October 1840 Emerson wrote in his journals. I do not wish to remove from my present prison to a prison a little larger. I wish to break all prisons. Not conquered my own house yet it acts and repents for me. Shall I raise the siege of this hen coop and March baffled away to a pretended siege of Babylon. Seems to me that to do so were to dodge the problem I'm set to resolve and to hide my impotency in the thick of the crowd
broke from started with about fifteen persons and never increased beyond about one hundred fifty. Let's meet some of the leaders of this group now and find out what kind of people they were. George Ripley founder of the farm. He was slender and handsome with bright piercing eyes. He had a forceful manner and a quiet voice. He was however lacking in the gift of thrilling speech in a small room among friends he was eloquent persuasive and chanting but in a meeting house on a formal occasion before a mixed audience. He was an impassioned almost code if human nature word of honor as he believed then only the mesh of a vicious social order withheld mankind from living in simple noble happy Brotherhood reform the system of society and man's natural goodness would be released. Gradually he grew into the idea of making book form a phalanx whereby in accord with the ideas of foreign aid the
French Socialist people would live in groups according to their natural inclinations. We can make a great contribution to human knowledge in this way. This arrangement would destroy the artificial restraints put upon natural man by civilization. So fire Ripley wife of George Russell's reply was a woman of extraordinary intellectual undamaged who had a most returned of memory was quick of wit and was a brilliant conversationalist with a charming winning manner. At first I was in complete sympathy with my husband's social ideals. I accepted without question his book farm scheme and worked hard for its success. But gradually I began to feel that the noble aspirations who had started it were disappearing at the thought of the group was turning to materialism. I finally began to sympathy with the book movement. Nothe annual Hawthorne Maisano horse on was a handsome young man broad
shouldered and we're going to athletic build. You had black wavy hair and a fine complection you had a low deep voice was quiet and congenial. I went to Brook Farm mostly as a financial move as an investment in the future to make more secure my projected marriage to sell five people. At first I rather liked it. But after a while I became tired of working in the stable. My good fellows have thought bothered me also that I have tried to domineer the other cows refused to have anything to do with it. They have however had a very intelligent face and a reflective cast of characters and the women the women at Brook Farm I found to be always scribbling always scribbling. There were other names prominent at Brook Farm Margaret Fuller who came frequently and occasionally stayed overnight. Charles Anderson Dana who taught Greek and German at the brook Fame school John Dwight Theodore Parker pastor of the nearby First
Parish Church Unitarian Amos Bronson I'll get in Charles Lane frequently visited the farm they were busy on their plans for fruit lands which will be discussed shortly. A friend of the farm also was Elizabeth Peabody who had helped Bronson all get with his temple school. We have mentioned the happiness of Brook Farm and it's clearly is the intellectual pursuits of those who lived and visited there. We've mentioned also for a reason and a phalanx representing a new system of life. Korea's ideas have been promoted by Horace Greeley the newspaper man now in 1844 the Central House of Brook Farm was to be a new building of farmland story. One hundred seventy five feet long and constructed of wood financing the building was difficult in the progress of building slow. On Saturday February 28 1846 the carpenters put up a stove in the basement of the building in order to dry it sufficiently to make it work safe and a fire was kindled there a few mornings later.
March 30th that night dance was given up the hive to celebrate what looked like the end of the struggle to have a better time. I started when I arose and I ran into cry. Fine. Line. Got. The full onstream dude was on fire. The Farm residents forced the flames. Neighboring farmers rushed to the scene. But it was all them things. The building was a valuable building representing a great financial investment was a total loss. There was nothing left but to sink so as would help battle the blaze with his customary car age. George Ripley founder of Brook Farm summoned his friends and neighbors around him. I wish to thank all of you want to help my associates and me in this tragic hour. I know that many of you are not residents of the car you have left your own
labors to assist us. Indeed your visit is so unexpected that I can only regret that group if I was not better prepared to give you a worthier if not a warm reception. The least we can do is to invite you all to share in the morning's breakfast gone. The breakfast is just me. The West Roxbury Association which own book form had been in existence for just five years the word experiment in common a living had been carried out during those five years the association a built or bought three houses besides making substantial additions to the original house it had constructed a workshop and a greenhouse. It had beautified and cultivated a large tract of land and it had nearly finished a huge finance trees 75 percent paid for the fire and a finance tree which wasn't insured was for the transcendentalists try to experiment Ling get a few more
months during which they attempted to raise money. But it was futile. Now I'm financially defeated. The book Farm experiment waned into history leaving behind the sound of its music and laughter. And the impact of its people and their hopes for Utopia. After the experiment failed its members scattered widely. Some went to Concord Massachusetts some to New York some to the west and some to Europe. Many of those who had thus felt the influence of books achieved higher moch in later life. For example Christopher Crouch the artist and poet. George William Curtis the literary critic and editor of Harper's Weekly and papa's easy chair is a Dana editor of The New York Sun.
