Howard Mumford Jones

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For the Louisiana state senator, see Howard M. Jones (Louisiana politician).

Howard Mumford Jones (April 16, 1892 – May 11, 1980) was a U.S. writer, literary critic, and professor of English at Harvard University.

Jones was the book editor for The Boston Evening Transcript.[1]

Howard Jones was born in Saginaw, Michigan.[2] Jones attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison as an undergraduate and won oratorical contests there [3] Before moving to Harvard, Jones was a member of the English faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In 1925, he approached the president of UNC-CH, Harry Woodburn Chase, lamenting the absence of a bookstore in the town of Chapel Hill, and offered to open one in his office. This eventually became the Bull's Head Bookshop, now located in Student Stores.[4]

In February, 1954, Mr. Jones gave the dedicatory address at the opening of an addition to the University of Wisconsin Library. It was entitled "Books and the Independent Mind." The crux of his comments was perhaps contained in his midpoint comment: "While it is true that we in this nation remain free to be idiotic, it does not necessarily follow, that we must be idiotic, in order to be free!"[5]

In 1965 he won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for O Strange New World: American Culture-The Formative Years.[6] He also authored Belief and Disbelief in American Literature (1967), The Age of Energy (1971), and many scholarly journal articles.

The Howard Mumford Jones Professorship of American Studies in the department of history, Harvard University, is named in his honor.

Among Jones' students at Harvard was Betty Miller Unterberger, later the first woman professor at Texas A&M University and also the first woman president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. Jones introduced Unterberger to the technical advantages of using a dictaphone while writing history. (Jones also urged her to marry her future husband, Robert Unterberger, now a retired professor of geophysics at TAMU.) [7]



  1. ^ Wier, Albert Ernest (1943). "Thesaurus of the Arts: Drama, Music, Radio, Painting, Screen, Television, Literature, Sculpture, Architecture, Ballet". New York, NY: G.P. Putnam's Sons. p. 360. OCLC 675446 
  2. ^ Elizabeth A. Brennan, Elizabeth C. Clarage. Who's who of Pulitzer Prize winners ISBN 978-1-57356-111-2
  3. ^ La Crosse Tribune, 1914.
  4. ^ Bulls Head Bookshop, UNC
  5. ^ Jones, Howard Mumford. "Books and the Independent Mind: An Address Delivered at the Dedication of the Memorial Library of the University of Wisconsin." February 1, 1954. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1954, 22 pp.
  6. ^ 1965 Winners,
  7. ^ "Lee W. Formwalt, "From Scotland to India: A Conversation with American Historian Betty Unterberger," August 2005". Retrieved October 23, 2010.