Harmony Society (Rappites) 

New Harmony, Indiana
Religious, Christian
Communal Property
1805 - 1905

1 Dining Room 2 Kitchen 3 Classroom 4 Assembly Hall 5 Dormitory 6 Teacher Room

The Harmony Society, led by George Rapp, was a group of religious separatists that arrived in the US in 1805, fleeing religious persecution in Germany. Unlike the Moravians, their goal was not conversion or evangelism, but they did hope to lead by example and to demonstrate “the marvel of communal life.” Communalism arose from their religious beliefs and the hardship of living in the American frontier. The group became celibate in 1807 and lived in communal dormitories. The Community House was one of four large dormitories for men and women. After New Harmony was sold to Robert Owen, the building was used as a school and dormitory.

The Rappites built sturdy, stone and brick towns that were pre-planned and built to last. Their second town, New Harmony, they sold to Robert Owen in 1825. Their third and final village was Economy, built on the Ohio River in Pennsylvania. The aging population of Rappites employed outsiders as laborers and educated their children. In 1906 the “Harmony Society” was officially liquidated by the last three Rappites, 100 years after its foundation.

Rappites End Notes
“Rappite Community House No. 2 in New Harmony, Indiana.” CONTENTdm. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://digitalarchives.usi.edu/digital/collection/RLIC/id/25617/.

Annie Schneider

Communes in the New World

The question of how to live together—of how best to live together—is the foundation of any society. The last few years have exposed the fault lines in our current system: climatic catastrophe, economic crisis, supply chain collapse, civil unrest, rampant inequality, and a global pandemic. We live in congested cities and in potentially dangerous proximity, yet remain isolated. In light of these mounting pressures, it’s time to revisit the fundamentals. How to Live Together offers alternative ways of being, thinking, dwelling, and living. It calls into question every basic assumption and prevailing social norm: belief, sex, the nuclear family, property ownership, our relationship to land, production, and consumption. It is both a critique and a roadmap.