Ripley, George

Ripley, George,

1802–80, American literary critic and author, b. Greenfield, Mass. After graduating from Harvard Divinity School in 1826, he entered the Unitarian ministry. He was one of the leaders of the transcendentaliststranscendentalism
[Lat.,=overpassing], in literature, philosophical and literary movement that flourished in New England from about 1836 to 1860. It originated among a small group of intellectuals who were reacting against the orthodoxy of Calvinism and the rationalism of the
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 and a contributor to their magazine, the Dial. In 1841 his interest in social reform led him to resign from the ministry and help found Brook FarmBrook Farm,
1841–47, an experimental farm at West Roxbury, Mass., based on cooperative living. Founded by George Ripley, a Unitarian minister, the farm was initially financed by a joint-stock company with 24 shares of stock at $500 per share.
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, where he remained as president until 1847. His edition, with F. H. Hedge, of Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature, in translation (14 vol., 1838–42), increased American knowledge of European literature. In his later life he became an influential literary critic on the New York Tribune, conducting the first regular book review department in a U.S. newspaper.


See biography by O. B. Frothingham (1882, repr. 1970); study by C. R. Crowe (1967).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ripley, George


Born Oct. 3, 1802, in Greenfield, Mass.; died July 4, 1880, in New York. American publicist, philosopher, and Utopian socialist.

In 1823, Ripley graduated from Harvard University. He was a minister from 1826 to 1841 but then left the ministry. In 1841 he helped establish the Brook Farm community near Boston. Brook Farm, which in 1844 was incorporated as a phalanx, became a center for disseminating the ideas of C. Fourier in the United States. In 1846, after a fire, the settlement closed.

Ripley translated and published the works of Saint-Simon and C. Fourier in the United States, and from 1845 to 1849 published the Fourierist weekly Harbinger. In 1849 he began working on H. Greeley’s daily, the New York Tribune.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Ripley, George

(1802–80) transcendentalist, reformer, editor, literary critic; born in Greenfield, Mass. Ordained a Unitarian minister (1826) after studies at Harvard College and Cambridge Theological Seminary, he ministered to a Boston congregation while studying German idealism. In his Discourses on the Philosophy of Religion (1836), he espoused a transcendentalist philosophy stressing individual intuition and the presence of the divine in all; he and his wife, Sophia Dana Ripley, also hosted meetings of a Transcendentalist Club. His philosophical views, combined with a strong belief in social reform, led him to leave the church, and, with his wife and others, to establish a community at Brook Farm (on the edge of Boston) (1841); under his influence, Brook Farm developed into an agricultural commune modeled after the ideas of French socialist Charles Fourier. In 1845 Ripley began editing the Harbinger, a journal that propagated Fourierism. After the collapse of Brook Farm (1847) he moved to New York, where he wrote for the New-York Tribune, soon becoming a prominent literary critic; he also helped found Harper's New Monthly Magazine (1850) and was editor (1858–63) of the New American Cyclopaedia. Ripley prospered as a major stockholder in the Tribune and was president of the Tribune Association after the death of Horace Greeley (1872).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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