March 1, 2015
Free Love, 1853
Hopedale in February
Fundraiser for Tracey Powell Liberatore on the Giveforward site.
January, February snowstorms
Glass town seal by Lisa Ferrucci, 1986
During the past two weeks, additions have been made to pages on Draper Company Housing (Several MDN
articles on the proposed sale of Draper houses.) Harrison Block (Hopedale Pharmacy moves from
Harrison Block to Mendon Street, 1991.) Draper Menu (Company timeline and Draper family information
added below the menu.) Draper Looms Still in Use (Article from June 2014 Oxford American about Draper
looms being used to weave denim for your (but not my) $150 to $350 jeans.) Pictures of Harry Kimball,
Carl Taft, and Roy Rehbein added. Hopedale Machine Company (1856 ad) Emily Gay (1856 ad for
Twenty-five years ago - March 1990 - The Royal New Zealand Navy discontinues its daily rum ration.
Lithuania declares independence from the Soviet Union
Mikhail Gorbachev is elected to a five-year term as the first-ever President of the Soviet Union.
Twelve paintings, collectively worth $100 to $300 million, are stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner
Museum in Boston. This is the largest art theft in US history.
Academy Awards - Driving Miss Daisy wins Best Picture.
Fifty Years ago - March 1965 - Bloody Sunday: Some 200 Alabama State Troopers attack 525 civil rights
demonstrators in Selma, Alabama as they attempt to march to the state capitol of Montgomery.
Some 3,500 United States Marines arrive in South Vietnam, becoming the first American combat troops
White Unitarian Universalist minister James J. Reeb, beaten by White supremacists in Selma, Alabama on
March 9 following the second march from Selma, dies in a hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.
Cosmonaut Alexey Leonov, leaving his spacecraft Voskhod 2 for 12 minutes, becomes the first person to
walk in space.
Gemini 3: NASA launches the United States' first 2-person crew (Gus Grissom, John Young) into Earth orbit.
March 1965 was a big news-month. Click here to go to the Wikipedia page for 1965 to see more.
For Hopedale news of 25, 50 and 100 years ago, see articles below this text box.
A Free Love Episode
Following a paragraph in Commune to Company Town about a problem with Community member Matthew
Sutcliffe, Edward Spann continued, "Sutcliffe was only the lesser of two shocks to moral order experienced in
1853, a far greater one coming from perhaps the oldest threat to earthly paradise, human sexuality."
Following a paragraph about the Community's "...reputation for hospitality to new ideas and a friendliness
towards everything calculated to benefit our fellow man..." Adin Ballou wrote the following in his History of the
Among these reprehensible speculations was that which, under a plea for the broadest and largest liberty,
contemplated the removal of all conventional restraints pertaining to the relation of the sexes to each other,
and especially in the matter of marriage, and granting to each other and everyone the privilege of forming
connubial alliances and dissolving them at will, as inclination, pleasure, convenience, or whatever else,
might dictate, under the general name of Free Love. But notwithstanding our vigilance, and in utter
contravention of our solemn declaration concerning chastity and of our well-known adherence to the
principle of monogamic marriage, there arose in our midst during the year 1853, a case of marital infidelity
and illicit intercourse that caused great unpleasantness, perplexity, and scandal, and that required, at length,
The story is simply this. One of our male members, the head of a family, became enamored of a woman,
also a member, who had for some time resided in his household, and proportionally estranged from his
faithful and worthy wife. Suspicions of something wrong arose among outsiders, causing considerable talk
of a scurrilous nature, though nothing was absolutely known or could be proved to that effect. At length the
unhappiness of the wife was revealed, and the cause of it, upon investigation, made public. The matter then
very properly received attention from the Council, who summoned the delinquents before them for
examination and discipline. Upon being questioned and confronted with proof of misconduct, they
acknowledged culpability, professed regret and penitence, and promised amendment. But these
professions proved insincere, or at least transient, and the parties were again called to account. They then
did not deny or attempt to conceal their criminality, but rather justified it on the ground that it was consistent
with the principles of the new philosophy touching personal liberty, sexual relations, and conjugal bond,
which they had embraced--in a word, they openly and unhesitatingly avowed themselves to be Free Lovers,
from conviction and in practice also.
Having taken that position they could not do otherwise than withdraw from Community membership and
leave the locality where both their theory and their action were held in almost universal derision and
abhorrence. They went from us to the settlement of kindred Individual Sovereigns on Long Island, already
adverted to - "Modern Times," where they undoubtedly found congenial companionship, and unbridled liberty
to carry their doctrines out to the farthest possible limit, with no one to question or reproach them, or say
them nay. For, as one who had been unwittingly induced to take up his residence among that "peculiar
people" for a time, and who knew them well - a man of ability and character, well qualified to judge and to
judge wisely - said, "There is a lurking combination among the leaders to do away entirely with the name
and essence of marriage and to introduce instead an open and respectful sanction of promiscuous
cohabitation. they not only cut the bonds of legality and set at nought the proprieties of custom, but they also
scout the idea of constancy in love, and ridicule the sensitiveness of one who refuses to barter
connubialities. Wife with them is synonymous with slave, and monogamy is denounced as a vicious
monopoly of affection.
This case of marital infidelity and contempt of the marriage covenant occurring in our very midst and at a time
when the most lax, corrupting, and dangerous sentiments concerning the general subject to which they
relate were bruited abroad and extolled throughout the general community under the specious and
captivating guise of Liberty and Reform, led us at Hopedale to declare our views and make our position
known to the world beyond all doubt or peradventure. This we effected in a series of resolutions covering the
whole ground involved in the divinely appointed distinction of sex, so far as it applies to the human race,
which was passed in Community meeting held July 10, 1853.
The occurrence which has formed the subject of comment in the last few pages, and which in justice to the
truth of history could not have been omitted from the present volume, was the only one of its kind that ever
transpired during our entire existence - the only one in which the inculpated parties justified themselves and
took refuge under the bewitching sophistries of "Free Love." In the other few cases of indiscretion, similar in
nature though by no means in degree, that came to light, the erring ones, when called to account, bowed to
their acknowledged standard of duty, made due confession of their wrong, and in Scripture phrase, "brought
forth fruits meet for repentance." But on the whole, and to the credit of our young men and women as well as
those of riper years, it is to be put on record and kept in lasting remembrance that we were singularly exempt
not only from positive scandal touching matters pertaining to the sexes, but also from covert suspicion and
innuendo. Great freedom there was between male and female in the home and in the social circle, and in all
public places, but few instances of excess, undue liberty, or impropriety, calling for reproof and
reprehension. Adin Ballou, History of the Hopedale Community
Letter by Abby Price giving her views on the episode.
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