A Bibliography of Bibliographies and Reference Works Related to New Harmony, Indiana


James Payne


Arndt, Karl J. R. George Rapp’s Successors and Material Heirs 1847-1916. Cranbury. New Jersey: Associated University Presses, Inc., 1971.
Arndt’s text, though it primarily concerns the prolonged dissolution of Rapp’s Harmony Society after its return to Pennsylvania from New Harmony, Indiana, includes two appendices of bibliographical interest that reflect on the Harmonists’ decade on the Wabash. Appendix A (378-413) is a “Survey of the Harmony Society Archives at Economy, Pennsylvania” that provides a listing of bound records, as well as unbound documents and manuscripts, of the Rappists up to 1920. Pertinent to New Harmony are listings of day-books, ledgers, family registers, and medicine books from the period of Rappist settlement in Indiana. Arndt provides broad annotations for groupings of manuscripts, but only the title, date, and a brief description for the bound volumes. Appendix B (414-429) “The Library of the Harmony Society” is a list compiled in 1829 by R. L. Baker of the contents of the Rappists’ German library four years after leaving New Harmony, Indiana, excepting the Harmony Society’s musical, scientific, and technical works. Some 360 titles are included, with what appears to be the number of copies in the library and the price of each title. Appendix A would serve a researcher well as a guide to the archives at Economy, while Appendix B is a readymade collecting template.
Ballinger, John. A Bibliography of Robert Owen, The Socialist, 1771-1858, Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged. Aberystwyth, Wales; London: The National Library of Wales in Association With the Press Board of the University of Wales; Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press Warehouse, 1925.
A revised and enlarged edition of a bibliography of the same name published in 1914. Included in the 1925 edition are chronological listings of writings by Robert Owen; a title index to Owen’s writings; periodicals Owen edited; books and pamphlets relating to Owen; periodical articles related to Owen; books and articles related to Owenite communities in general; and a list of known portraits of the Owen family. This bibliography provides the following information for each title: date of publication; title; author, if not Owen; whether or not the title is in the collection of the National Library of Wales; number of pages; place of publication; publisher; number of volumes; size of publication in centimeters; any subsequent editions; and any translations printed. Owen, the Welsh industrialist and social reformer, purchased the New Harmony colony from George Rapp en masse in 1825 and is responsible for the second phase of its development as a secular, communitarian center for experimental education and society. This text provides the Owen collector, New Harmony researcher, or reference librarian working with 19th century utopian materials a thorough record of Owen’s published efforts at reform.
Bestor, Arthur Eugene, Jr. Records of the New Harmony Community: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscript Volumes Preserved in the Working Men’s Institute, New Harmony, Indiana, and Elsewhere, and Reproduced Photographically for the Illinois Historical Survey. Urbana, Illinois: Illinois Historical Survey, 1950.
Bestor, who wrote Backwoods Utopias: the Sectarian and Owenite Phases of Communitarian Socialism in America, 1663-1829, provides vigorous bibliographical descriptions and summary annotations of twelve bound volumes of manuscript records of the New Harmony Community, eleven of which are found at the Working Men’s Institute at New Harmony, Indiana. The majority of these are financial ledgers, however, one volume entitled Community Dances, 1826 is a collection of sheet music and instructions for dances. Most entries include the following information: title, source of manuscript, volume size in inches, type of binding, number of pages, missing leaves, bibliographical irregularities, time covered, the Institute’s call number associated with the manuscript, example text from the manuscript, and an accompanying expository description of the use and scope of the manuscript. Without traveling to New Harmony, or consulting microfilm of the manuscripts, this is the best resource for understanding these integral documentary records of quotidian life at New Harmony for an academic researcher.
Fogarty, Robert S. Dictionary of American Communal and Utopian History. Westport, Connecticut; London: Greenwood Press, 1980.
Fogarty supplies “biographical sketches of more than one hundred [and] forty figures who played a prominent role in developing, leading, or inspiring utopian settlements and ‘biographies’ of fifty-nine of the most important or interesting colonies.” This main text, which includes one-page entries on the Harmony Society, William Maclure, Bernhard Müller, the New Harmony Colony, Robert Owen, and George Rapp, is complemented by a chronological listing of major American communal and utopian societies from 1787 to 1919, as well as a bibliographical essay that includes two paragraphs of recommended sources for New Harmony, and a selected un-annotated bibliography of general interest for research on American utopian communities of the period. The information presented is rudimentary but serves as an easily digestible reference for a special collections librarian or beginning collector to situate New Harmony within its national and historical context while providing ample sources for further study.
Harrison, J.F.C. “A Bibliography of Robert Owen and the Owenite movement in Britain and America,” in Robert Owen and the Owenites in Britain and America: The Quest For the New Moral World, pp. 263-369. London: Routledge and K. Paul, 1969.
