Skip to Main Content

University Archives & Special Collections

The University Archives and Special Collections is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, by appointment only.

What is Communal Studies

Communal Studies contains books, documents, photographs, and objects on various local, national, and international communities.  Started in conjunction with the Center for Communal Studies, this area focuses primarily on intentional communities. This collection contains information on specific communal groups and communities, such as the Shakers, the Harmonists, and The Farm, it also has material on general communal topics and themes, such as organic agriculture, holistic medicine, etc.  Many of the items in this collection contain primary sources created by the community collected by historians and others with an interest in preserving and sharing history.

Featured Collections:

  • Don Janzen Collection
  • New Harmony Collection
  • The Farm Collection

For more information about materials in this collection, check out our Finding Aids and Online materials


Center for Communal Studies

Center for Communal Studies

The Center for Communal Studies is located inside the University Archives and Special Collections department in RL 3022. If you have any questions, email the Center at

The Center for Communal Studies promotes the study of contemporary and historic communal groups, intentional communities and utopias. Established in 1976 at the University of Southern Indiana, the Center encourages and facilitates meetings, classes, scholarship, publications, networking and public interest in communal groups past and present, here and abroad.

The rich research resources of the Center are housed in the University Archives and Special Collections in the David L. Rice Library. The Center archives hold primary and secondary materials on more than one hundred historic communes and several hundred collective, cooperative and co-housing communities founded since 1965. Noted communal scholars have donated their private collections and their extensive research notes and papers to the Center archives.

In many ways, intentional communities are natural laboratories for understanding and addressing some of the contemporary challenges facing humanity: conflict resolution, sustainable living, land reform, and relations between individuals and society. The Center For Communal Studies offers unmatched resources for sociologists, anthropologists, economists and others, including active communitarians, interested in the lessons -- both successes and failures -- that intentional communities can offer to the larger world.

For more information about the Center for Communal Center, visit their website at: