Hook, Sidney, 1902-1989

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American philosopher, professor, and writer.

From the description of Letter, 1984 May 20, Wardsboro, Vt., to Edward Weber, Ann Arbor, Mich. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34363838

American philosopher and author; founding member, Congress for Cultural Freedom, 1950.

From the description of Sidney Hook papers, 1902-2002. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754872376

Senior fellow at the Hoover Institute.

From the description of Correspondence with Chaim Potok, 1986. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 704680750

Biographical Note

  • 1902, Dec. 20: Born, New York City
  • 1927: Ph.D., Columbia University Author, The Metaphysics of Pragmatism
  • 1927 - 1969 : Professor of Philosophy, Washington Square College, New York University
  • 1933: Author, Towards the Understanding of Karl Marx
  • 1936: Author, From Hegel to Marx
  • 1939: Author, John Dewey: An Intellectual Portrait
  • 1940: Author, Reason, Social Myths and Democracy
  • 1943: Author, The Hero in History
  • 1946: Author, Education for Modern Man
  • 1948 - 1969 : Head, All-University Department of Philosophy, New York University
  • 1953: Author, Heresy, Yes, Conspiracy, No
  • 1955: Author, Marx and the Marxists
  • 1957: Author, Common Sense and the Fifth Amendment
  • 1959: Author, Political Power and Personal Freedom
  • 1961: Author, The Quest for Being
  • 1962: Author, The Paradoxes of Freedom
  • 1967: Author, Religion in a Free Society
  • 1970: Author, Academic Freedom and Academic Anarchy
  • 1973: Author, Education and the Taming of Power
  • 1973 - 1989 : Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace
  • 1974: Author, Pragmatism and the Tragic Sense of Life
  • 1975: Author, Revolution, Reform and Social Justice
  • 1980: Author, Philosophy and Public Policy
  • 1983: Author, Marxism and Beyond
  • 1987: Author, Out of Step: An Unquiet Life in the Twentieth Century
  • 1989, July 12: Died, Stanford, California
  • 1990: Author, Convictions (published posthumously)

From the guide to the Sidney Hook papers, 1902-2002, (Hoover Institution Archives)

The philosopher, author and social critic Sidney Hook was an active participant in many of the important political and intellectual debates of the twentieth century. Born in Brooklyn in 1902, he graduated from City College in 1923. At Columbia University, where he was a disciple of the pragmatist John Dewey, he earned a master's degree in 1926 and a PhD the following year. He went on to join the faculty of New York University in 1927, remaining there as Chairman of the Philosophy Department until his retirement in 1969. From 1973 until his death in 1989, he was a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

Although drawn to Marxism and the Soviet Union in the 1920s, he was one of the first of the New York Marxists to break with the Communist Party and with Stalin, becoming known for his consistent anti-Communist stance. In 1950, he joined with others to create the Congress for Cultural Freedom, an organization partly funded by the Central Intelligence Agency, to counter Communist controlled cultural groups. He was generally seen as a conservative in foreign affairs, but considered himself a socialist in domestic affairs.

Hook's philosophy was based on pragmatism, secularism and rationalism. He wrote dozens of books and hundreds of articles, taught a course on the philosophy of democracy at NYU and influenced the thinking of several generations of teachers, philosophers and political figures. His life is recounted in an autobiography, Out of Step: An Unquiet Life in the 20th Century, published in 1987.

A number of items in this collection concern the case of Harry Slochower who was called, in 1952, before the Internal Security Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate. He invoked the Fifth Amendment when asked about Communist associations and was dismissed from his position as a professor of German and comparative literature at Brooklyn College. In 1956 he appealed to the Supreme Court and was reinstated based on a ruling that he had been denied due process of law. He was again suspended on charges that he had made false statements under oath but, before the actual trial, he resigned and spent the rest of his life in the practice of psychoanalysis. (In 1957, Sidney Hook published Common Sense and the Fifth Amendment which discusses the implications of the Fifth Amendment in cases of teacher dismissal for alleged Communist activities.)

