Nock, Albert Jay, 1872 or 1873-1945

Alternative names

Hide Profile

Albert Jay Nock: ordained an Episcopal priest in 1897 and served at St. James Church, Titusville, Pa., beginning in 1898; left the active ministry in 1909 to join the staff of American Magazine as a writer and editor; in 1915 moved to the Nation, where he was associate editor from 1918-1919; co-edited Freeman, 1920-1924; author of numerous books.

From the description of Albert Jay Nock papers, 1892-1969 (inclusive), 1910-1969 (bulk). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702168166

Editor and lecturer.

From the description of Papers of Albert Jay Nock, circa 1910-1947. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71131215

Albert Jay Nock: ordained an Episcopal priest in 1897 and served at St. James Church, Titusville, Pa., beginning in 1898; left the active ministry in 1909 to join the staff of American Magazine as a writer and editor; in 1915 moved to the Nation, where he was associate editor from 1918-1919; co-edited Freeman, 1920-1924; author of numerous books.

Albert Jay Nock was a fiercely private man; biographical information is scarce indeed. He was born October 13, 1870 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. (Nock himself claimed 1873 or, maybe 1874 as the year of his birth; it was, he thought, a matter of little consequence). His father, Joseph Albert Nock, was a clergyman in the Protestant Episcopal Church; his mother, Emma Sheldon Jay, was a descendant of the Rochellois Protestants who arrived in America in the late 1680's. Much of Nock's youth was spent in Alpena, Michigan, where his father had established a church.

Nock attended St. Stephen's College (now Bard College) at Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, from which he received an A.B. degree in 1892. Evidence of Nock's activities between 1892 and 1898 are fragmentary at best. It appears that he took some graduate courses at the Berkeley Divinity School., which was then in Middletown, Connecticut. In any event, he was ordained to the ministry of the Episcopal Church in 1897 and was called to St. James Church, Titusville, Pennsylvania the following year. In Titusville, he met Agnes Grumbine (1876-1935), who he married on April 25, 1900. The marriage produced two sons, Francis Jay and Samuel Albert, but during the time Ruth Robinson knew him (from 1909 until his death in 1945), Nock rarely saw or mentioned his family.

Nock left the active ministry late in 1909 to join the staff of American Magazine, where he proved his skill in editing as well as writing. In 1915 Crowell bought American Magazine and turned it into a popular magazine. Nock then joined the staff of the Nation, where his name appeared on the mast-head as an associate editor from July 27, 1918 to November 29, 1919. He left the Nation for the famous Freeman, which he co-edited, with Francis Neilson the British single-taxer, from 1920 until it ceased publication in 1924. By that time Nock was weary of editorial duties and never again accepted a regular editorial position. Instead, he devoted the rest of his life to travels and writing.

Nock was a fierce champion of individualism and it is this credo which spurred his attacks on social and political institutions. In an autobiographical sketch he prepared for Paul Palmer, Nock wrote: "Responsibility to myself and for myself, yes. I am, as I have always been, proud to accept that, proud to assert it in the face of God, man, beast, or devil. But responsibility for anything beyond that I accept only on the strength of the most searching evidence; and I have a peculiarily resolute resentment against the impositions by State, Church, or social conventions of responsibilities which are purely aritificial in substance and fraudulent in intention."

Nock was early associated with progressivism, but by the end of World War I he found himself labeled a conservative, a name he at first resisted, but finally accepted and defended until the end of his life. In fact, Nock was never really a reformer for he viewed attempts at conversion as a violation of the individual integrity of others. Similarly, he was pessimistic about the possibility of social change. True change, he believed, must be an aggregate of the voluntary changes in individuals.

In addition to several volumes of collected essays, Nock's works include: Jefferson, a biography (1926), Francis Rabelais (1929), A Journey into Rabelais's France (1934), A Journal of These Days (1934), Our Enemy the State (1935), Free Speech and Plain Language (1937), and Henry George (1939). Nock's best-received book was his autobiography, Memoirs of a Superfluous Man (1943).

* For additional biographical information, see The Superflous Anarchist: Albert Jay Nock, by Michel Wreszin (Providence, R. I.: Brown University Press, 1972).

