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Ballou’s presidency was superseded by that of E. D. Draper,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,
Perry, Lewis. ‘‘Adin Ballou’s Hopedale Community and the
Theology of Anti-slavery.’’ Church History 39 (September 1970)

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