oday is Mosaic Monday, and Mary from Little Red House, is hosting this lovely day.
Well we had a break from the heat on Saturday, so I finally got over to Fruitlands in Harvard, Massachusetts. I love learning the history of the Alcott family.
"Technically speaking, Fruitlands refers to an experiment led by Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane which took place here in 1843."
There are many buildings to visit, but I headed right over to see where the Alcott's had lived.
The Fruitlands Farmhouse is lovely and you can almost feel the history as you enter the front door.
"The Alcott family arrived at Fruitlands early in June of 1843 joined by about a dozen other individuals, all hoping to participate in the Alcott's utopian experiment in communal living. The experiment only lasted 7 months."
I met a wonderful tour guide, who knew everything interesting about the experiment, and gave me a tour of the rooms with so much passion. She told me:
"The house was named "Fruitlands" because the inhabitants hoped to live off the fruits of the land, purchasing nothing from the outside world."
We stood in the same room that Thoreau had been in. His desk sitting on an old wooden plank floor. His Antique books stacked on nearby bookshelves.
ronson Alcott, Louisa May's father believed in a very unusual belief system for the era:
"The material world, especially nature, expressed another manifestation of the universal divinity, an idea that became a central aspect of Transcendentalism."
I took this photo at Fruitlands last winter. I added a poem Louisa May wrote, taken from her journal.
Although his Quaker peers tried to convince Bronson to abandon his family and come with him to teach their beliefs, Bronson Alcott would have nothing to do with it.
He said that his family was a unit together. I like him even more than I did before now.
Bronson was so against slavery that he wouldn't even let his family wear anything made with cotton. Instead they used the linen that they grew on their farm.
We walked into the dining room, and my guide said with passion, Emerson sat here.
In a cupboard in the library was May's first paint set.
The grounds are pretty spectacular, fruit trees everywhere of course.
Numerous homes were built to become a compound. Something which Bronson Alcott never did come to witness while was there. He left feeling that the experiment had failed, yet Emerson did not agree.
"Bronson Alcott's vision for a new order tried to integrate changes in science, technology and man's relationship to God. He believed that people's lives were all part of one Divine Nature that flows through all visible things."
What I truly like about Bronson Alcott wasn't his belief system,
nor that he was so ahead of his time in his thinking.
Although it is impressive that his friends included the likes of Emerson and Thoreau,
what I truly like about this man was that he raised Louisa May to be an independent thinking woman who went on to have the success only known to men at the time.
lthough Bronson left with his family with only the promise in his heart, many today are able to live in such environments that were his vision. The song for this post is Promise.
If you are in the Concord area this week you might enjoy this video that talks about a special lecture series
"In Heaven's Name, Give Her A Chance!"
Defining the Sphere of Women in 19th Century America
going on at The School of Philosophy at Orchard House from July 11th through the 16th.