1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Godin, Jean Baptiste André

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GODIN, JEAN BAPTISTE ANDRÉ (1817–1888), French socialist, was born on the 26th of January 1817 at Esquehéries (Aisne). The son of an artisan, he entered an iron-works at an early age, and at seventeen made a tour of France as journeyman. Returning to Esquehéries in 1837, he started a small factory for the manufacture of castings for heating-stoves. The business increased rapidly, and for the purpose of railway facilities was transferred to Guise in 1846. At the time of Godin's death in 1888 the annual output was over four millions of francs (£160,000), and in 1908 the employees numbered over 2000 and the output was over £280,000. An ardent disciple of Fourier, he advanced a considerable sum of money towards the disastrous Fourierist experiment of V. P. Considérant (q.v.) in Texas. He profited, however, by its failure, and in 1859 started the familistère or community settlement of Guise on more carefully laid plans. It comprises, in addition to the workshops, three large buildings, four storeys high, capable of housing all the work-people, each family having two or three rooms. Attached to each building is a vast central court, covered with a glass roof, under which the children can play in all weathers. There are also crèches, nurseries, hospital, refreshment rooms and recreation rooms of various kinds, stores for the purchase of groceries, drapery and every necessity, and a large theatre for concerts and dramatic entertainments. In 1880 the whole was turned into a co-operative society, with provision by which it eventually became the property of the workers. In 1871 Godin was elected deputy for Aisne, but retired in 1876 to devote himself to the management of the familistère. In 1882 he was created a knight of the legion of honour.

Godin was the author of Solutions sociales (1871); Les Socialistes et les droits du travail (1874); Mutualité sociale (1880); La République du travail et la réforme parlementaire (1889). See Bernardot, Le Familistère de Guise et son fondateur (Paris, 1887); Fischer, Die Familistère Godin's (Berlin, 1890); Lestelle, Étude sur le familistère de Guise (Paris, 1904) ; D. F. P., Le Familistère illustré, résultats de vingt ans d'association, 1880–1900 (Eng. trans., Twenty-eight years of co-partnership at Guise, by A. Williams, 1908).