In 1873 and 1874 Charles Nordhoff, the former managing editor of the New York Evening Post, then working as a freelance descriptive writer, made a personal survey of the major communal societies in the United States. In a period of political and economic turmoil, Nordhoff wanted to observe how ordinary Americans, many of them European immigrants, formed cooperative communities to meet their spiritual, religious and physical needs. The result of his investigation was a book with the ponderous title, The Communistic Societies of the United States from Personal Visit and Observation. One hundred and forty years after its initial publication, Communistic Societies is one of the most frequently studied and cited of all sources on the movements that it documents.
American Communal Societies Quarterly
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