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George Wallingford Noyes
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Jay W. Nelson
Free Love in Utopia provides the first in-depth account of how complex marriage was introduced among previously monogamous or single Oneida Community members. Bringing together vivid, first-hand writings by members of the community, this volume portrays daily life in Oneida and the deep religious commitment that permeated every aspect of it. It presents a complex portrait of the community's founder, John Humphrey Noyes, who demanded not only complete religious loyalty from his followers but also minute control over their sexual lives. It recounts the formidable legal suits faced by the community, one of which almost forced it to disband in 1852. Most important, Free Love in Utopia describes in detail how Oneida's "enlarged family" was created and how its unorthodox practices affected its members.
Key selections from a large collection of primary documents detailing Oneida's early years were compiled by George Wallingford Noyes, nephew of the founder. The present volume, astutely edited and introduced by Lawrence Foster, marks the first publication of G. W. Noyes's manuscript, excerpted from the irreplaceable original documents that were burned after his death. The volume also reproduces the sexual manifesto that underlay the community.
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