Lewis Mumford

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Lewis Mumford (1895 – 1990) was an American historian, sociologist, philosopher, and influential literary critic noted for his writings on cities and urban architecture.
Mumford served as the architectural critic for The New Yorker magazine for over 30 years. His 1961 book, The City in History, received the National Book Award.
Mumford's earliest books in the field of literary criticism have had a lasting impact on contemporary American literary criticism. The Golden Day contributed to a resurgence in scholarly research on the work of 1850's American transcendentalist authors and Herman Melville: A study of His Life and Vision effectively launched a revival in the study of the work of Herman Melville. Soon after, with the book The Brown Decades, he began to establish himself as an authority in US architecture and urban life, which he interpreted in a social context. His architectural criticism helped to bring wider public recognition to the work of Henry Hobson Richardson, Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Mumford received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964.

Articles by this Contributor

February 1969

That, says an eminent American critic, is the heart of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s message to us in our own troubled time