From the guide to the Sidney Hook Papers, 1929-1960, (Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Leon Trotsky exile papers, 1929-1940. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Louis Adamic letter to Sidney Hook, 1938 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Spivak, Lawrence E. (Lawrence Edmund), 1900-1994. Lawrence E. Spivak papers, 1917-1994 (bulk 1945-1983). Library of Congress
referencedIn Edward Isaac Lending Papers, Bulk, 1978-1995, 1937-1995, (Bulk 1978-1995) Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Theodore Schapiro Papers and Photographs, 1913-1956 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn Rovere, Richard Halworth, 1915-1979. Richard Halworth Rovere papers, 1926-1981. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Diggins, John P. John P. Diggins letters received, 1969-1989. Stanford University, Hoover Institution Library
referencedIn Lending, Edward Isaac, 1912-2003. Papers, 1937-1995 (bulk 1978-1995). Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Bruccoli, Matthew Joseph, 1931-. Papers, 1972-1973. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Antioch Review mss., 1940-2007 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
creatorOf National Council of Jewish Women. Minneapolis Section. Records, 1917-1970. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Yaddo records, 1870-1980 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Hook, Sidney, 1902-1989. Sidney Hook papers, 1902-2002. Stanford University, Hoover Institution Library
referencedIn New Leader records, 1928-1960. Churchill County Museum
creatorOf Hook, Sidney, 1902-1989. The metaphysics of leading principles. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Hook, Sidney, 1902-1989. Letter, 1984 May 20, Wardsboro, Vt., to Edward Weber, Ann Arbor, Mich. University of Michigan
referencedIn Fries, Horace Snyder, 1902-1951. Papers, 1921-1951. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn American Committee for Cultural Freedom Records, 1939-1957 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
creatorOf Josselson, Michael. Michael Josselson Papers, 1914-1991 (bulk 1960-1978). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn J. B. Matthews Papers, 1862-1986 and undated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn Open Court Publishing Company. Open Court Publishing Company records, 1886-1998, (bulk 1887-1920). Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
referencedIn Rand School of Social Science Records, 1905-1962 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Tamiment Institute Records, 1935-1990s Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Burke, Kenneth, 1897-1993. Kenneth Burke papers. 1906-1960. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn American Committee for Cultural Freedom. Records, 1939-1957, 1950-1957 (bulk). Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Reichenbach, Hans, 1891-1953. Hans-Reichenbach-Sammlung [microform] 1900-1979 (grösstenteils 1919-1953) University of Pittsburgh
referencedIn Colorado Scenery and Views [graphic], ca. 1890-ca. 1895 Bancroft Library
creatorOf Fuller, Lon L. (Lon Luvois), 1902-1978. Papers, 1926-1977. Harvard Law School Library, HLS Library
referencedIn Tamiment Library Manuscript Files, Bulk, 1910-1965, 1749-1988 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn The Autobiography of Mary M. Barr-Koon, 1984 Indiana University, Bloomington. Center for the Study of History and Memory
creatorOf Farrell, James T. (James Thomas), 1904-1979. James T. Farrell-Cleo Paturis papers, 1909-2006, bulk 1949-2004. Newberry Library
creatorOf Diggins, John P. John P. Diggins papers, 1966-2008. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Papers, 1840-1961. Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Alan Barth papers, 1937-1981 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Papers, 1947-2001. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Santayana, George, 1863-1952. Letters, 1928-38 : Rome to Sidney Hook, 1929-1938. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
referencedIn Scott Millross Buchanan papers, 1911-1972. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Slochower, Harry, 1900-. Professional and personal papers, 1910-1988 1930-1987. Brooklyn College
referencedIn Myra Strachner Gershkoff Papers, 1941-1946 New York State Library
referencedIn Tamiment Library. Tamiment Library manuscript files collection relating to individuals and organizations associated with radicalism, the labor movement, and progressive social action in the United States, 1950-2001 (bulk 1910-1965). Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Wilson, Edmund, 1895-1972. Edmund Wilson papers 1936-1970. The University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library
creatorOf Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences, Inc. Records, bulk 1927-1934. Hampshire College, Harold F. Johnson Library
