Tirzah Miller Avatar

Tirzah Miller Writing In Her Diary

The image above was created by the artist Emmanuel Bazin from Artifex Animation Studios in Montreal for our NEH proposal.  It is concept art, an early step in creating Computer Generated characters or Avatars to be used in the Oneida Community Digital Media Project.  The sources for this image are an archival photo of Tirzah from the 1860s, and digital images that we took in the preserved bedroom in the Oneida Community Mansion House.

We will use this and other images to create a virtual Mansion House in the 3D immersive world, Second Life.  The Mansion House will be recreated in Second Life based on blueprints, archival photos, written descriptions, and digital photography of the 93,000 sq ft Mansion House that exists today in Oneida, NY.

Characters like Tirzah Miller will be recreated in Second Life based on concept art like the image above.  We will create a website where a visitor will be able to watch the PBS documentary, called Heaven on Earth ~ Love and Conflict in the Oneida Community, with interactive features available, or by watching a trailer that introduces the visitor to the Oneida Community and provokes the viewer to explore the virtual Mansion House on their own, discovering expanded vignettes from the documentary, as well as new scenes and historical information not included in the PBS program.

Tirzah Miller wrote a very intimate diary, which Dr. Robert Fogarty edited and published as Desire and Duty at Oneida.  We will use this diary and numerous letters preserved at the University of Syracuse Library to recreate key scenes in Tirzah’s life in the Community.

We will use the same process to present ten other members of the Oneida Community, offering the visitor to the website an opportunity to learn about the history of the Oneida Community from multiple perspectives.

Images like the one of above will be a starting point to communicate to our team of artists in and out of Second Life what we wish to create in order to bring the characters and their stories of the Oneida Community to life.



  1. January 21, 2011 at 9:51 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by SecondBot, Carver Christopher. Carver Christopher said: Tirzah Miller Avatar: http://wp.me/pWsvr-fe […]

  2. Warren Baird said,

    January 25, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    …….by John Humphrey Noyes 1848…The Oneida Community founded by John Humphrey Noyes in central New York in 1847 was the most successful socialist utopian community of the nineteenth century. Of the roots of his community Noyes said As Unitarianism ripened into Transcendentalism at Boston and Transcendentalism produced Brook Farm so Orthodoxy ripened into Perfectionism at New Haven and Perfectionism produced the Oneida Community. The community prospered financially after establishing several successful industries and it remained intact until 1879 when outside pressures largely religious caused it to disband.

  3. Paul N. said,

    January 27, 2011 at 8:43 am

    @Warren Baird
    Can you provide evidence that outside religious pressure caused the fall of the Oneida community? I’m curious because it would also be consistent with my fauceir theory of religious evolution.

    • tontine 255 said,

      January 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      Warren, I don’t think there is evidence that outside pressure on its own caused the OC to convert itself into a Joint Stock Corp. While there was a threat of prosecution of Noyes advocated by local clergy, and Noyes fled to Canada to avoid even the possibility of arrest, I think internal conflict over the leadership of Noyes, as well as a generation gap that emerged with the young Community members that were not strong supporters of Complex Marriage and Stirpiculture (the eugenics program) forced Noyse to flee and later to advocate the end of Complex Marriage. It is a fascinating part of the story we will explore.

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