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Lewis Mumford letters to Harry T. Moore


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Harry T. Moore, born in 1909 in Oakland, California, was a professor of English literature at Southern Illinois University and a specialist in the works of D.H. Lawrence. He earned degrees at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and Boston University. His 1974 biography of Lawrence, The Priest of Love, was made into a movie by the English director Christopher Mills. He was also the author of 20th Century French Literature, 20th Century German Literature, and, with Albert Parry, 20th Century Russian Literature. He died in 1981 in Carbondale, Illinois.

Lewis Mumford was born on October 19, 1895 in Flushing, New York City, NY, and graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1912. He studied at the City College of New York and The New School for Social Research, but became ill with tuberculosis and never finished his degree. In 1918, he joined the navy to serve in World War I and was assigned as a radio electrician. He was discharged in 1919 and became associate editor of The Dial, an influential modernist literary journal. He later worked for The New Yorker, where he wrote architectural criticism and commentary on urban issues. Mumford's earliest books in the field of literary criticism have had a lasting impact on contemporary American literary criticism. The Golden Day (1926) contributed to a resurgence in scholarly research on the work of 1850s American transcendentalist authors and Herman Melville: A Study of His Life and Vision (1929) effectively launched a revival in the study of the work of Herman Melville. Soon after, with the book The Brown Decades (1931), he began to establish himself as an authority in American architecture and urban life, which he interpreted in a social context. In his early writings on urban life, Mumford was optimistic about human abilities and wrote that the human race would use electricity and mass communication to build a better world for all humankind. He would later take a more pessimistic stance. His early architectural criticism also helped to bring wider public recognition to the work of Henry Hobson Richardson, Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.

In 1963, Mumford received the Frank Jewett Mather Award for art criticism from the College Art Association. Mumford received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964; in 1975, Mumford was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE); in 1976, he was awarded the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca; and in 1986, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. His 1961 book, The City in History, received the National Book Award. Lewis Mumford died at the age of 94 at his home in Amenia, New York on January 26, 1990.

This collection contains letters from literary and social theorist Lewis Mumford to literary scholar Harry T. Moore. The correspondence is wide-ranging and intimate, ranging from literary and social subjects, such as Moore's books on D.H. Lawrence and Mumford's books on urban planning and social theory, to more personal matters like Moore's marriage, love affairs, and family life.

Purchased from Swann Galleries, 2005

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Sam Allingham
Finding Aid Date
2018 August 8
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Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

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