History 12 Reading Guide

Jewish Agricultural Communes and Cooperative Farming

  • Pearl W. Bartelt, "American Jewish Agricultural Colonies," in Pitzer, America's Communal Utopias, 352-374.

Further reading:

  • Violet and Orlando J. Goering, "The Agricultural Communes of the Am Olam," Communal Societies 4 (1984), 74-86.
  • Francis Shor, "The Utopian Project in a Communal Experiment of the 1930's:  The Sunrise Colony in Historical and Comparative Perspective," Communal Societies 7 (1987), 82-94.


  • How was the Am Olam movement in the United States similar to the secular Owenite communities in the first half of the 19th century and to the later 19th-century collective, cooperative ventures in the U.S.?
  • How was the experience of the Am Olam similar to that of other sectarian (religious) immigrant communal societies?
  • How did the Am Olam contrast with BILU? What was significant about that contrast?
  • How did the Jewish Agricultural Colony Movement differ from previous immigrant communal societies? According to Bartelt, what was the significance of the variety of settlements and communal organizations in the movement? What was the long-term impact of the movement?