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Bestor, Arthur E. Research Collection on Communitarianism


Scope and Contents

Subject Terms

PDF Box/Folder List

Finding Aid for Bestor, Arthur E. Research Collection on Communitarianism, 1935-1962 | Illinois History and Lincoln Collections

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Collection Overview

Title: Bestor, Arthur E. Research Collection on Communitarianism, 1935-1962View associated digital content.

Collection identifier: 468

Primary Creator: Bestor, Arthur E

Extent: 19.0 cubic feet. More info below.

Subjects: Bestor, Arthur E. (Arthur Eugene), 1908-1994, Brisbane, Albert, 1809-1890, Brook Farm Phalanx (West Roxbury, Boston, Mass.), California, Communitarianism, Connecticut, Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 1803-1882, Fourier, Charles, 1772-1837, Georgia, Indiana--New Harmony, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire--East Canterbury, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Shakers, Texas, Thoreau, Henry David, 1817-1862, Wisconsin

Forms of Material: Professional papers, Research materials

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Arthur E. Bestor (1908-94) earned his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees at Yale. He taught history at Columbia, Stanford, and the University of Wisconsin before joining the faculty at the University of Illinois in 1947. While at Illinois he published his major works, Backwoods Utopias (1950) and Educational Wastelands (1953). In 1962, he left for the University of Washington where he served as professor of history until 1976.

After a brief interest in the early 1930s in Emerson, Thoreau, and Transcendentalism, Bestor turned his efforts to the study of American communitarianism. His dissertation examined the Fourierist movement in the 1840s, while Backwoods Utopias discussed its American Utopian antecedents, particularly Owenism. Backwoods Utopias was to be the first of three books on communitarianism in the United States. Although Bestor did not complete other volumes, he collected pamphlets and articles for the project.

There are two distinct parts to the Bestor collection: the communitarian photographic materials and the communitarian research materials. The pictorial materials include photographs and postcards showing sites and buildings of 30 communities as well as photocopies of portraits and maps. Bestor's research notes on communitarianism comprise the bulk of the collection. These include notes on individual communities, communitarian correspondence and periodicals, newspapers and pamphlets. Bestor's published and unpublished studies are also included.

Bestor donated the collection to the Library in 1951 and 1979. Bestor's personal and professional papers (to 1971) are held by the University of Illinois Archives. Additional papers are available at the University of Washington.

Subject/Index Terms

Bestor, Arthur E. (Arthur Eugene), 1908-1994
Brisbane, Albert, 1809-1890
Brook Farm Phalanx (West Roxbury, Boston, Mass.)
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 1803-1882
Fourier, Charles, 1772-1837
Indiana--New Harmony
New Hampshire--East Canterbury
New Jersey
New York
Thoreau, Henry David, 1817-1862

Administrative Information

Repository: Illinois History and Lincoln Collections

Alternate Extent Statement: 14 microfilm reels, 20 rolls of 35mm film, and 1 small color slide. An additional 4 reels of microfilm contain copies of papers in Series IV.B: Brook Farm.

Box/Folder List

URL: http://www.library.illinois.edu/ihx/inventories/bestor-arthur.pdf

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