SANTA MONICA—Author Ellen Wayland-Smith, a descendant of Oneida Community founder, John Humphrey Noyes, will be holding a lecture and discussion about her new book “Oneida: From Free Love Utopia to the Well-Set Table,” according to a press release from the city of Santa Monica. The event will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 15 at the Main Library’s Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium located at 610 Santa Monica Boulevard.
Wayland-Smith’s book discusses how the 19th century free love commune evolved into a lead manufacturer of silverware that was a coveted mark of middle-class respectability. According to the Oneida Community website, the community was made up of 300 people who lived as one family. The community lived in the 93,000 square foot Oneida Community Mansion House for 33 years from 1848 to 1880. Led by founder John Humphrey Noyes, the community challenged contemporary social views on property ownership, gender roles, child rearing practices, monogamous marriage and work.
The website states, “From their insistence on life-long learning and vigorous health, the abandonment of the self for the good of the whole, they developed a work ethic and well of industriousness so deep it flowed into one of the most impressive manufacturing companies of the 20th century.”
In 1880, the community disbanded due to internal and external pressures and went on to form Oneida Ltd. Oneida Ltd. was able to achieve worldwide recognition for their tableware production in Sherrill, New York. The Oneida Community Mansion House is now a National Historic Landmark.
After the lecture and discussion there will be a book sale and signing courtesy of Barnes and Noble. Wayland-Smith is a Professor of Writing at the University of Southern California. She received her PhD in comparative literature from Princeton University. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and will be on a first come, first served basis. Jen Ullrich, Public Services Librarian, told Canyon News that there will be a question and answer session.
The Main Library is directly served by Big Blue Bus lines 1, 7, R7, R10. Big Blue Bus lines 2, 3, R3, 5, and 9 also stop within a short walking distance. Bicycle parking racks are available at the library. The Santa Monica Public Library is wheelchair accessible. Anyone needing special disabled services can call the Library Administration one week in advance of the event at (310) 458-8606. For more information on the event visit www.smpl.org or callb (310) 458-8600.