Cultural Studies
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

No Place Like Home: The Founding and Transformation of the New Deal Town of Jersey Homesteads, New Jersey

Sora Friedman

Major Professor: .

Johnson Center, E
September 22, 2005, 08:00 PM to 07:00 PM

Abstract:

"This dissertation traces the history of Jersey Homesteads, New Jersey, founded under the New Deal planned communities movement in 1936 and known as Roosevelt since 1945. The town was the only New Deal planned community that targeted urban, Jewish, garment workers and combined agricultural, industrial, and retail cooperatives. While previous scholarship judges the project a failure due to the failure of the cooperatives (the primary concern of federal supporters), based on a review of primary documents, the dissertation argues that the project was actually a success, as it provided a better quality of life for its original settlers. The dissertation considers all of the factors involved in the town's founding: the participation of the settlers who sought to improve their quality of life; the role of ""founding father"" Benjamin Brown, a Jewish immigrant entrepreneur who sought to establish a Jewish agricultural cooperative; and the town's roots in the back-to-the-land and pl anned communities movements, and as an artist's colony."

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