The Mutual Home Colony Association was a freethinking (anarchist) community that operated from 1898-1919. Located twelve miles across the bay from Tacoma, Washington, Home was reachable only by boat. Despite its remote location, the colony stayed connected to the greater world of Progressive Era radicalism through the publication of several newspapers. For some of these few if any issues survive. Extant print runs of two papers, however, illuminate both the daily life of the Home community and its ties to other expressions of cultural dissent.
A great many intentional communities have published community newspapers, which appear to serve multiple functions. Here I will use a “developmental approach” to explore the layered uses of print culture in the Home Colony. My discussion will primarily consider Discontent: Mother of Progress, which ran for almost four years between 1898 and 1902, and its successor, The Demonstrator, which was published between 1903 and 1908. Toward the end, I will discuss two other papers produced at the colony, The Agitator, which was published between 1910 and 1912, and its successor, The Syndicalist, which operated for less than a year in 1913, which bore the much stronger imprint of their writer and editor, the “Wobbly” activist Jay Fox.