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Kerista Commune

Collection Information

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The Kerista commune existed in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, California, from 1971 to 1991. The Kerista religion was founded in 1956 in New York City by World War II veteran John Peltz Presmont, who became known as Bro Jud Presmont. The Keristans practiced polyfidelity, in which up to twenty-four or thirty-six partners (an even mix of men and women) were faithful to each other, forming a BFIC ("best friend identity cluster") that slept together on a fixed rotating schedule. Keristans also employed an intense face-to-face form of group criticism which they called "gestalt-o-rama." Hamilton College holds the major archive for the commune, comprised of hundreds of manuscripts, publications, ephemera, visual materials, video recordings, artifacts, and over 350 cassette recordings of the "gestalt-o-rama" sessions. 

Materials Digitized

  • Finding aids to manuscript, printed, and audio collections (3 PDFs).
  • Ephemera (154 items, flyers, programs, posters)

External Resources


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

(Reviewed: February 20, 2014)


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