Helpful history for timeline of ideas. Pertinent to novel.

Dr. Elisabeth "Eli" Sheff

While polyamory is a sub-category of non-monogamy and the two are not synonymous, they are closely linked enough to share a common history in the United States. Polyamory is a fairly recent addition to a litany of non-monogamous relationships, some of which have directly influenced the evolution of polyamorous communities. In this post, I divide non-monogamy and polyamory in the Unites States into three “waves” occurring in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries.


Polyamorous identity did not exist during the nineteenth century, but this initial expression of non-monogamy had a profound influence on later poly/non-mono thinking and communities. There were several groups of people who practiced a multiple partner relationship style in the United States in the mid-to-late 1800s, most influenced by the Nineteenth Century transcendental movement (Hutchins, 2001). Brook Farm was an “experimental free love community” (Hutchins, 2001:72) populated by “Quakers, Shakers, Mormons, and…

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