Paul, Mary 1854
 
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VERMONT HISTORICAL SOCIETY
MONTPELIER, VERMONT

LETTER WRITTEN BY
MARY STILES PAUL1 

                                                                  North American Phalanx, N.J.2 
                                                                  Sunday morn May 7th 1854

Dear father

I feel that you must be anxious to hear from me, and so will write a few lines that you 
may know that I am here safe and well.

I left, or we left Lowell the day I wrote you from there. We had a very pleasant passage 
to New York, arrived there about eight-o'clock Thursday morning. Carrie & I were too 
tired to go about the city much so we did not see many of the "Lions." We left N.Y. for 
this place at three o'clock Thursday afternoon, instead of staying over night in N.Y. as we 
intended when we left Lowell and it was well that we did for there has not been a day 
since when it would have been pleasant or even comfortable on the water. . .I thought 
Redbank sure enough for the earth when wet is as red as any brick I ever saw. It is mostly 
sand. It forms a very pretty contrast with the bright green grass above. By the way it is 
spring here, peach trees are out of blossom, cherry & apple trees are in full glory. As far 
as I can see from the window, at which I am writing, nothing but immense orchards of 
peach, cherry & apple trees present themselves to view. I never saw orchards before, but I 
have got a long way from my story. I'll go back. Well we arrived here a good deal wet & 
were kindly received, had been expected for a long time they told us. The first thing 
attended to was getting off our wet things and getting some supper.... We have been very 
busy all the week putting things to rights. Have not done much work beside our own. I 
have worked about two hours each day for the Phalanx, three quarters in sweeping, one 
and a quarter in the dining hall, clearing & laying the tables. Tomorrow I am going to 
 

1Mary Stiles Paul b: 26 Jan 1830, Hanover, NH d: 12 Dec 1899, 
    Cambridge, MA; parents: Bela Paul b: Taunton, MA and Mary 
    Briggs b: Keene, NH; married in Lowell 1857: Isaac Guild b: 
    19 Jun 1831, NH; Isaac Guild 1860: marble works, Lynn, MA; 
    children: Irving Tracy Guild and Sidney Paul Guild.
    Twenty-five of her letters, covering the years 1845-1862 have 
    survived. She began working as a domestic in Bridgewater, Vermont. 
    1845-1848 worked in Lowell textile mills. 1848 joined her father in 
    Claremont, New Hampshire. 1850 returned to Vermont for a short spell. 
    Then she joined Lowell companions at an agricultural utopian community 
    in Redbank, New Jersey for a year. Following her brief tenure at the 
    collective, she once again returned to New Hampshire. 
 2The Phalanx was founded in 1843 on the theories of Charles Fourier. 
    Fourierists believed that members should work for the community at a variety 
    of tasks for a portion of the day and then have time to devote to intellectual, 
    artistic or recreational pursuits. Women were to be freed from the continual 
    drudgery of housework. Paul's residence at the Phalanx was brief, for the 
    community was forced to disband later in 1854 when a fire destroyed its 
    manufacturing and agricultural buildings.
  
  
begin sewing which will add three hours each day to my work. On ironing days I shall 
iron one, two or three hours just as I like. I must prepare to go to my dinner now. We 
have one hour, from 12 to 1, for dinner, breakfast from 5 to 7, tea from 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 . 
After dinner from one till quarter past two I do my work in the dining hall. Three o'clock, 
I have come back to finish my letter. I cannot tell you anything definite now about 
matters and things because I don't know about them myself. I shall write you again as 
soon as I can & then I will tell you more about ways here. The place is very pleasant and 
the people are remarkably kind. Upon the whole I think that I may like very well after I 
get used to the strange ways. That which seems oddest is the manner in which the meals 
are conducted. . .I wish that you could be here. I think you might find enough at your 
work to keep busy as many hours in a day as you would want to work. There are a few 
here who work at one kind of business all the time but it is from choice. My work in the 
sewing room is to make a certain part of a stock (gentleman's stock). They make a great 
many of them here.... I shall be anxious until I hear from you.

Yours truly,
Mary S. Paul
  
   

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