Review: 'New Harmony Then & Now'

 

New Harmony Then & Now

Text by Donald E. Pitzer, photographs by Darryl D. Jones

Indiana University Press, 2011

Stunning from start to finish, New Harmony Then & Now is a fitting tribute to Jane Blaffer Owen, whose dedicated spirit kept alive the story of one of Indiana’s oldest and most picturesque communities and infused it with an inviting aura that persists even in her passing at age 95 in 2010.

Donald Pitzer provides two insightful historical overviews. The first traces George Rapp and his disciples from their native Germany, to founding Harmony in western Pennsylvania, to founding New Harmony in 1814, two years before Indiana became the 19th U.S. state, and their 1824 sale of the self-sustaining village based on utopian principles. The second essay traces the story of Robert Owen, who purchased New Harmony in order to create “a working model of his New Moral World in a communal setting.”

Pitzer and Jones, through his dynamic full-color photographs, show how Rapp and Owen's larger-than-life personalities still impress 200 years later.

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