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Communal Societies

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The Oneida Community Library

Description of the Communal Societies Collection

The Special Collections of Hamilton College include a substantial gathering of primary and secondary source materials relating to American Communal Societies: groups of people who have intentionally separated themselves from society in general and live according to a shared set of principles, whether religious or secular, in common ownership of property. This collection consists of manuscripts, printed works, visual materials, audio/video materials, ephemera, and a limited number of artifacts from the eighteenth through the late twentieth centuries.

The aim of the collection is to be comprehensive for imprints relating to all aspects of American Communal Societies, and strong in materials relating to the Kentucky Revival, the Reformed Methodists, the Burned-Over District, the early Adventist movement, Spiritualism, and nineteenth-century reform movements. We also have a number of imprints from the Rogerenes, the Ephrata Cloister, the Unitas Fratrum or Moravians, and periodical literature related to Robert Owen.

Selected photographs and ephemera are viewable through the Digital Collections portal. Manuscript materials are being cataloged, and finding aids are currently available for some parts of the collection.

Printed materials in the Communal Societies Collection are findable in the library's online catalog ALEX.

Research on site at Hamilton College

To schedule a research visit, please contact us in advance.

Christian Goodwillie, Director and Curator of Special Collections and Archives
E-mail: cgoodwil (at) hamilton (dot) edu
Telephone: (315) 859-4447

Special Collections
Burke Library
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
Regular hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Snow Hill Cloister Collection
This is a collection of photographs related to the Snow Hill Cloister near Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. A finding aid to Snow Hill Cloister manuscripts in the Communal Societies Collection is also available. *** More information about the Snow Hill Cloister materials on this website and at Hamilton College. ***
Sun Ra Collection
This collection features digital versions of the some of the writings of the jazz musician and cosmic thinker Sun Ra (1914-1993). Born Herman Poole Blount, he took the name Sun Ra (after Ra, the Egyptian God of the Sun). He developed a complex persona and mythology that would make him a pioneer of Afrofuturism. This digital collection is a collaborative enterprise between John and Peter Hinds and the Department of Special Collections and Archives, Burke Library, Hamilton College. Future additions to the collection may include transcriptions of additional, previously unpublished interviews with Sun Ra and the Arkestra. *** More information about the Sun Ra materials on this website and at Hamilton College. ***
Topolobampo Colony Collection
The Topolobampo cooperative colony was founded in 1886 by a group of American colonists at Sinaloa, Mexico, at the head of the Gulf of California. Leader Albert Kimsey Owen (1847-1916) was a surveyor, civil engineer, and utopian socialist. He dreamed of establishing a railroad from Texas to the site of "Pacific City," his ideal planned settlement. Owen funded his ideas through his Credit Foncier Company of Sinaloa. His ambitious plans were never fully realized, and the colony ultimately failed.
Woodhull and Claflin Collection
Victoria (Claflin) Woodhull (September 23, 1838 – June 9, 1927) and her younger sister Tennessee Claflin (October 26, 1844 – January 18, 1923) were suffragist activists who promoted their ideas in their "Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly" which began publication in 1870. It was one of the first newspapers founded by women in the United States.