All Things in Common: A Canadian Family and Its Island Utopia

By Ruth Compton Brouwer

© 2021

In the first decade of the twentieth century, a few closely related families established a utopian community in Canada’s smallest province. Known officially as B. Compton Limited but described by a journalist in 1935 as "Prince Edward Island’s unique ‘brotherly love’ community," this utopia owed its longevity to the cohesion provided by its communal organization, dense kin ties, and long-held millenarianism – and to a decidedly pragmatic approach to business.

All Things in Common demonstrates how "un-utopian" such a community could be while problematizing the contention that the inevitable end of all utopian experiments is a full-blown dystopia. Beginning with a compelling backstory and locating the Compton community in the historiography of North American utopias, the author goes on to explore the community’s business endeavours, its religious, familial, and transgressive aspects, and its brief period of international fame before assessing the factors that led to its dissolution in 1947. Providing a strong narrative framework, All Things in Common draws on rich family and archival records and diverse secondary sources, concluding with a consideration of the community’s legacy for its alumni and their descendants.

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Product Details

  • Series: Canadian Social History Series
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Illustrations: 15
  • Dimensions: 5.5in x 1.0in x 8.5in
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Quick Overview

All Things in Common explores the history of a Canadian utopian community, highlighting the roles of family, faith, and business pragmatism in its cohesion and longevity.

All Things in Common: A Canadian Family and Its Island Utopia

By Ruth Compton Brouwer

© 2021

In the first decade of the twentieth century, a few closely related families established a utopian community in Canada’s smallest province. Known officially as B. Compton Limited but described by a journalist in 1935 as "Prince Edward Island’s unique ‘brotherly love’ community," this utopia owed its longevity to the cohesion provided by its communal organization, dense kin ties, and long-held millenarianism – and to a decidedly pragmatic approach to business.

All Things in Common demonstrates how "un-utopian" such a community could be while problematizing the contention that the inevitable end of all utopian experiments is a full-blown dystopia. Beginning with a compelling backstory and locating the Compton community in the historiography of North American utopias, the author goes on to explore the community’s business endeavours, its religious, familial, and transgressive aspects, and its brief period of international fame before assessing the factors that led to its dissolution in 1947. Providing a strong narrative framework, All Things in Common draws on rich family and archival records and diverse secondary sources, concluding with a consideration of the community’s legacy for its alumni and their descendants.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Canadian Social History Series
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 288 pages
  • Illustrations: 15
  • Dimensions: 5.5in x 1.0in x 8.5in
  • Author Information

    Ruth Compton Brouwer is a professor emerita in the Department of History at King's University College, Western University.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction

    Part One: Unsettled Maritimers

    1. Loyalist William and His Namesake in the Maritime Colonies: “Movement became a habit”
    2. The Comptons and Colonial Prince Edward Island: Settlement and Spirituality
    3. On the Road Again: Sojourners and Religious Renegades in the Post-Confederation Era

    Part Two: “Prince Edward Island’s Unique ‘Brotherly Love’ Community”

    4. The Founding and Growth of an Island Utopia
    5. Living in Community: Family, Faith, and Fame
    6. Restiveness Within, Pressures from Without: The Road to Dissolution
    7. Life beyond Community: Diverse Paths in an Era of Change

    Concluding Reflections

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