OSU Libraries | OSU Home

Eden Within Eden

Oregon's Utopian Heritage

James J. Kopp

6 × 9 inches. Maps. Illustrations. Appendix. Index. 384 pages.

2009. ISBN 978-0-87071-424-5. Paperback, $24.95.

Oregon has long been a destination for those seeking new beginnings. Since the establishment of the Aurora Colony in 1856, the state has been the home of nearly three hundred communal experiments. Eden Within Eden is the first book to survey this utopian history, from religious and Socialist groups of the nineteenth century to ecologically conscious communities of the twenty-first century. James Kopp examines Oregon’s communal history in the framework of utopian and communal experiences across America.

Eden Within Eden provides rich detail about utopian communities – some realized, some only planned – many of which reflect broader social, political, economic, and cultural aspects of Oregon’s history. From the dawn of communal groups in Oregon – the German Christian colony at Aurora – to Oregon’s most infamous communal experiment – Rajneeshpuram – Kopp describes the range of attempts to establish ideal communities in the state. These include the Jewish agrarian colony of New Odessa in the 1880s as well as the “new pioneers” of the 1960s who captured the spirit of the counterculture and gave voice to growing concerns about the environment. Kopp explores other areas of Oregon’s utopian heritage as well, including literary works and idealistic city planning. The book’s appendix is a rich compilation that will guide students, scholars, and other interested readers to additional information on the profiled – and many other – communities.

Member of AAUP