Charles Anderson Dana
Charles Anderson Dana (1819–97) war Journalist bei der New York Tribune und ein enger Mitarbeiter von Ulysses S. Grant, dem 18. Präsidenten der USA und Oberkommandierenden der Unionsarmee während des Bürgerkriegs. Dana bereiste 1848 Europa und berichtete über die bürgerlichen Aufstände in der US-Presse. Bei der Gelegenheit traf Dana in der Nähe von Köln Karl Marx, der später zusammen mit Friedrich Engels für die New York Tribune schrieb.
Nach dem Bankrott des Warenhauses seines Onkels im Jahr 1837, bei dem er als Gehilfe gearbeitet hatte, studierte er ab 1939 in Harvard. Das Studium gab er 1841 angeblich wegen seiner Sehschwäche auf und lebte von 1841 bis zu deren Scheitern 1846 auf der Brook Farm, einer von George Ripley - der mit Sophia Willard Dana verheiratet war, vermutlich einer Verwandten von Charles Anderson - begründeten utopischen Gemeinschaft für Landwirtschaft und Erziehung nach frühsozialistischen Vorstellungen.
Life on Brook Farm was based on balancing labor and leisure while working together for the benefit of the greater community. Each member could choose to do whatever work they found most appealing and all were paid equally, including women. Revenue for the community came from farming and from selling hand-made products like clothing as well as through fees paid by the many visitors to Brook Farm. The main source of income was the school, which was overseen by Mrs. Ripley. A pre-school, primary school, and a college preparatory school attracted children internationally and each child was charged for their education. Adult education was also offered.
George Ripley war mit seiner Frau ein Mitglied der Bewegung der Transzendentalisten, die zeitweise sehr viele bekannte Persönlichkeiten sammelte, aber zum Ende der 1840er Jahre ihren Einfluss verlor.
Transcendentalism is a group of ideas in literature and philosophy that developed in the 1830s and '40s as a protest against the general state of culture and society, and in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University and the doctrine of the Unitarian church taught at Harvard Divinity School. Among transcendentalists' core beliefs was the belief in an ideal spiritual state that "transcends" the physical and empirical and is realized only through the individual's intuition, rather than through the doctrines of established religions.
The major figures in the movement were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Margaret Fuller, and Amos Bronson Alcott. Other prominent transcendentalists included Charles Timothy Brooks, Orestes Brownson, William Ellery Channing, William Henry Channing, James Freeman Clarke, Christopher Pearse Cranch, John Sullivan Dwight, Convers Francis, William Henry Furness, Frederic Henry Hedge, Sylvester Judd, Theodore Parker, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, George Ripley, and Jones Very.
Die einen freien und reformerischen Erziehungsstil pflegende Schule war finanziell erfolgreich und wurde weithin berühmt:
On September 29, 1841, the "Brook Farm Institute of Agriculture and Education" was organized. The school was the most immediate (and at times the only) source of income for Brook Farm and attracted students as far away as Cuba and the Philippines. Children under twelve were charged three-and-a-half dollars per week and, at first, boys over twelve were charged four dollars a week and girls were charged five; by August 1842, the rates were made identical, regardless of gender. Adult education was also available in the evenings. The schedule for adults included courses on moral philosophy, German language, and modern European history.
Dana wurde der Finanzbevollmächtigte der Brook Farm und Chefredakteur ihrer Zeitung „The Harbinger“ (der Vorläufer, der Vorbote, das Omen):
The interests of Social Reform will be paramount to all others in whatever is admitted into the pages of the Harbinger. We shall suffer no attachment to literature, no taste for abstract discussion, no love of purely intellectual theories, to seduce us from our devotion to the cause of the oppressed, the down trodden, the insulted and injured masses of our fellow men. Every pulsation of our being vibrates in sympathy with the wrongs of the toiling millions; and every wise effort for their speedy enfranchisement will find in us resolute and indomitable advocates.