Harrison’s bibliography supplements, updates, and expands upon the 1925 Ballinger text by including the large body of secondary works written about Owenism in the 20th century. The bibliography is un-annotated, but exhaustive in its listings at 103 pages. It generally follows the same format and breadth of information supplied by Ballinger per title. The bibliography’s three sections (I: Bibliographies, II: Works by and about Robert Owen, III: Works on Owenism) are further subdivided into Bibliographies of Robert Owen and Owenites; Other Works containing substantial Bibliographies of Robert Owen and the Owenite Movement; Works by and about Robert Owen in Manuscript Collections; Writings of Robert Owen; Unpublished Secondary Works on Robert Owen; Secondary Works on Robert Owen in Books and Pamphlets; Secondary Works on Robert Owen in Articles; Works on Owenism in Manuscripts and Collections; Work by Owenites and Contemporaries; Owenite Periodicals; Rules, Reports and Proceedings; Unpublished Secondary Works on Owenism; Works on Owenism in Books and Pamphlets; and Works on Owenism in articles. Harrison’s bibliography would be invaluable for an Owen collector, or anyone conducting research into his expansive body of work.
MacPhail, Ian & Sutton, Marjorie. “A Bibliography of the Natural History Works Printed at New Harmony, Indiana, 1827-1843” in The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Volume 89:3, September, 1995, pp 299-315. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press on Behalf of the Bibliographical Society of America.
MacPhail and Sutton give extended bibliographical descriptions of 18 natural history works printed with Maclure’s school press at New Harmony, Indiana, ordered chronologically from 1827 to 1843. The book descriptions include collation, pagination, number of leaves, author, title, place of publication, date, contents, number and titles of plates, wrappers, original pricing, as well as information on individual known copies, printing history, references, and provenance. This text is useful for researchers writing on variance between copies or on the history of printing at New Harmony, as well as collectors and bookdealers interested in verifying the authenticity of texts they have on hand.
MacPhail, Ian & Sutton, Marjorie. “A Census of Copies of Thomas Say’s ‘American Conchology,’ New Harmony, 1830-1834 [Philadelphia 1837?]” in The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Volume 91:1, March, 1997, pp 51-64. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press on Behalf of the Bibliographical Society of America.
MacPhail and Sutton’s census of Say’s American Conchology, while published in 1997, was finished in 1995 and started in 1985. It is an update to a census by H.E. Wheeler from 1938. The overwhelming majority of the 55 listed copies are in libraries, including many of the usual institutional suspects. The article is prefaced with the caveat that the six non-institutional copies may have since changed hands. MacPhail and Sutton provide details for each copy regarding current location, provenance, ownership marks, missing parts, marginalia, signatures, level of completion of the copy, etc. Taken with MacPhail and Sutton’s other natural history bibliography and Summer’s bibliography of Say’s writings, the bibliographical resources available for collecting New Harmony’s scientific publications are rich. The census is of equal interest to anyone writing on the dispersion of books, or someone looking for a nearby copy to consult.
Miller, Timothy. The Encyclopedic Guide to American Intentional Communities. Clinton, NY: Richard W. Couper Press, 2013.
Miller’s Encyclopedic Guide to American Intentional Communities is aptly named – here are thousands of entries including even the smallest experiments in communal living in the U.S. Accordingly, individual entries are typically short, perhaps a paragraph or two, and are complemented with a few references and contact information if the intentional community still exists. Robert Owen, George Rapp, and their milieux make appearances throughout, but information here is more cursory than in comparable sources. American Intentional Communities is best for a library in need of a reference source covering a wide array of communal movements, past and present.
Morris, James M. & Kross, Andrea L. Historical Dictionary of Utopianism. Lanham, Maryland; Toronto; Oxford: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2004.
Morris and Kross’s reference text is formatted as an encyclopedia of utopianism writ large, while Fogarty’s work specifically concerns American communal history and Miller’s has a strong contemporary leaning - not that entries concerning New Harmony are skimped over in Morris and Kross. One can find entries for “Economy,” “Harmony Society,” “Macluria,” “William Maclure,” “Bernhard Müller,” “New Harmony,” “New Lanark,” “Johann Pestalozzi,” “Robert Owen,” “Robert Dale Owen,” “George Rapp,” and a chronological list of Owenite Communities. A bibliography of sources covering North American Utopianism (351-370) also pertains to New Harmony studies. The text as a whole is a useful resource for reference librarians needing an easily searchable overview of utopianism in all its global and historical iterations.
Reese, Rena. List of Books and Pamphlets in a Special Collection in the Library of the Workingmen’s Institute, New Harmony, Ind. 1909.
