George Ripley (transcendentalist)

American social reformer and Unitarian minister (1802–1880) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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George Ripley (October 3, 1802 – July 4, 1880) was an American social reformer, Unitarian minister, and journalist associated with Transcendentalism. He was the founder of the short-lived Utopian community Brook Farm in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Quick facts: George Ripley, Born, Died, Alma mater, S...
George Ripley
Ripley, sometime between 1849 and 1860; detail from Mathew Brady's daguerreotype of the New York Tribune editorial staff
Born(1802-10-03)October 3, 1802
DiedJuly 4, 1880(1880-07-04) (aged 77)
New York City, U.S.
Alma mater
  • (m. 1827; died 1861)
  • Louisa Sclossberger
    (m. 1865)

Born in Greenfield, Massachusetts, Ripley was pushed to attend Harvard College by his father and completed his studies in 1823. He went on graduate from the Harvard Divinity School and the next year married Sophia Dana. Shortly after, he became ordained as the minister of the Purchase Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts, where he began to question traditional Unitarian beliefs. He became one of the founding members of the Transcendental Club and hosted its first official meeting in his home. Shortly after, he resigned from the church to put Transcendental beliefs in practice by founding an experimental commune called Brook Farm. The community later converted to a model based on the work of Charles Fourier, although the community was never financially stable in either format.

After Brook Farm's failure, Ripley was hired by Horace Greeley at the New York Tribune. He also published the New American Cyclopaedia, which made him financially successful. He built a national reputation as an arbiter of taste and literature before his death in 1880.

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