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The Hopedale Community Collection provides, on microfilm, a thorough record and unique insight into one of America's 19th-century forerunners of the shared community concept.

Students and researchers in sociology, history, and religion will value access to this collection, as it contains not only the philosophical material of Hopedale's founder, Adin Ballou, but also a detailed documentation of the practicalities of daily life at Hopedale Community. Students will be able to analyze the theoretical ideals versus the reality of human communal existence using this community as a starting point.

The Hopedale Community was founded in 1841 in Mendon, Massachusetts, and its ethos was solidly Christian. Under Ballou's leadership, the community grew to some 300 persons in the first 14 years, and supported mills, shops, and schools on its 600 acres of land as a joint-stock company. In 1856 the community collapsed due to a moral and economic decline.

Featured in this collection are:

  • the official minutes and records of Hopedale Community, including photographs of the village and its residents
  • nine periodicals, including a complete run of The Practical Christian (1840-1860) plus The Non-Resistant, both works by Ballou that provide information on the philosophy that became central to Hopedale's communal lifestyle
  • books, pamphlets, tracts, and broadsides printed by and about Hopedale Community

This collection was filmed in cooperation with the Bancroft Library in Hopedale, Massachusetts.

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