Nearing, Helen (1904 - 1995)

Genre: Non-Fiction

Helen Nearing was born in Ridgewood, NJ, the middle child of intellectual middle-class parents. Helen travelled widely as a child and teenager, took music lessons, and was well-educated. Her early life is described in detail in her book Loving and Leaving the Good Life.

Helen met Scott Nearing briefly in 1921, then again in 1928, and they were together from that time on, only marrying in 1947 when Scott's first wife, Nellie Seeds, from whom he was separated, died. They left New York City in 1932 to live in rural southern Vermont, where they homesteaded and ran a maple-sugaring business for 19 years. They moved to Harborside, Maine in 1952, where they again built their own house and outbuildings and began a business raising blueberries. Their homesteading days are also well-chronicled in their books.

Helen and Scott Nearing wrote a regular column in Mother Earth News during the 1960s and 1970s.

Their home in Harborside, Forest Farm, is now the Good Life Center, which hosts Monday night meetings, free tours, and workshops.

Selected Bibliography

  • The Good Life Album of Helen and Scott Nearing, (1974)
  • Simple Food for the Good Life, (1980)
  • Wise Words on the Good Life: An Anthology of Quotations, (1980)
  • Our Home Made of Stone: Building in our 70s and 90s, (1983)
  • The Good Life: Helen and Scott Nearing's Sixty Years of Self-Sufficient Living, (1989)
  • Loving and Leaving the Good Life (1992)
  • Light on Aging and Dying: Wise Words (1995)

Selected Resources

  • One Light Alone: a guru meditation on the good death of Helen Nearing by Ellen LaConte, Loose Leaf Press, (1996)

Selected Links