Portland State University. Department of History
Frederick J. Cox
Date of Award
Master of Arts (M.A.) in History
1 online thesis (106 p.)
Jews -- Oregon -- History, Glendale (Or.) -- History, Collective settlements -- Oregon -- Douglas County -- History
The Oregon Territory and later the State of Oregon have had a well-deserved reputation for encouraging free thought and liberal ideas. By tradition, Oregon has been the scene of rugged individualism, a proving ground for ideas and movements. The commune of New Odessa was one of the lesser known attempts of a group of immigrants coming from persecution in Russian to a new way of life in America.
This thesis is a study starting with the background of Russian Jewry, the social climate in the United States and particularly Oregon which allowed for the development of communes, the story of New Odessa, and the reason for its disappearance.
New Odessa was unique in Oregon as it was a Marxist commune founded by Russian Jews. The portion of the thesis on New Odessa was based on original research: the studying of periodicals of the time, original documents, and field research in the geographical location.
The more accepted and productive New Odessa became, the faster the disintegration. The geographical and cultural isolation of Oregon proved to be too great for the members of the community, most of whom had been students and urban residents in Russia. A difference in ideology between the two leaders resulted in a gradual decline in membership. By 1887, the community had been declared bankrupt.
Blumenthal, Helen E., "New Odessa, 1882-1887: United we stand, divided we fall" (1975). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2288.