Helen Knothe Nearing (February 23, 1904 – September 17, 1995) was an American author and advocate of simple living.

Helen Knothe was the daughter of Frank Knothe who had a clothing business in New Jersey.[1] She grew up in an economically comfortable family of Theosophists.[2]

As a young woman, she had a romantic relationship with Jiddu Krishnamurti.[2]

She and Scott Nearing started a relationship in 1928 and married nearly 20 years later, on December 12, 1947.[3] The couple lived in rural Vermont where they grew much of their food and erected nine stone buildings over the course of two decades. They lived an ascetic and self-reliant life, earning money by producing maple syrup and sugar from the trees on their land and from Scott Nearing's occasional paid lectures.[4]

In 1952, Helen and Scott Nearing moved to a homestead in Brooksville, Maine, on Cape Rosier, where they continued growing much of their own food.[5] They cultivated blueberries as a cash crop.[6]

Helen Nearing died in 1995 as the result of a single-car accident in Harborside, Maine.[7][8]

Published works

  • The Good Life Picture Album (1974)
  • Simple Food for the Good Life (1980)
  • Wise Words for the Good Life (1980)
  • Our Home Made of Stone (1983)
  • Loving and Leaving the Good Life (1992)
  • Light on Aging and Dying (1995)

Co-authored with Scott Nearing

  • The Maple Sugar Book: being a plain practical account of the Art of Sugaring designed to promote an acquaintance with the Ancient as well as the Modern practise, together with remarks on Pioneering as a way of living in the twentieth century. New York: John Day Co., 1950.
  • Living the Good Life (1954) ISBN 0-88365-236-6
  • Socialists Around the World (1958)
  • Building and Using Our Sun-Heated Greenhouse (1977)
  • Continuing the Good Life (1979)
  • The Good Life (1989)


  1. ^ Lutyens, p138
  2. ^ a b Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening by Mary Lutyens, London: John Murray, 1975.
  3. ^ Margaret Killinger The Good Life of Helen K. Nearing, 2007.
  4. ^ Nearing, The Making of a Radical, pg. 47.
  5. ^ Nearing and Nearing, The Good Life, pg. 223-224.
  6. ^ Nearing and Nearing, The Good Life, pg. 286.
  7. ^ McQuiston, John (September 19, 1995). "Helen K. Nearing, Maine Writer, Dies at 91". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Boyd, Stephany (September 18, 1995). "Author Helen Nearing dies in car crash". Bangor Daily News. 

External links