pixel.gif America and The Utopian Dream Previous Image Next Page
Introduction Utopian Literature Dystopian Literature Utopian Communities



In the early 1700’s, a series of German Second Adventists (pilgrims who believed in the imminent second coming of the Christ) moved to Pennsylvania and founded two important Utopian communes, Ephrata Cloister and The Woman in the Wilderness. Both believed that America would be the land of the Second Coming. Woman in the Wilderness derived its name from the woman in Revelation 12:6 who fled to the wilderness to escape a fiery dragon and wait for the return of Christ. Through their piety, creativity, learning, and work ethic, both communes heavily influenced the formation of the Pennsylvania Colony.



Ephrata hymnal

Das Gesäng der einsamen und verlassenen Turtel-Taube nemlich der Christlichen Kirche. Ephrata: Drucks der Brüderschafft, 1747.

The Ephrata hymnal is the first treatise on music published in the Americas by Conrad Beissel (1690-1768). The “Turtel Taube” is a unique system of music comprised of “master” and “servant” notes. Thomas Mann’s Doktor Faustus (1949) explains Beissel’s conceptions in great detail.




Ephrata Cloister
The members of the Ephrata Cloister were an internationally famous group of scholars who gathered under the leadership of the mystical Conrad Beissel. Believing that the highest spiritual attainment was possible only to celibates, Solitary Sisters and Solitary Brethren lived in separate monastic buildings. A third group, Householders, lived in family groups.

Adherents took new names, lived in great austerity, and adopted a Capuchin-style habit. Their cultural accomplishments included calligraphy and choral music. Their Fraktur, printed documents with stunning hand illuminations, gained wide acclaim.

Martyrs’ Mirror pixel.gif   pixel.gif  
pixel.gifClick on image to enlarge