Oneida, city, United States

Oneida ōnīˈdə [key], city (1990 pop. 10,850), Madison co., central N.Y.; inc. 1901. Tableware was long the best-known product, and some is still manufactured in neighboring Sherrill, N.Y. Machine parts and food and dairy processing are among Oneida's industries. Nearby was the Oneida Community, a religious society of Perfectionists that was established (1848) by John Humphrey Noyes, who formed his utopian community on the basis of what he called “Bible Communism.” Members of the sect held all property in common, rejected patriarchal control, believed in equal rights for women, and practiced complex marriage (polyamory and free love) and common care of the children. The community prospered by making steel traps and tableware. Under external and internal pressures to change its practices, the social experiments were abandoned beginning in 1879 and by 1881 Oneida had been reorganized as a joint stock company. The community's large Mansion House survives as an apartment residence, museum, and guesthouse.

See C. N. Robertson, ed., Oneida Community (1981); E. Wayland-Smith, Oneida: From Free Love to the Well-Set Table (2016).

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