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Merton's Correspondence with:

Lewis Mumford

Mumford, Lewis, 1895-1990  printer


Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence
Dates of materials: 1961-1967, 1973
Volume: 9 item(s); 12 pg(s)

Scope and Content

In this group of letters spanning the 1960's, Merton and Mumford share a critical outlook of technology and the expansion of modern cities. They also express negative opinions of the U.S. Pentagon and its handling of Vietnam. The collection contains carbon copies and Xerox copies of Merton's letters to Mumford, and signed originals of Mumford's letters to Merton.


Letters from Mumford are addressed from Amenia, New York, but Merton mentions a letter of his written from London. Mumford was a well known architectural critic, urban planner, and commentator of the effects of modern technology on human development. Merton mentions reading some of Mumford's articles and his books The Myth of the Machine and Technics and Civilization.

Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

Please click here for general restrictions concerning Merton's correspondence.

Related Information and Links

For more information on Lewis Mumford, visit the Web site of the Lewis Mumford Center. The official repository of Mumford papers can be found at the Annenburg Rare Book and Manuscript Library at University of Pennsylvania.

Other Finding Aids

If the person in correspondence with Merton has full text records in the Merton Center Digital Collections, there will be a numeric link to them below.

Series List

This Record Sub-Group is not divided into Series and is arranged chronologically.

Container List

Click icons for links: ✓="Published | Library Record", ✉="Scanned" | 🗷="Scanned, Viewable Only at Merton Center"

#DateFrom/ToFirst LinesPub ✓Notes
 y/m/dMerton Scan ✉ 
1. 1961/12/11 TALS[x] from Merton The reprint of the "Morals of Extermination" reached me and I agree that it is a most eloquent and Mumford's "Morals of Extermination" and Merton's "The Human Way Out" - use of them in book on essays by young English Catholic intellectuals / publisher James Laughlin / sending Merton's Wisdom of the Desert / Victor Hammer «detailed view»
2. 1962/01/02 TALS from Merton Many thanks for your two letters. I am glad you like the Wisdom of the Desert. [letter dated 1961/01/02, but should be 1962 from context] sending The Behavior of Titans / "Atlas and the Fat Man" / Mumford's "Morals of Extermination" - In the Name of Sanity / Merton's essay, "The Human Way Out" / 1962 maybe will be a "fatal year" / Chinese friends / God is Love not "an administrator or a watchmaker" «detailed view»
3. 1962/02/02 HLS to Merton It is just a month since you wrote me, a month marked by a religious retreat for you, and by a leaving Berkeley for Amenia, New York / The Behavior of Titans / Harcourt not putting "Morals of Extermination" in new paperback, In the Name of Sanity «detailed view»
4. 1962/02/17 TLS[x] from Merton I hope you are settled again in Amenia. Thank you for your note, and I want to say I am happy that 🗷 Harcourt Brace sent Mumford's City in History - Merton has read Technics and Civilization / "Greek Fathers' idea of 'theoria physike' or 'natural contemplation'" / Washington [D.C.] and the Pentagon - funereal tone and the corruption of the bomb «detailed view»
5. 1965/10/06 HLS to Merton Being in the midst of a difficult bit of writing on my new book, I am driven to thank you for your plans to send theme of new project / Vietnam - "verbal retreat by our government" - President's conversation with the Pope / Victor Hammer «detailed view»
6. 1967/06/22 HLS to Merton It was generous of you to write the 'Times' as you did about their review of 'The Myth of the Merton's editorial to the Times in response to a negative review of Mumford's The Myth of the Machine / lawyer and friend Morris Ernst's defense of Mumford / McLuhanites - Marshall McLuhan «detailed view»
7. 1967/07/12 TL[c] from Merton Many thanks for your letter from London. If I had begun reading your book when I read the review, I Merton's reaction to "humanism" that "submits man to his machines" / anthropology - primitive man not a beast, more human in some ways / McLuhanism - "collective joke" / Victor Hammer's death / "tropical" weather of Kentucky July «detailed view»
8. 1973/11/30 TLS[x] from Center to Mumford, Lewis Mr. Victor Kramer at Georgia State University has requested permission to look at your asking permission to use his letters «detailed view»
9. 1973/12/04 HLS to Center from Mumford, Lewis My correspondence with Father Merton was meager, for alas! we never seized an opportunity to get granting permission to use his letters «detailed view»

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