Edward Bellamy, circa 1894
The author of hundreds of editorials, twenty-three short stories, a three-volume newspaper, and six novels over the course of his twenty-seven-year career, Edward Bellamy (1850-1898) is best known for his utopian novel, Looking Backward. This best-selling book, published in 1888, offers solutions to the social and economic problems of the Gilded Age through the story of Julian West. West falls asleep in 1887 and wakes up again in the year 2000, only to discover that a cooperative system has replaced capitalism.
Bellamy’s plan for reform became known as Nationalism in the United States, and it bore many similarities to the populist movement of the 1880s and 1890s. Internationally, Bellamy’s ideas gained popularity as well, acquiring followers from New Zealand to the Netherlands. Building on the success of Looking Backward, Bellamy published a weekly newspaper, The New Nation, from 1891 to 1894 and wrote a sequel, Equality, that was published in 1897.
A life-long resident of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, Bellamy lived at 91 Church Street for most of his life. He and his wife, Emma, had two children: a son, Paul, and a daughter, Marion. Edward Bellamy died from tuberculosis at the age of 48. While no longer as well known as he once was, Bellamy’s most famous work, Looking Backward, is still in print.
Major Works by Edward Bellamy
Doctor Heidenhoff’s Process (1880)
The Duke of Stockbridge (1879)
Looking Backward (1888)
Miss Ludington’s Sister (1884)
Six to One: A Nantucket Idyl (1878)
Compilations of Edward Bellamy’s Writings
The Blindman’s World and Other Stories (1898)
Edward Bellamy Speaks Again! (1937)
Selected Writings on Religion and Society (1955)
Talks on Nationalism (1938)
Bowman, Sylvia. The Year 2000. New York: Bookman Associates, 1958.
Morgan, Arthur E. Edward Bellamy. New York: Columbia University Press, 1944.