No recent secondary source that I can find addresses what people at Brook Farm actually thought. The title of The Harbinger and New England Transcendentalism by Sterling Delano led me to think it would be an excellent source, but the reviews for it were horrible and stated that the book made no argument. I will scan it later to make sure it is still useful to my project, but I set it aside for the time being and looked through some of my other sources.
The most useful article I have found is “This Unnatural Union of Phalansteries and Transcendentalists” by Charles Crowe. It is a concise account of George Ripley’s ideology and how it played into Brook Farm. This article makes Brook Farm a manageable and understandable topic through simple explanation. It is not the broad description of life at Brook Farm that is all too common, but instead examines the intricacies of Ripley’s philosophy that are critical to grasping the reasoning behind the other aspects of the community.
My other most useful source is The Idyll of Brook Farm by Zoltán Haraszti. Although Haraszti’s interpretation of the letters in the collection provides context for the letters, it is the large excerpts of the letters themselves that are useful to my research. I am focusing on the writings of people that lived at Brook Farm, and this book is indispensable because it is the only way I have been able to locate any portion of the letters.