Mumford, Lewis, 1895-1990

Alternative names
Birth 1895-10-19
Death 1990-01-26

Biographical notes:

American writer.

From the description of Correspondence with Alfred S. Dashiell, 1931-1940. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 51846130

Carl Zigrosser and Lewis Mumford were life-long friends with shared interests in the arts, society and politics.

From the description of Correspondence with Carl Zigrosser, 1925-1971, n.d. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 155902319

Sir Patrick Geddes was a Scottish biologist, sociologist, educator, and town planner.

From the description of Lewis Mumford, collector, publications, 1880-1972, 1880-1932 (bulk). (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 64072451

Writer, critic, and teacher, primilarly noted for his analyses of cities, technology, and American culture. He was married in 1921 to Sophia Wittenberg (born 8 October 1899, died 22 April 1997). He died at his home in Amenia, New York on 26 January 1990.

From the description of Lewis Mumford papers, circa 1905-1987. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 155876608

Art administrator for the WPA; New York, N.Y.

From the description of Lewis Mumford interview summary, 1964 Dec. 7. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 220199180

Lewis Mumford was born in New York in 1895 and studied at the City College there and at Columbia University. As a student he was greatly influenced by the visionary work of Patrick Geddes (1854-1932) and became passionately interested in city development. Mumford and Geddes corresponded but did not meet as Geddes was working in Palestine and India. Instead Mumford went to London on the invitation of Victor Branford to work as Acting Editor of The Sociological Review and learned from him about the doctrine of social reconstruction. W.W. Mann (1881-19??) was a member of their circle.

On Mumford's return to America in 1922 he wrote his first book The Story of Utopias and became involved in opposition to the official plan for the city of New York, helping to set up the Regional Planning Association of America. In 1923 this body invited Geddes to visit America and the two men met for the first and only time. Geddes saw Mumford as a possible fulltime collaborator and disciple who might take the place of the son he had lost in the First World War. Mumford, on the other hand, wanted Geddes to recognise his new and independent work. Both were disappointed.

Later, and particularly after Geddes' death, Mumford became his principle supporter and the chief advocate of Geddesian thinking. For many years Mumford wrote on a variety of subjects, making connections between literature, philosophy, architecture and town planning. He was connected with various official bodies in these fields including the International Federation for Housing and Town Planning of which he was a Vice President and W.W. Mann was Editorial Secretary. Lewis Mumford died in 1990.

From the guide to the Papers of Lewis Mumford, 1920-1959, (Reading University: Special Collections Services)


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • Education
  • Autographs--Collectors and collecting
  • Natural history
  • Educators
  • Sociology
  • Arts administrators--Interviews
  • City planners
  • Human ecology
  • Ecology
  • Zoology
  • Architecture
  • Federal aid to the arts
  • Geology
  • Art--Philosophy
  • City planning
  • Biology
  • Social sciences
  • Civilization--History


  • Collector
  • Authors
  • Publisher


  • Latin America (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)
  • Adirondack Mountains (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Central Park (New York, N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)