Corvus Editions: The History of Mutualism

The History of Mutualism was among the series I was most excited about publishing, despite the fact that, in the years I was dragging them around to book fairs, enthusiasm for this sort of deep historical material was perhaps not sufficient to justify the weight in my luggage. But Corvus Editions was basically unintelligible as a purely commercial enterprise, particularly in the period when there were still plenty of bookfairs on the west coast. The point was often just to spread the most unlikely things out on the table as if they belonged there—in the hope that, at some point, some of them really would. But, outside a relatively small circle of “the usual suspects,” attendees at fairs were constantly changing, so with an ultra-low-overhead operation like Corvus I was also constantly adapting what I printed and brought. The truth was that there were seldom folks at a show looking for the next volume of the thing they had bought at the last show. Only the Contr’un zines ever really developed anything like a following.

It would have hard to call this pamphlet series a success in any very strong sense, but they remain among my favorites from the catalog. And the project lives on with What Mutualism Was and the forthcoming print-on-demand catalog.



Documents from the High Tide of Owenism

  • “The Mutualist” (1826)
  • Josiah Warren, “The Motives for Communism—How it Worked and What it Led To”
  • Paul Brown, “The Substance of a Lecture delivered at New-Harmony, on Sunday, May 26th, 1826”
  • George M. Wickersham, “How I Came to Be a Shaker”
  • “Great Movements in Limestone, Warren County, Pa.”



  • Maria and Thomas Varney, “Equitable Commerce, or, Association without Combination”
  • William Pare, “Equitable Villages in America”
  • Richard Hussey Walsh, “Equitable Villages in America”


The next volume in the series was going to be a reprint of John Gray’s A Lecture on Human Happiness.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2684 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.