The Boatload of Knowledge

New Harmony (1825-1829): The Boatload of Knowledge
The settlement of New Harmony in Indiana was established to allow its members to pursue the study of the sciences and natural philosophy without the encumbrances of modern, capitalist life. Its founder, social reformer Robert Owen, successfully lured away from Philadelphia an entire community of scientists who at the time were considered the brightest and most promising in the nation, including several founding members of the National Academy of Science. Many of these original settlers traveled by boat together to their new home in a journey that was referred to as the “Boatload of Knowledge.” The community thrived for four years before collapsing amid internal disputes over money. But it did succeed in establishing a western center of scientific discovery at a time when these activities were largely confined to the northeastern states.