Marianne (Mary Ann) Dwight Orvis

1816-1901

Mary Ann Dwight was born in Northampton, Mass. in 1806. She moved to Brook Farm on April 2, 1844 with her mother Mary and sister Fanny. She did many different types of work, as did Mary and Fanny, both of whom were included on the roster of the ten hardest-working Brook Farmers (nine of them women) for the one-year period of May 1844 through April 1845.

Dwight and other women formed a “Fancy Group” that made and sold clothing articles and thus raised a good deal of money for Brook Farm. Despite these demanding enterprises, Dwight managed to find time to become Brook Farm’s most prolific letter writer. Much of what we know today about day-to-day life in the community during the “second dispensation” of its existence—the Fourierist years—is due to Mary Ann Dwight’s frequent and chatty letters to her brother, Frank, and to her close friend, Anna Q. T. Parsons. Dwight also played a significant role in planning the establishment of the Woman’s Associative Union in 1847. Mary Ann Dwight married John Orvis in December 1846 at Brook Farm and stayed at the farm until its dissolution in 1847.

Learn more about the Women of Brook Farm.