The Harbinger, June 14, 1845
Im Jahr 1844 wurden die Brook Farmer unter dem Einfluss von Horace Greeley, dem Herausgeber der damals einflussreichsten Zeitung der USA, der New York Tribune, dazu verleitet, in einen Phalanstère genannten und sehr aufwändigen Gebäudekomplex für ihre Gemeinschaft zu investieren.
Nachdem ein Brand 1846 die gerade neu errichteten und nicht versicherten Gebäude der Brook Farm zerstört hatte, musste das Farmprojekt aufgegeben werden. Die Farm war zuletzt mit insgesamt $17,445 verschuldet und die Farmer hatten sich seit 1844 das Geld für die neuen Gebäude praktisch vom Mund abgespart, was zu großen Problemen unter den Teilnehmern geführt hatte.
Mit ihrer Zeitung „The Harbinger“ gingen George Ripley und sein Mitherausgeber Dana nach New York, wo sie bis 1847 erschien. Ripley und Dana wurden danach von Horace Greeley für seine „New York Tribune“ als Journalisten in leitender Position übernommen und gaben noch später zusammen eine Enzyklopädie heraus - „The New American Cyclopaedia“, die ihnen in kurzer Zeit einen Gewinn von $100,000 einbrachte. Für diese Enzyklopädie schrieben auch Karl Marx und Friedrich Engels einige Beiträge, nachdem ihre Mitarbeit an der „Tribune“ aus unbekannten Gründen beendet wurde.
Über die Brook-Farm-Community:
The first major public notice of the community was published in August 1841. "The Community at West Roxbury, Mass." was likely written by Elizabeth Palmer Peabody. Though they began with 10 investors, eventually some 32 people would become Brook Farmers. Writer and editor Margaret Fuller was invited to Brook Farm and, though she never officially joined the community, she was a frequent visitor, often spending New Year's Eve there. Ripley received many applications to join the community, especially from people who had little money or those in poor health, but full-fledged membership was granted only to individuals who could afford the $500 share of the joint stock company.
Das war eine merkwürdige Gemeinschaft mit Beziehungen zu ganz wichtigen Familien in den USA.
Elizabeth Palmer Peabody
Peabody was born in Billerica, Massachusetts on May 16, 1804. She was the daughter of Nathaniel Peabody, a physician, and Elizabeth ("Eliza") Palmer, and spent her early years in Salem. After 1822 she resided principally in Boston where she engaged in teaching. She also became a writer and a prominent figure in the Transcendental movement. During 1834–1835, she worked as assistant teacher to Amos Bronson Alcott at his experimental Temple School in Boston. After the school closed, Peabody published Record of a School, outlining the plan of the school and Alcott's philosophy of early childhood education, which had drawn on German models.
Aus der englischen Wikipedia:
Born Sarah Margaret Fuller in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she was given a substantial early education by her father, Timothy Fuller. She later had more formal schooling and became a teacher before, in 1839, she began overseeing what she called "conversations": discussions among women meant to compensate for their lack of access to higher education. She became the first editor of the transcendentalist journal The Dial in 1840, before joining the staff of the New York Tribune under Horace Greeley in 1844. By the time she was in her 30s, Fuller had earned a reputation as the best-read person in New England, male or female, and became the first woman allowed to use the library at Harvard College. Her seminal work, Woman in the Nineteenth Century, was published in 1845. A year later, she was sent to Europe for the Tribune as its first female correspondent. She soon became involved with the revolutions in Italy and allied herself with Giuseppe Mazzini. She had a relationship with Giovanni Ossoli, with whom she had a child. All three members of the family died in a shipwreck off Fire Island, New York, as they were traveling to the United States in 1850. Fuller's body was never recovered.
In 1817, her brother William Henry Fuller was born, and her father was elected as a representative in the United States Congress. For the next eight years, he spent four to six months a year in Washington, D.C. ...
In October 1839, Ralph Waldo Emerson was seeking an editor for his transcendentalist journal The Dial. After several declined the position, he offered it to Fuller, referring to her as "my vivacious friend."