Francis S. Balo soldier and statesman John Sullivan the musician. Isaac peck a Catholic convert and founder of the Polish Torah such was the precious harvest of high minded and great hearted life. The books on Bora and yielded. In his novel The price bear romance story which while fictitious reflects the singing and final boss on his account wistfully confess. Often in these years that a docking around me. I remember our beautiful scheme of the noble and unselfish life and how fair in that first some of the pit the prospect that it might end you up for generations and be perfected as the ages rode away into the system of the people in the world. Well my former associates now there are only three or four of those true hearted men still laboring in the sun. I sometimes fancy that I should direct my world weary footsteps that the would and entreat them to receive
me for old friendship's sake. More and more I feel that we had struck upon what ought to be a truth. Posterity made to get up and profit by it. And a previous broadcast in this series you heard the story of Amos Bronson his education theories and his ill fated Temple School in Boston. Amos Bronson all Kit enters the scene again this time as the promoter an instigator of an experiment similar to Brook Farm lands in the town of Harvard Massachusetts. This is the story of I'll get is can so should family and the continuing quest for new Eden. These are the sounds of a small Happy Town. Harbored Massachusetts. The church bells in the distance. The carriage of the blacksmith of the shot of.
All of them of the period of the 1840. To Hobert Massachusetts and up your orchid fresh from a trip to England. His aspirations one idea life unquenched. Allcock unpractical a dreamer and a visionary in every sense of the word. He was accompanied by a small group of English friends a fine library on mysticism and occult subjects and a passion to build a new type of community. My plan for the plans was very simple. I missed all goodness friends felt the evils of life were not so much social or political as personal and not a personal reform only could eradicate them. That self-denial was the road to eternal life and the property was an evil and animal food of all kinds an abomination. No animal substance neither flesh fish but a cheese eggs not milk was allowed to be used to programs. They were all denounced as pollution and thus tending to corrupt a body. And through that the
soda tea and coffee molasses and Rice were also ruled out. Only water was used as a beverage fertilizing the landless dog that believed was unjust since it forced nature of vegetables which I speired grew into the air. We're all right to eat those which grew downward beats radishes and so on were not allowed. The people there had what to us are strange notions. One of them Samuel Leonard lived for one whole year on crackers and the next year exclusively on apples. Mr. Olcott further felt that to be entirely free men must get away from animals since man is a slave to the care and protection of those animals and the use of animals either for meat or products robbing animals of their natural rights in shark this group was not only out to free human beings from all forms of slavery to purpose but to free their animals and even the ground itself. This was to be the new age where everyone and everything was free and unspoiled.
Mrs. Orcutt did much of the work of fruit lambs but in spite of our efforts the small group nearly starved to bread was made into the shape of animals to make it more palatable. But it tasted like bread. Joseph Palma who had previously been persecuted because he insisted on wearing a beard when beards were out weren't fashionable. He was approved plans. He was a practical farmer who didn't object to using animals for plowing with or without an emergency. His work on fruit lands brought food when food was very scarce. The whole story of this experiment has told very entertaining Lee in transcendental wild oats by Louisa May Alcott. How she must have enjoyed writing it. Listen to the short sequence. The group of reformers has just sat down to a meal. The discussion is about a lapse. You cannot use any animal substance right. I do hope light of some sort is to be thrown upon the enterprise. Said Mrs. Lamb with anxiety. For in those
days kerosene and canteen were not and gas unknown in the wilderness. We shall go without till we have discovered some vegetable oil or wax disservice replied Brother Timon in decided tone which caused Mr hope to resolve that her private lamp should be always trimmed if not burning. Each member is to perform the work for which experience strength and taste best fit him continue dictating line thus drudgery and disorder will be avoided and harmony lasted Louisa my Orkut recorded in transcendental while doubts the end of most secrets of our father's noble experiment that fruit lines are about against materialism. A search for Eden which failed us Brook Farm and fruit lands to comment our plans based on idealistic dreams and Brook Farm which was intended to prove that people could live together in harmony in a peculiar type of socialistic living and thinking book from our general much good
literature and of ideas which even today have their impact upon our society. Front Lines was the actuality of the idea that each man could and should live in accord with his individual convictions element and its lack of success was a lack of consideration for the other members of the group. Even so those who participated in these ventures remembered them with kindness in spite of inconveniences and hardships. This was especially true for plan. I have been there and still would go. Isaac was like a little heaven below. Little heaven. Utopia was sought by the transcendentalists of these two places. And they failed trying. There's another chapter an interesting chapter in the New England renaissance. This has been the New England Renaissance written and produced at Boston
University for the National Association of educational broadcasters in cooperation with the fund for adult education. The New England Renaissance was produced and directed by George W. Sloan Jr. assisted by William Bagot and Mel grey. Our script was written by Sidney a diamond Dr. Richard C. Carpenter was research and content consultant Professor Donald Bourne and Rod Wright Meyer were narrators our cast included John Codman Jr. Larry Hanson M. Henson Sandra Lee Stan lip Audrey snow Martin Sigman and Irv which theme music for this program was taken from Charles Ives composition three places in New England. Be sure to listen again next week. Renaissance
program number five within myself an immense force. It's the story of Margaret Fuller the brilliant the tragic and her contributions to the dial. In subsequent weeks on this series you will hear the story story of the New England renaissance. This is the beat tape network.
New England renaissance
Like a little heaven
Producing Organization
WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
The story of the Brook Farm experiment in West Roxbury and the Fruitlands experiment in the town of Harvard, Massachusetts.
Series Description
A dramatic re-creation of the New England Renaissance produced at Boston University.
Broadcast Date
New England--History--1775-1865
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Advisor: Carpenter, Richard, 1916-
Director: Sloan, George, W., Jr.
Producer: Boston University
Producing Organization: WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
Speaker: Bourne, Donald
Speaker: Rightmire, Rod
Writer: Diamond, Sidney, A.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-2-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:45
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Chicago: “New England renaissance; Like a little heaven,” 1954-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
MLA: “New England renaissance; Like a little heaven.” 1954-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <>.
APA: New England renaissance; Like a little heaven. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from