Letters From An American Utopia


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Thanks to the generosity of UMass Press and Historic Northampton, Levellers Press is pleased to be able to issue this foundational work in an affordable paperback edition. In 1842, a group of radical abolitionists and social reformers established the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, a utopian community in western Massachusetts organized around a collectively owned and operated silk mill. Members sought to challenge the prevailing social attitudes of their day by creating a society in which “the rights of all are equal without distinction of sex, color or condition, sect or religion.” This volume brings together a remarkable set of seventy-five letters written by the members of the Stetson family, who belonged to the Association for almost three years. Discovered recently by a family descendant, the correspondence documents the thoughts and experiences of ordinary people struggling to uphold common ideals in demanding circumstances. “The newly discovered Stetson letters answer a historian’s prayer. What a joy to look over the family’s shoulders into the everyday life of the Northampton Association! For the first time we can see Sojourner Truth as a flesh-and-blood person enmeshed in her own family and the Association’s activities, not in retrospect, but, as it were, in real time.” — Nell Irvin Painter, author of Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol

Weight 1.25 lbs
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 1 in
Levellers Press