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date: 22 August 2019

Brisbane, Arthurlocked

(12 December 1864–25 December 1936)
  • Joyce Milton

Extract

Brisbane, Arthur (12 December 1864–25 December 1936), journalist and newspaper editor, was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Albert Brisbane, a propagator of Fourier socialism, which advocated the establishment of model utopian communities, and his second wife, Sarah White. Extensive family real estate holdings had enabled Albert Brisbane to pursue a polymathic career, and when his wife died in 1866, Albert decided to use their two sons as test cases of his ideas on education. Arthur and his brother Fowell were brought up primarily on the family estate, “Fanwood Farm,” in New Jersey, where, as Albert put it, they were encouraged to run free “like wild colts.” Reared on a diet of salad, yogurt, and diluted red wine, the boys were forbidden to play with other children, to learn to read, or to cut their blond tresses. These methods failed to improve the health of Fowell, who was mildly retarded from birth. But Arthur, who learned to read in defiance of his father’s orders, appeared to thrive....

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