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Granfalloon: Celebrating the Life and Work of Kurt Vonnegut

A research guide started in 2022, Vonnegut's centenary year. Work on this guide continues.

A more perfect place?

Harmony, Indiana, was settled in 1814 by the followers of the German pietist George Rapp, founder of the Harmony Society. A decade later, the settlement was purchased by the Welsh cotton manufacturer and philanthropist Robert Owen, who renamed it New Harmony and attempted to establish a community there based on utopian social and educational ideals.

Although Robert Owen returned to Great Britain after just a few years, his collaborators and successors upheld New Harmony's reputation as a center of knowledge and culture well into the nineteenth century. A generation of scientists would make the town their home. In 1838, geologist William Maclure founded the New Harmony Working Men's Institute, a social and educational organization that is still in operation today as a public library and museum. New Harmony was also the birthplace of one of the earliest women's clubs in the United States, the Minerva Society.

New Harmony is believed to have provided the inspiration for Vonnegut's New Ambrosia, the (doomed) utopian community that features in his novel God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965). Read reflections on God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by members of Salo University.

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