Date of Graduation

Fall 2008


Master of Arts in History



Committee Chair

Worth Miller


Alcander Longley (1832-1918) organized secular utopian communities and published newspapers that promoted the communitarian cause during a career that lasted more than forty years. Longley remains an obscure figure in published histories of Missouri and American utopian communities despite leaving an abundant record for historians. This thesis uses Longley's St. Louis-based newspapers, primarily The Communist (1868-1885) and The Altruist (1885-1917), to construct a narrative history of his career. This study also examines Longley's connections to other reformers and reviews his commentary on the dynamic social, political, and economic issues facing late-nineteenth century America. Longley's Missouri communities included the Reunion Community in Jasper County (1868-1871), the Friendship Community in Dallas County (1872-1877) and Bollinger County (1879), the Principia Community in Polk County (1881), the Mutual Aid Community (1883-1885), the Altruistic Society in Jefferson County (1886), the Mutual Aid Community in St. Louis (1889), the Altruist Community in multiple locations (1889-1891), the Altruist Community in Randolph County (1895), Altro (1898-1900), and the Altruist Community. Longley's peaceful urging for the voluntary adoption of communal living survived from an earlier era and contrasts with the increasing violent demands for change during nineteenth century’s final decades.


Alcander Longley, Utopian Communities, Communitarians, Missouri, Newspapers

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