25 Main Street, Newtown, CT 06470. Phone: 203-426-0864.
HISTORICAL SOCIETY PROGRAM PROMISES "ALL THIS AND HEAVEN, TOO"--Sir Thomas Moore coined the term "Utopia" in his book of the same name in 1516, describing the intricacies of an island nation that could be called a "perfect" society. Looking at the many attempts of others to create their own Utopias here on earth, on April 8, at 7.30 PM, the Newtown Historical Society will host a presentation by Gordon Williams in the community room of the C H Booth Library, 25 Main Street (route 25). The urge to create a Utopian society has been with people since history has been recorded: the legend of Atlantis with its technological wonders, the Greeks with their diverse city-states, various European monarchs looking to form their domains into visions pleasing to themselves and their religions. The United States was founded to "form a more perfect union," and in this atmosphere individual visions of what that meant were fostered and came to life in the 237 years since our founding. These societies came to life in various and different ways. The "Shaking Quakers," or Shakers are the oldest Utopian experiment in the United States, originally led by Ann Lee, supporting the idea of equality of the sexes. Some societies were very benign with their message, such as promoting industriousness before the second coming of Christ as in the Harmony Society led by George Rapp. Some were more radical in their approach, like John Humphrey Noyes, who founded Oneida: having older men and women initiate younger members in the mysteries of sex, and having meetings where they would mutually criticize one another's faults in an attempt to improve themselves. Some Utopias, however, were not as idyllic: Modern Times, founded by Joseph Warren outside of New York, was little more than anarchy and has been called disgusting and degenerate.Gordon Williams is an historian and former teacher well known to groups in Newtown. He was Trumbull's Teacher of the Year, a Fulbright scholar and exchange teacher, and still loves to spin an historic tale. He has spoken before the Historical Society, of which he is a former President, and other local groups many times. He is also active with the Lion's Club in Newtown.All Newtown Historical Society programs are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served following the presentation. For further information please call the Society at 203-426-5937, or visit the website www.newtownhistory.org.