The Oneida Community

By: Patrick Byrd and

Allen Block

The Oneida Community was an example of the religious reforms that took place in the 19th century. They lived in New York, and their main belief, perfectionism, was that they could live free and without sin on Earth, and not only in heaven. They were a Utopian society. They held meetings designed to publicize an eliminate bad traits in members of the society. They ran a stirpiculture experiment to produce more perfect children. The community declined with the death of its founder, John Noyes. Their expression of the faith they chose was consistent with the reforms going on at the time.

This is a photo of some of the original members of the Oneida Community.

The Community was first founded by John Humphrey Noyes. The members of this society believed the Jesus had already returned to Earth in 70 A.D., so they felt they were already living in "heaven."  They practiced communalism, which essentially meant that everybody belonged to everybody else. Everyone was part of one large complex marriage involving everyone in the community.  Many Americans looked at these societies highly critically, disgusted by their practices.

This is an etching of a night in an Oneida Community Library. Every member of their society was encouraged to pursue academics and further their own knowledge, for they felt it was essential to making the Utopian Society they desired.

These are teapots made by what is left of the Oneida Community today, though they no longer exist in the way they did before. As time went on, their society grew rapidly, then gradually decayed until there was only one settlement remaining. In the 1878 a large tornado completely wiped out the town. Now, instead of the (strange) practices the used to partake in while living in their Utopian society, they make silverware.

This is a photo of some of the original members of the Oneida Community.

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