Utopia & Sex

JOHN HUMPHREY NOYES was a man of great vision–a deluded and selfish vision–yet one which inspired others to forsake their ordinary lives to join him in Christian communism. Sharing looks good on paper. Noyes was a magnetic man who believed in “healing energy.” He believed, like most 19th century perfectionist utopians, that the kingdom of…

Lowell Mill Girl: A Life of Personal Responsibility

When does having a sense of group consciousness stand in the way of personal responsibility and self-actualization? “Harriet called the mill her “Alma Mater,” and felt that its “incentive to labor” and the discipline of the work were of great value. “We were taught daily habits of regularity and of industry; it was, in fact,…

Books I’ve Known And Loved

Many heard the city’s siren call: freedom, freedom, freedom.  In the wake of crumbling farm communities and great and small depressions, many American-born young women (and men) moved to the burgeoning city of New York for work and a fresh start, freed from a “patriarchal”, rural society in the second quarter of the 1800’s. The…

Sex in a Debtors’ Prison

Once upon a time (in 1748) a man named John Cleland sat in a lonely debtors’ prison in England. Day after dreary day he sat thinking of sex. He couldn’t help himself. Debtors’ prison was god-awfully dull. We don’t know for sure if John ever pleasured himself, but according to Dr. William Acton anyone who…

Knocked Up

“Knocking” began as a term for serious flirting circa 1800. Originally it was because you were knocking on the maiden’s “door” trying to “get in”. Understandably, this reference quickly changed to the actual act of “getting in” because beds knock against walls. If you leave your boots on, literally done at that time, you are…

Love

She  Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—     for your love is more delightful than wine.  Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;     your name is like perfume poured out.     No wonder the young women love you!  Take me away with you—let us hurry!     Let the king bring me into his chambers….

An Ideal Woman and Why We Hate Her

“. . . she carried out her duties as mistress of a small family with ‘piety, patience, frugality and industry’. Moreover, ‘… her ardent and unceasing flow of spirits, extreme activity and diligence, her punctuality, uprightness and remarkable frugality, combined with a firm reliance on God … carried her through the severest times of pressure,…

“Courage mattered. Loyalty mattered. Honor mattered. Personal Pride mattered. Soldiers, and their culture, defined these as masculine values. The Gilded Age substituted gain for cause and friends for comrades.” Richard White

Charles Francis Adams, despite being considered an authority on the management of railroads couldn’t keep the Union Pacific stable as its president. One of the reasons, according to Richard White in Railroaded,  was the boys–the young men too young to have fought in the war seemed “weak, unruly, willful and hard to control.” On July…

The American Venus

Imagine walking around New York City seeing your image everywhere–your sublime nudity associated with goddesses and every noble cause. You’re discovered by a photographer and soon every artist wants you, every filmmaker clamors for your presence on their movie set. Imagine you’re sixteen. Then imagine you’re looking out the window of an insane asylum on…