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Amana Society Records

Identifier: yhm-spe-com-ama

Scope and Contents

The Amana Society Records contain correspondence, testimonies, account books, receipts, administrative documents, and religious texts. Researchers accessing the records will gain insight into a communal society that lived in New York and Iowa.


  • 1721-1932


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

In the early 1840s, a group of God-fearing immigrants left Germany in search of religious freedom in the new world, settling in Ebenezer, New York. In 1855, they re-established themselves in 26,000 acres in the fertile Iowa River Valley. There they settled seven villages and called their home “Amana,” meaning “remain true.”

They lived communally in a religious environment, worked the land for farming and built industries to provide life’s necessities – woolen mills, cabinet shops, meat shops, bakeries and others. Each member contributed a particular skill and worked for the common good of the community. They also embraced new technology and obtained a number of patents for innovations in their industries and mills.

The communal life style was abandoned in 1932 and the Amana Society Corporation was established to continue the management of the land, the industry, and several community services within Amana Colonies. Many descendants of the original settlers remain in Amana working as craftsmen and passing down their trades to new generations. The excellence of Amana products continues to attract national attention for its superb workmanship.

The Amana Society, Inc. is a one-of-a-kind legacy corporation located in the Amana Colonies with businesses that produce handcrafted furniture, unique woolens, authentic German foods, livestock, crops, energy production, forest products, and community services.

Businesses such as the Amana Woolen Mill, the Amana Meat Shop, the Amana General Store and the Amana Furniture and Clock Shop, once a part of the original immigrant life style, remain as thriving businesses within the Amana Society, Inc., reflecting a portrait of quality passed on from one generation to the next.

The Amana Society, Inc. offers national distribution of their products and provide a unique experience for visitors to observe craftsmen at work, savor Amana-made foods, and enjoy annual events within the beauty of the Amana Colonies, one of Iowa’s largest tourist locations.

Source: Amana Society, "Overview & History", accessed May 16, 2023.


2.8 Linear Feet

Language of Materials




The Amana Society Records are arranged into two series: I.) Correspondence, and II.) Administrative Records. Materials are arranged in chronological order within each series.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Hamilton College Special Collections Repository

Hamilton College
198 College Hill Road
Clinton NY 13323 United States