December 5, 2010 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Fruitlands was a Utopian agrarian commune established in Harvard, Massachusetts by Amos Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane in the 1840s, based on Transcendentalist principles. An account of its less-than-successful activities can be found in Alcott's daughter Louisa May Alcott's Transcendental Wild Oats.
posted by Joe Beese (8 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Samuel Larned - Like Hecker, Larned lived briefly at Brook Farm before coming to Fruitlands. He was known for using foul language because he believed that swears said with a pure heart uplifted listeners

Well I've got a new excuse.
posted by The Whelk at 11:46 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

posted by orange swan at 11:49 AM on December 5, 2010

Clara Endicott Sears's important early book on Fruitlands is available on Google Books.
posted by RogerB at 11:51 AM on December 5, 2010

Taught this stuff fairly recently. It really struck me how far ahead of the curve Lane in particular was as regards ethical restrictions on consumption. They had to wear all linen, because wool was sheep-robbery, and cotton, living off the labor of slaves. One tunic for everybody (I'd gladly give a cookie to anyone who could find a pattern or a picture of these). Canvas shoes.

Bread, vegetables, and water: the name was rather a suggestive-sell than a reality. It didn't have quite the sticking power of Brook Farm, the other transcendentalist-cum Fourierist utopia.
posted by LucretiusJones at 11:55 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm going to shamelessly edit and repost my comment from the earlier post I linked to:

Because of their principles, the occupants of Fruitlands all tried to brave a Kansas winter in linen shifts, with the exception of one man, who was a nudist. I seem to remember Alcott commenting that he wasn't dowered with "much personal beauty" and that he was much plagued by insects. After the failure of Fruitlands Bronson Alcott wanted to desert his family and join the Shakers (community of celibate adults), but his wife Abba put her foot down on that one.

When Louisa wrote about the Fruitlands experiment, she would dub it "Apple Slump". When Louisa wote her Little Women series, she would name the unconventional boys' school idealistic yet practical Jo March Bhaer and her husband ran "Plumfield", as though it were a more domesticated and successful version of Fruitlands. Plumfied has a rich, lush sound to it. You can't imagine being cold or hungry while living in a place called Plumfield.
posted by orange swan at 12:27 PM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

the occupants of Fruitlands all tried to brave a Kansas Massachusetts winter in linen shifts

FTFY. Otherwise a good recycled comment, thanks.
posted by briank at 12:54 PM on December 5, 2010

Previously and some prior to that (historically speaking rather than Meta-phorically).
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:24 AM on December 6, 2010

And Fruitlands gave refuge to the man persecuted for having a beard.
posted by Zed at 7:48 AM on December 7, 2010

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