Macedonia Cooperative Community Records
Held at: Swarthmore College Peace Collection [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore 19081-1399
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Macedonia Cooperative Community was formed in 1937 in Habersham County in northern Georgia by Morris Randolph Mitchell (1895-1976), an educator who later served as the first president of Friends World College. The Macedonia Cooperative Community, which took its name from a nearby Baptist Church, was comprised of families who worked collectively on dairy, agricultural, forestry, and woodworking projects that provided the economic underpinnings of the community.
Originally established as an economic cooperative, Macedonia later passed through two distinctive phases before it folded in 1958. At the end of World War II, an infusion of conscientious objectors, who had been engaged in Civilian Public Service and/or had served prison terms during the war, joined the community, bringing an emphasis on pacifism. The eighteen pacifists worked at various forms of farming and at a small woodworking factory which they built. The wage system was discarded, and the entire operation was run on a communal, subsistence basis. In 1949 the Macedonia community applied for membership in Peacemakers as a local cell group. The last stage of Macedonia was during the time (1953-1957) when its members explored the possibility of merging with the Society of Brothers (Bruderhof), with whom they had already been working to make toys and other wooden items to sell. In 1958, Macedonia became officially part of the Society of Brothers, and the Community's property was sold at public auction on June 27, 1958.
Morris Mitchell quit his role of financier and public force for the Community in 1948, but retained an active interest in it until its demise.
This collection is rich in details about what went into the establishment and maintenance of this utopian community, seen especially in the many letters exchanged between Morris Mitchell and Elvin Roberts, which portray Mitchell's intense enthusiasm for all that he hoped to accomplish there, and his great attention to specifics (including sketches of Mitchell's ideas for the cabins to be built, etc.). Other correspondents include Henry W. Dyer, Henrik F. Infield, W. Elmore Jackson, Morris Keeton, Henri Lasserre, George Meany, Edward R. Miller, Barbara Jaynes Mitchell, David Newton, Lucille Roberts, Norman J. Whitney, E. Raymond Wilson, Arthur Wiser, and Wilmer Young.
Researchers may wish to consult the book Searching for a Viable Alternative: The Macedonia Cooperative Community, 1937-1958 by W. Edward Orser, available in the Book Collection.
Box 1 contains MCC administrative records and information about Morris Mitchell. Boxes 2-5 contain Mitchell correspondence; and Box 5 also contains reference files about the surrounding Habersham county communities.
Gift of Morris R. Mitchell and others, 1962-1979 [Acc. 62A-060, Acc. 71A-253, Acc. 75A-141, Acc. 77A-045, Acc. 79A-051]
This collection was processed by, and the finding aid was created by Anne Yoder, Archivist, in January, 2006.
Photographs were removed to the Photograph Collection. A blueprint of a January 1938 survey of Morris Mitchell's land (826.15 acres) in Habersham County (Georgia) was removed to the Oversized Items Collection: Documents.
- Cooperative societies -- Georgia -- History -- Sources
- Pacifists -- Georgia -- History -- Sources
- Conscientious Objectors -- Georgia -- History -- Sources
- Draft -- United States -- History -- Sources
- Society of Friends -- United States -- History -- Sources
- Quakers -- United States -- History -- Sources
- Work camps -- United States -- History -- Sources
- Societies living in common without vows -- History -- Sources
- Religious communities -- New York (State) -- History -- Sources
- Cooperative societies -- New York (State) -- History -- Sources
- Collective settlements -- New York (State) -- Rifton -- History -- Sources
- Swarthmore College Peace Collection
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research use.
All or part of this collection is stored off-site. Contact Swarthmore College Peace Collection staff at firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks in advance of visit to request boxes.
- Copyright to the Macedonia Cooperative Community records created by the organization has been transferred to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Copyright to all other materials is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
- Use Restrictions
photos removed to Photograph Collection
includes his papers written for Community Study Course and critiques/comments by Dr. Arthur Morgan
[nothing for 1940]
[nothing for 1940]