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Eagleswood House at the Raritan Bay Union, 1858
Courtesy, New Jersey Historical Society
 Maud Honeyman Green, "Raritan Bay Union, Eagleswood, New Jersey,"
Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society
, Vol. 68, No. 1 ( January, 1950), p. 1 (opposite.)

Click on image to enlarge


The Raritan Bay Union was formed in 1853 through the initiative of Rebecca (Buffum) and Marcus Spring and several disillusioned members of another Utopian community, the North American Phalanx. The Union was located on the northern shore of the Raritan Bay on a large plot of land overlooking the ocean. A Utopian community inspired by the French socialist, Charles Fourier, the Union sought to correct social inequalities and to save labor and money by working collectively. Members could live communally or in private residences, and they shared in the work of the community as well as its social events.

The Union established a progressive boarding school that was a pioneer in co-education. Girl students were encouraged to speak in public, engage in sports, and act in plays, activities that were frowned upon in other schools. Abolitionists Angelina (Grimke) Weld and Sarah Grimke were teachers in the school which was run by Angelina’s husband, Theodore Weld. Several other noted reformers came to teach and lecture at the school. The Welds’ school operated until about 1861, but it isn’t known how long the Union itself endured.

This engraving of the Union’s grounds shows the large stone community building, or phalanstery, which housed the school and the living quarters for students and for the community members. It also housed a common dining room in the middle section of the building as well as work rooms, the laundry, kitchen and shops. At the left of the picture is the private home of Rebecca and Marcus Spring, who chose not to live in community.

Women's Project of New Jersey
Copyright 2002, The Women's Project of New Jersey, Inc.

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