The Oneida Community was controversial in its day, especially on the subjects of gender relations, sex, and the standing of women. Those topics continue to attract scholarly interest today. While this essay travels much the same ground, it reconsiders gender relations at Oneida in a different light. Mine is an interpretive framework embracing not only Noyes’ doctrine and Community members’ views, but also the material setting of Community life—some basic economic and physical circumstances of their existence—and how their lives changed over the course of three decades. Two eras of work organization are distinguished here because each involved different relations of production and gender. In effect, there was an age of Bees, followed by a time of Hirelings.

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