New Harmony

Hannah Kelly


  • located in New Harmony, Indiana
  • founded by the Harmony Society (aka Harmonists, Harmonites, Rappites, etc.)
  • they were a group of Separatists from the German Lutheran Church
  • originally founded by German immigrant Johann Georg Rapp (aka George Rapp)
  • the Harmonists settled in the Indiana Territory after leaving Harmony, PA
  • they left due to westward expansion, the area's rising population, jealous neighbors, and increasing cost for land; which all threatened the society's desire for isolation

New Harmony, Indiana

Important Leaders

  • the town itself was originally founded by Johann Georg Rapp
  • in 1825 the property was bought by Robert Owen and turned into an attempted utopic community
  • Owen believed in strict rules for the creation of ideal human beings
  • he envisioned a "New Moral World" for enlightenment through science, education, technology, and communal living
  • his dream of a perfect society eventually failed after two years
  • the picture below on the left is Owen's depiction of the community, which was never fully constucted

Major Beliefs and Practices

  • New Harmony consisted of log cabins, or "block houses," called so because they were made of square timbers of oak or poplar
  • the Harmonists lived in co-ed community houses
  • none of the cabins survived, because the Harmonists tore them down to reuse the lumber for new houses
  • the Harmonist cemetery, built on an old Native American burial ground, was center to many beliefs
  • the Harmonists firmly believed in equality, so all the graves are unmarked
  • they also believed that a person's character was shaped by his or her environment
  • therefore, they believed that controlling the environment would result in superior character for all
  • New Harmony had its own currency, which was worth the amount of time a person worked
  • rules under Owen were very strict and paternal, such as curfews, house inspections, fines for drunkenness and illegitimate children
  • parents were not allowed to see their children often while they were being schooled
  • Owen wished to "shield children from the unwanted negative influence of their parents and families"