Desire and Duty at Oneida: Tirzah Miller's Intimate Memoir
Written between 1867 and 1879, this memoir by the most prominent woman of the younger generation at the Oneida Community is the first that deals explicitly and openly with the sexual conflicts there. It chronicles Tirzah Miller's social and sexual life, including her relations with her uncle and lover, founder of the colony John H. Noyes, and her participation in the eugen...more
Hardcover, 204 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Indiana University Press
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tirzah was an interesting person, i was definitely rooting for her & also feeling sorry for her throughout. she had so much drama in her life that seemed to be instigated by her uncle ... but on the other hand it might have been a better life than living in a normal community at that time, she got to participate in governance and really struggle with these ideals and putting them into practice and making the community work.... i just wish she hadn't been pushed around so much and laid with a...more
If you want to find out why the utopian Oneida Community fell apart quickly in the late 1870's, Tirzah Miller's diary poignantly describes her inner struggles as a well-educated woman whose instincts about love, motherhood, religion, and life decisions were sabotaged by her uncle, Oneida's autocratic leader John Humphrey Noyes. This was painful to read. Had I been in Tirzah's place, I would have been expelled from the Community.
This was part of my research for my novel-in-progress, Perfecting Eden, which is a fictional account of the lives of my ancestors in the Oneida Community. I was so taken with Tirzah that she became one of the three women at the center of my novel. This book offers a fascinating inside view of Oneida.