Skip Navigation
Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Frances Wright

b. 1795, Dundee, Scotland; d. 1852, Cincinnati

After converting to Owenism—a utopian socialist philosophy developed and promoted by Robert Owen—Fanny Wright founded a socialist community in 1825 on 2,000 acres of woodland near Memphis, Tennessee. Calling her community “Nashoba,” she bought slaves from nearby farms to free them and to give them land on her settlement. She encouraged sexual freedom while establishing her own dress code with bodices, a dress and platoons ending just above the knee. She abandoned the experiment in 1828 and moved to New York, where she published Course of Popular Lectures (1829) and, in cooperation with Robert Dale Owen, the Free Enquirer (1821), in which they advocated socialism, the abolition of slavery, free secular education, and universal suffrage.