New Harmony, town (1990 pop. 846), Posey co., SW Ind., on the Wabash River; founded 1814 by the Harmony Society under George Rapp. In 1825 the Harmonists sold their holdings to Robert Owen and moved to Economy, Pa., where their sect survived into the early 1900s. Owen established a communistic colony in New Harmony that gained prominence as a cultural and scientific center and attracted many noted scientists, educators, and writers. Dissension arose, and in 1828 the community ceased to exist as a distinct enterprise, although the town remained an intellectual center. The nation's first kindergarten, first free public school, first free library, and first school with equal education for boys and girls were all established there. Some 25 Rappite buildings remain in New Harmony.
See studies by K. J. Arndt (rev. ed. 1972) and W. E. Wilson, (1984).
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