Reese was a librarian working with the Workingmen’s Institute, a library Maclure founded and endowed, in New Harmony, Indiana. Reese’s list, which provides author, title, place of publication, and year of publication of then-current holdings, likely includes many texts which were present during the Rappist and Owenite periods of New Harmony, as well as a great deal of secondary material of interest to the town published in the interim. Reese includes short, explanatory annotations where useful, but the inventory is mostly of interest as a snapshot in time. There is an addendum attached in the 1920s with books that had been added to the library.
Rules and Regulations For the Government of the Library Belonging to the New Harmony Working Men’s Institute With a Catalogue of Its Books. New Harmony, Indiana, 1847.
The Working Men’s Institute was founded in 1838 by William Maclure and is the oldest continually operated library in Indiana. This catalogue of its holdings in 1847 is prefaced by the rules and regulations for membership to, and borrowing from, the library. The catalogue is listed alphabetically by title and includes 404 books, 62 pamphlets, and 18 newspapers. The books are accompanied with sizing information and the number of copies present. The list provides vital insight into the history of the library itself, and into what was present in the post-Owenite cultural landscape of New Harmony.
Summer, Gerald. “A Bibliography of the Scientific Writings of Thomas Say (1787-1834),” in Archives of Natural History (1982) Volume 11, pp 69-81. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press for the Society for the History of Natural History.
Say, the “Father of American Entomology,” followed William Maclure from Philadelphia to New Harmony in 1825 to act as the community’s Superintendent of Literature, Science, and Education and later as its business manager. Say published several works on New Harmony’s school press, including American Conchology, and he died in New Harmony in 1834. His grave is a prominent landmark in the town. Say’s scientific articles are numerous; Summer’s bibliography lists them alphabetically and chronologically by journal per year. Each entry contains at least the article title, place of publication, date, page numbers, and indicates any subsequent printings. Several entries carry annotations of varying lengths, some of which go on in great bibliographical detail, including notations on variations in printing and collaborations with illustrators. It also includes a list of collections of Say’s scientific writings. More so than its politics, perhaps New Harmony’s most sustained contribution to American life is in the natural sciences; collectors of the scientific writing that took place at New Harmony will make extensive use of this bibliography.
Waserman, Manfred J. “A Bio-Bibliography of William Maclure (1763-1840).” Master’s of Library Science dissertation, The Catholic University of America, 1963.
William Maclure, a prominent Scottish geologist and social reformer, was an invested partner in Owenite New Harmony. Waserman’s dissertation provides a thirty-two page biography of Maclure with, importantly, a chronological checklist of books printed in New Harmony on Maclure’s school press from 1827-1843, including works by the geologist David Dale Owen, the U.S. congressman Robert Dale Owen, and the entomologist Thomas Say; a chronological list of over a hundred libraries in Indiana established through Maclure’s will; a bibliographical description, printing history, and census of libraries holding the three volumes of Maclure’s Opinions On Various Subjects, Dedicated to the Industrious Workers; and a bibliography of Maclure’s writing, including books, newspapers, academic articles, letters, and other materials and their respective locations in archives. For a collector focusing on scientific discovery in New Harmony, printing during the Owenite phase of New Harmony, or for a Maclure scholar, this text is invaluable.
Weinfeld, Samuel. “A Survey of Early Theatrical Activity at New Harmony, Indiana.” Master’s thesis, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1964.
Of interest in Weinfeld’s MA thesis is Appendix 1, a sixteen-page chronological checklist of over one hundred plays performed between 1827 and 1877 in New Harmony by the Thespian Society, which was founded by William Owen in 1827, and was nationally known during the period. An excellent checklist for collectors of 19th century playbills – many of which were produced to promote the Thespian Society’s productions – or for general reference for the cultural climate in post-Owenite New Harmony.
Wetzel, Richard D. Frontier Musicians on the Connoquenessing, Wabash, and Ohio: A History of the Music and Musicians of George Rapp’s Harmony Society (1805-1906), Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1976.
Appendix D in Wetzel’s Frontier Musicians, “A Catalog of the Music Collection of Economy Village, Ambridge, Pennsylvania,” contains musical items found in the Economy archives. Wetzel provides, where possible, the “composer, author, or arranger; the title of the work; the publisher and date and place of publication; the number of volumes; and the dimensions of the item in centimeters. The number of pages contained is shown if the item itself is paginated. For items without pagination or with irregular pagination, the number of sheets contained is given. Names of owners, places and dates, and other notes found on a source are included in the description when considered relevant and informative.” Music loomed large in the Rappist way of life, and even a collection of sheet music assembled after their move back to Pennsylvania underscores the relationship the Harmonists had to playing and listening to music. The catalogue is useful for collectors intent on replicating the cultural resources available in the community.


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