referencedIn Freedom House (U.S.). Freedom House archives, 1936-1997. Princeton University Library
referencedIn Michael Josselson Papers TXRC98-A0., 1914-1991, (bulk 1960-1978) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Hook, Sidney, 1902-1989. Correspondence to Van Wyck Brooks, 1940. University of Pennsylvania Library
creatorOf Hoffmann, Adolph, 1858-1930. [Pamphlets on religion and socialism]. Boston University, Mugar Memorial Library
referencedIn Novack, George Edward. George Edward Novack and Evelyn Reed papers, 1933-1992. Wisconsin Historical Society Archives
referencedIn Lewis, Clarence Irving, 1883-1964. Clarence Irving Lewis papers, 1933-1967. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn The Nation, records, 1879-1974 (inclusive), 1920-1955 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Boys, Richard Charles, 1912-. Correspondence, 1949-1954. University of Michigan
referencedIn Lowe, Victor, 1907-1988. Victor Lowe papers, 1929-1988. Johns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries and the Milton S. Eisenhower Library
referencedIn Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences, Inc. Records MG2., 1927-1934 Hampshire College Archives
referencedIn Herbert Feigl papers, 1921-1971 University of Minnesota Libraries. University Archives [uarc]
referencedIn Dewey, John, 1859-1952. John Dewey papers, 1858-1970. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
referencedIn Riesel, Victor. Papers, 1929-1994 (bulk 1940-1980). Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Lawrence E. Spivak Papers, 1917-1994, (bulk 1945-1983) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Draper, Theodore, 1912-2006. Theodore Draper research files, 1919-1970. Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
creatorOf Sidney Hook papers, 1902-2002 Hoover Institution Archives.
referencedIn Victor Riesel Papers, Bulk, 1940-1980, 1929-1994 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
creatorOf Hook, Sidney, 1902-1989. Correspondence with Chaim Potok, 1986. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Schneider, Herbert W. (Herbert Wallace), 1892-1984. Selected papers of Herbert W. Schneider, 1924-1976. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
referencedIn Harris, L. mss., 1931-1977 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
creatorOf Nagel, Ernest, 1901-1985. Papers, 1930-1988. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Sidney Hook Papers, 1929-1960 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn New Leader, Records, 1928-1960 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Sidney Hook Reconsidered : A Centennial Celebration (Conference) (2002 : City University of New York). Sidney Hook Reconsidered conference proceedings, 2002. Stanford University, Hoover Institution Library
referencedIn Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mid-Century Convocation on the Social Implications of Scientific Progress records, 1949, 1999 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute Archives and Special Collections
referencedIn Carolina Symposium. Records of the Carolina Symposium, 1927- 1986. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Harry Laidler Photographs, Bulk, 1950-1960, 1893-1968, (Bulk 1950-1960) Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Thomas J. Dodd Papers, undated, 1919-1971. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries
referencedIn Victor Riesel Papers, Bulk, 1940-1980, 1929-1994, (Bulk 1940-1980) Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn John P. Diggins letters received, 1969-1989 Hoover Institution Archives.
referencedIn University of Connecticut, President's Office Records [Homer D. Babbidge, 1962-1972], undated, 1962-1972. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries
referencedIn Boris Souvarine papers, 1915-1984 (inclusive), 1940-1984 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Laidler, Harry W. (Harry Wellington), 1884-1970. Harry Wellington Laidler Photographs [graphic]. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Vanguard Press Records, ca.1925-ca.1985 Columbia University, Rare Book and Manuscripts Library,
referencedIn Sidney Hook Reconsidered conference proceedings, 2002 Hoover Institution Archives.
referencedIn Correspondence, 1860-1979. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Papers, 1926-1977 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Barth, Alan. Alan Barth papers, 1937-1981 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn John P. Diggins papers, 1966-2008 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Ernest Nagel Papers, 1930-1988 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Vanguard Press. Vanguard Press Records, ca. 1925-ca. 1985. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Dewey, John, 1859-1952. Sidney Hook collection of John Dewey, 1926-1972. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
