1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/New Harmony
NEW HARMONY, a village in Posey county, Indiana, U.S.A., on the Wabash river, about 22 m. N.W. of Evansville. Pop. (1900) 1341; (1910) 1229. It is served by the Illinois Central railway, and has regular steamboat connexion with the river cities. New Harmony had its beginning in 1814-1815, when it became the home of a communistic religious sect known variously as the Harmonists, Harmonites and Rappites, founded in Germany towards the end of the 18th century by George Rapp (1757-1847), a native of Iptingen in Württemberg. Rapp and his followers, who sought to form a community after the manner of the primitive Christian Church, were persecuted in Germany, and in 1803-1804 emigrated to Butler county, Pennsylvania. There they established in 1805 a community known as Harmony, consisting of some 600 persons, who held their property in common and in 1807 adopted celibacy. In 1814 Rapp sold most of his Pennsylvania land and bought about 24,735 acres (in the next ten years more than 14,000 acres in addition) on the Wabash river in Indiana Territory. In 1814-1815 Rapp and a thousand of his followers settled on the Indiana tract, their headquarters being established at New Harmony, or Harmonie as they called it. The settlers, mostly Germans, devoted themselves to agriculture, weaving and leather-working so industriously that they prospered from the start. Rapp, however, in 1825 disposed of his lands and property to Robert Owen, having returned with part of his followers to Pennsylvania and founded a new community known as Economy (q.v.), in Beaver county, where he died in 1847. Intent on founding a socialistic community, Owen went to the United States in 1824, and purchased Rapp's lands and live stock for $182,000. He interested several well-known scientists in his settlement, and with them came to New Harmony in the spring of 1826. Within six months the community numbered over 1000. Among its most notable members were Robert Owen's sons, Robert Dale Owen (1801-1877), a political leader and diplomat; David Dale Owen (1807-1860) and Richard Owen (1810-1890), both geologists of note; William MaClure (1763-1840), the founder of the Academy of Natural Sciences at Philadelphia; Thomas Say (1787-1834), “the father of American Zoology”; Charles Lesueur, a scientist and antiquarian; and Gerard Troost (1776-1850), a well-known geologist. The greater part of the settlers, however, were impractical theorists or adventurers. Constitution after constitution was adopted, and with the adoption of each new constitution and with each new religious discussion a group would secede and form a separate community—in 1828 there were ten—the best known and most successful being Macluria (like the others, occupying a part of Owen's land), named after William MaClure, who became its directing power. The whole organization broke up in 1827, and Owen left New Harmony in 1828. New Harmony has a Working Men's Institute Public Library, founded in 1838 by William MaClure, and having in 1907 18,000 volumes; the collection is rich in works dealing with socialism.
(Philadelphia), vol. 2 (new series), for January 1904; G. B. Lockwood and C. A. Prosser, The New Harmony Movement (New York, 1907); Meredith Nicholson, The Hoosiers (New York, 1901); Morris Hillquit, History of Socialism in the United States (New York, 1903);and Frank Podmore, Robert Owen (London, 1906).