Hopedale Community

views updated May 17 2018

Hopedale Community

A Spiritualist community founded by Rev. Adin Ballou (1828-1886) in 1841 near Milford, Massachusetts. From 1850 on, this religious and socialistic community was the scene of various spirit manifestations and helped spread Spiritualism in the United States. Ballou proclaimed his new faith in Modern Spirit Manifestations, published in 1852, the year in which he first received communications from his deceased son.

Hopedale was a remarkable experiment in social engineering, a community with admirable ideals of religious, moral, and social cooperation: total abstinence, opposition to slavery, war, and violence; it was dedicated to liberty, equality, and fraternity. It flourished until 1857 but eventually failed through its structure as a joint stock company.

Ballou's presidency was superseded by that of E. D. Draper, an enterprising businessman who, with his brother, made successful investments outside the community. As the community capital dwindled, Draper bought up three quarters of the joint stock, obtaining legal control. He expressed dissatisfaction with the management of the community, and some time around 1858 informed Ballou that the community must come to an end. With the stipulation that Draper would pay off its debts, the Hopedale experiment was terminated.


Holloway, Mark. Heavens on Earth: Utopian Communities in America, 1680-1880. London: Turnstile Press, 1951.

Noyes, John Humphrey. History of American Socialisms. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1870. Reprinted as Strange Cults and Utopias of 19th-century America. New York: Dover Publications, 1966.

Perry, Lewis. "Adin Ballou's Hopedale Community and the Theology of Anti-slavery." Church History 39 (September 1970): 372-389.

Hopedale Community

views updated May 23 2018


HOPEDALE COMMUNITY. SeeUtopian Communities .