creatorOf Hammond, Thomas Taylor. Thomas Taylor Hammond papers [manuscript], ca.1949-1992. University of Virginia. Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adamic, Louis, 1899-1951 person
associatedWith American Committee for Cultural Freedom. corporateBody
associatedWith American Committee for Cultural Freedom. corporateBody
associatedWith Antioch review. corporateBody
associatedWith Barth, Alan. person
associatedWith Barth, Alan. person
associatedWith Boys, Richard Charles, 1912- person
associatedWith Bruccoli, Matthew Joseph, 1931- person
correspondedWith Buchanan, Scott Millross, 1895-1968 person
correspondedWith Burke, Kenneth, 1897-1993. person
associatedWith Carolina Symposium. corporateBody
associatedWith Congress for Cultural Freedom. corporateBody
associatedWith Dewey, John, 1859-1952. person
associatedWith Diggins, John P person
associatedWith Diggins, John P. person
associatedWith Diggins, John P. person
correspondedWith Dodd, Thomas J. (Thomas Joseph), 1907-1971 person
associatedWith Draper, Theodore, 1912-2006. person
associatedWith Education person
associatedWith Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences, Inc. corporateBody
correspondedWith Engels, Friedrich, 1820-1895 person
associatedWith Farrell, James T. (James Thomas), 1904-1979. person
associatedWith Feigl, Herbert person
correspondedWith Freedom House (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Fries, Horace Snyder, 1902-1951. person
associatedWith Fuller, Lon L., 1902- person
associatedWith Fuller, Lon L. (Lon Luvois), 1902-1978. person
associatedWith Gershkoff, Myra Strachner, 1926- person
associatedWith Hammond, Thomas Taylor. person
associatedWith Hand, Learned, 1872-1961 person
associatedWith Harris, Leon A. person
correspondedWith Hocking, William Ernest, 1873-1966 person
associatedWith Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace. corporateBody
associatedWith Indiana University Center for the Study of History and Memory corporateBody
associatedWith Josselson, Michael. person
associatedWith Josselson, Michael, 1908-1978 person
associatedWith Laidler, Harry W. (Harry Wellington), 1884-1970. person
associatedWith Lending, Edward Isaac, 1912-2003. person
associatedWith Lewis, Clarence Irving, 1883-1964. person
associatedWith Lowe, Victor, 1907-1988. person
associatedWith Marx, Karl, 1818-1883. person
associatedWith Matthews, J. B. (Joseph Brown), 1894-1966 person
associatedWith Mid-Century Convocation on the Social Implications of Scientific Progress (1949 : Massachusetts Institute of Technology) corporateBody
associatedWith Nagel, Ernest, 1901-1985. person
associatedWith National Council of Jewish Women. Minneapolis Section. corporateBody
correspondedWith Nation (New York, N.Y. : 1865). corporateBody
associatedWith New leader (New York, N.Y. : 1924). corporateBody
associatedWith Novack, George Edward. person
correspondedWith Open Court Publishing Company. corporateBody
correspondedWith Raditsa, Leo. person
associatedWith Rand School of Social Science. corporateBody
associatedWith Reichenbach, Hans, 1891-1953. person
associatedWith Riesel, Victor. person
associatedWith Rovere, Richard Halworth, 1915-1979. person
associatedWith Santayana, George, 1863-1952. person
associatedWith Schapiro, Theodore, 1898-1998 person
correspondedWith Schneider, Herbert W. (Herbert Wallace), 1892-1984. person
associatedWith Sidney Hook Reconsidered : A Centennial Celebration (Conference : 2002 : City University of New York) corporateBody
associatedWith Sidney Hook Reconsidered : A Centennial Celebration (Conference) (2002 : City University of New York) corporateBody
associatedWith Slochower, Harry, 1900- person
correspondedWith Souvarine, Boris. person
associatedWith Spivak, Lawrence E. (Lawrence Edmund), 1900-1994. person
associatedWith Tamiment Institute. corporateBody
associatedWith Tamiment Library. corporateBody
correspondedWith Trotsky, Leon, 1879-1940 person
associatedWith University of Connecticut. President's Office. corporateBody
associatedWith Vanguard Press. corporateBody
associatedWith Weber, Edward Charles, 1922- person
associatedWith Wilson, Edmund, 1895-1972. person
associatedWith Yaddo (Artist's colony) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
United States
Subject
Student movements
Communism--United States
Congress for Cultural Freedom
Radio journalism
Academic freedom--United States
Student movements--United States
Philosophy
Radio broadcasting policy
Liberty
Dewey, John, 1859-1952
Academic freedom--United States--History--20th century
Anti-communist movements
Communist trials--United States
Philosophy, Marxist
Education
Communism
Socialism
Academic freedom
Communism in education
Affirmative action programs
Dialectical materialism
Occupation
Philosophers--United States
Function

Person

Birth 1902-12-20

Death 1989-07-12

Male

Americans

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 83266913