Photographs of the Ruskin Cooperative Association

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Ruskin-Cave College 1911-1912
Ruskin-Cave College 1911-1912. Large group with the women standing in front of the men near the cave., Dates inferred from dates of archival collection.
View from the distance of the cliffs
A view from the distance of the cliffs, the cave entrance and the spring, Dates inferred from dates of archival collection.
Young adults outside of cave
A small group of mostly young adults posed outside the cave., Dates inferred from dates of archival collection.
Small group on flat rocky area
A small group of mostly women posed on a flat rocky area., Dates inferred from dates of archival collection.
Group of adults posed in the cave
Group of adults posed in the cave holding 1912 and 1911 signs., Dates inferred from dates of archival collection.
Ruskin Colony at Yellow Creek, Tennessee
Indiana newspaperman Julius Augustus Wayland inaugurated the idea for the Ruskin Cooperative Association in 1881. His dream was realized in 1894 when the Ruskin Cooperative Association (named after English social critic John Ruskin) was established in Tennessee City. The colony soon moved to a site near a large cave on Yellow Creek that still bears the name Ruskin. Wayland led the colony for only a year, and tensions soon developed between those colonists who wanted to apply radical socialist ideals in order to bring about the "coming nation" and those who considered Ruskin a haven for such American concepts as political and economic independence. By 1899, this factionalism had caused the colony to disintegrate. The colony was put into receivership, sparking two years of lawsuits between the opposing groups over ownership and control of the Association. Although a few of the colony's members attempted to reestablish it in Georgia as the Ruskin Commonwealth, these efforts proved unsuccessful.
View of Ruskin, Tennessee
View of the Ruskin Colony in Ruskin, Tennessee. Several buildings are identified on the image, including the boys' dormitory (a), two other dormitories (b and c), the store (z), the laundry (y), and Geta's Room (x).
College building at Ruskin, Tennessee
According to the author of this postcard, the long room upstairs is Chapel Hall. The author lives at the point marked "z," while Gila rooms at the annex on the other side of the house. The cliff with the arrow pointing to it isn't the highest the author has climbed.

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