Northern Illinois University Press

Spirit Fruit

A Gentle Utopia

H. Roger Grant

The dream of an ideal social order has inspired the formation of experimental communities in America since colonial times. One of the most successful of these was the Spirit Fruit Society, founded in the late 1890s by Jacob Beilhart. In 1901, after purchasing a small farm outside Lisbon, Ohio, the Spirit Fruit society settled into a peaceful and industrious, if morally unorthodox, way of life that won the bemused affection of their neighbors. Unfortunately, the society experienced throughout its existence hostility from journalists and, despite the agricultural and domestic skills possessed by its members, financial hardship. These factors, among others, precipitated moves to Illinois in 1904 and to California in 1914.

(1988) 217 pp., illus.
ISBN: 978-0-87580-137-7
cloth $33.00

Table of Contents

1 Seeking Utopia
2 Jacob
3 Spirit Fruit
4 Joining Jacob
5 Lisbon
6 Chicago
7 Ingleside
8 Hilltop
9 "Utopia is Possible"

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-137-7
cloth $33.00