From the guide to the Albert Jay Nock papers, 1892-1969, (Manuscripts and Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Nagel, Charles, 1849-1940. Charles Nagel papers, 1877-1940 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn John Reed additional papers, 1909-1939. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Paul Palmer papers, 1929-1960 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn John Reed papers, 1903-1967. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Nock, Albert Jay, 1872 or 3-1945. Correspondence with Carl Zigrosser, 1917-1925. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Nock, Albert Jay, 1872 or 3-1945. Letters, 1921-1930, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Edward Sanford Martin correspondence and compositions, 1882-1939 (inclusive), 1900-1938 (bulk). Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Nock, Albert Jay, 1872 or 3-1945. Albert Jay Nock papers, 1892-1969 (inclusive), 1910-1969 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn Huebsch, B. W. (Benjamin W.), 1876-1964. B. W. Huebsch papers, 1893-1964. Library of Congress
creatorOf Nock, Albert Jay, 1872 or 3-1945. Correspondence to Van Wyck Brooks, 1922-1923. University of Pennsylvania Library
creatorOf Albert Jay Nock papers, 1892-1969 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Charles Nagel papers, 1877-1940 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Extremist Book Collection University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
creatorOf Nock, Albert Jay, 1872 or 3-1945. Correspondence with Theodore Dreiser and H. L. Mencken, 1916-1931. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf La Follette, Suzanne, 1893-1983. Letters, 1919-1924, n.d., to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Aikman, Duncan, 1889-1955. Contributions to The American Mercury, 1933-1938. Ohio State University Libraries
referencedIn Walling, Anna Strunsky, 1879-1964. Anna Strunsky Walling papers, 1880-1968 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Nagel, Charles, 1849-1940. Charles Nagel papers, 1877-1940 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Nock, Albert Jay, 1872 or 3-1945. Papers of Albert Jay Nock, circa 1910-1947. Library of Congress
creatorOf Hofmannsthal, Hugo von, 1874-1929. Hugo von Hofmannsthal letter to Mr. Nock, 1923 Aug. 22. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
creatorOf Dillard, Avarene Lippincott. Papers of the Dillard family, 1717-1964. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Sedgwick, Ellery, 1872-1960. Ellery Sedgwick papers, 1898-1969. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Walling, Anna Strunsky, 1879-1964. Anna Strunsky Walling papers, 1880-1968 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn B. W. Huebsch Papers, 1893-1964 Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
creatorOf Nock, Albert Jay, 1872 or 3-1945. Correspondence, 1919-1921, from Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Anna Strunsky Walling papers, 1880-1968 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Palmer, Paul, 1900-1983. Paul Palmer papers, 1929-1960 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Oswald Garrison Villard papers, 1872-1949. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Bacon, Leonard, 1887-1954. person
associatedWith Baker, Newton Diehl, 1871-1937. person
associatedWith Bard College. corporateBody
associatedWith Barnes, Harry Elmer, 1889-1968. person
associatedWith Barzun, Jacques, 1907- person
associatedWith Bell, Bernard Iddings, 1886-1958. person
associatedWith Bissell, George P. person
associatedWith Chodorov, Frank, 1887- person
associatedWith Colcord, Lincoln, 1883-1947. person
associatedWith Dos Passos, John, 1896-1970. person
associatedWith Evans, Edmund C. person
associatedWith Evans, Rebecca Winsor. person
associatedWith Fretz, S. Edward. person
associatedWith Garrison, Frank Wright, 1871-1961. person
associatedWith Hofmannsthal, Hugo von, 1874-1929. person
correspondedWith Huebsch, B. W. (Benjamin W.), 1876-1964. person
correspondedWith Martin, Edward Sanford, 1856-1939 person
associatedWith Mencken, H. L. (Henry Louis), 1880-1956. person
associatedWith Mumford, Lewis, 1895-1990. person
associatedWith Nagel, Charles, 1849-1940. person
associatedWith Opitz, Edmund A. person
associatedWith Opitz, Edmund A. person
associatedWith Palmer, Paul, 1900-1983. person
associatedWith Palmer, Ruth. person
associatedWith Palmer, Ruth. person
correspondedWith Reed, John, 1887-1920 person
associatedWith Robinson, Ruth. person
associatedWith Robinson, Ruth. person
associatedWith Sedgwick, Ellery, 1872- person
associatedWith Sedgwick, Ellery, 1872- person
associatedWith University of Virginia. corporateBody
correspondedWith Villard, Oswald Garrison, 1872-1949 person
associatedWith Walling, Anna Strunsky, 1879-1964. person
associatedWith Whitlock, Brand, 1869-1934. person
associatedWith Winsor, Ellen. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (State)
Subject
Journalism
Universities and colleges
Occupation
Authors
Editors
Journalists
Function

Person

Birth 1870-10-13

Death 1945-08-19

Americans

English

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w68d0dxh

Ark ID: w68d0dxh

SNAC ID: 18887855