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Lewis Mumford
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Author
    (October 19, 1895-January 26, 1990)
    Born in Flushing, Queens, New York
    Historian, sociologist, and literary and architectural critic
    Associate editor of the literary journal 'The Dial'
    Architectural critic for 'The New Yorker'
    Wrote the books 'The Story of Utopias' (1922), 'The Golden Day' (1926), 'Herman Melville: A Study of His Life and Vision' (1929), 'Technics and Civilization' (1934), 'The Culture of Cities' (1938), 'The Condition of Man' (1944), 'The Conduct of Life' (1951), 'The City in History' (1961) and 'The Myth of the Machine' (2 volumes, 1967-70)
    Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964) and National Medal of the Arts (1986)
    Named an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1975)
    His advocacy of smaller, planned 'regional cities' to relieve urban congestion in metropolitan areas never came to fruition outside of a handful of experiments, like Radburn in New Jersey.
    He predicted that the dehumanizing effects of technology would lead to disaster.
    The one time he tried to learn to drive a car, he almost crashed into a maple tree in front of his house. He refused to get behind the wheel again.
    After making love to his mistress in the afternoon, he would return home promptly at five for supper with his wife.
    He was one of the inspirations for Ellsworth Toohey, the antagonist in Ayn Rand's 'The Fountainhead.'
    He was called 'America's last great public intellectual.'
    He revived interest in Herman Melville and 'Moby Dick.'
    His architectural criticism brought public attention to Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.
    His son Geddes was killed in action in World War II.
    His home in Amenia, New York, was added to the National Register of Historic Places (1999).
    He said, 'I would die happy if I knew that on my tombstone could be written these words: 'This man was an absolute fool. None of the disastrous things that he reluctantly predicted ever came to pass.''

Credit: C. Fishel


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