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)[1] was an American intellectual historian, literary critic, journalist, poet, and professor of English at Harvard University.

Jones was the book editor for The Boston Evening Transcript.[2]


Jones was born in Saginaw, Michigan, and attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison as an undergraduate, winning oratorical contests there [3] Before moving to Harvard University, Jones was a member of the English faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1925 he approached president 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's Memorial Library, entitled "Books and the Independent Mind." The crux of his comments was contained in this 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 Jones 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 at Harvard University is named in his honor.

Among Jones's students at Harvard were cultural historian David Brion Davis and 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]

Notable quotations[edit]

"Ours is the age which is proud of machines that think and suspicious of men who try to."[8]


  • Jones, Howard Mumford, Gargoyles and Other Poems (Boston, Mass.: The Cornhill Company, 1918) read online
  • Jones, Howard Mumford, America and French Culture: 1750-1848 (University of North Carolina Press, 1927) read online
  • Jones, Howard Mumford, Ideas in America (Russell & Russell, 1944) read online
  • Jones, Howard Mumford, The Bright Medusa (University of Illinois Press, 1952) read online
  • Jones, Howard Mumford, The Pursuit of Happinesss (Harvard University Press, 1953) read online
  • Jones, Howard Mumford, American Humanism: Its Meaning for World Survival (New York: Harper, 1957) read online
  • Jones, Howard Mumford, One Great Society: Humane Learning in the United States (NY: Harcourt, Brace, 1959) read online
  • Jones, Howard Mumford, The Scholar as American (Harvard University Press, 1960) read online
  • Jones, Howard Mumford, Humane Traditions in America: A List of Suggested Readings, Volume 1 (Harvard University Press, 1961) read online
  • Jones, Howard Mumford, The University and the New World (University of Toronto Press, 1963) read online
  • Jones, Howard Mumford, O Strange New World: American Culture—The Formative Years (Viking Press, 1964) (Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction)
  • Jones, Howard Mumford, History and the Contemporary: Essays in Nineteenth-Century Literature (University of Wisconsin Press, 1964) read online
  • Jones, Howard Mumford, Belief and Disbelief in American Culture (University of Chicago Press, 1969) read online
  • Jones, Howard Mumford, The Age of Energy: Varieties of American Experience, 1865-1915 (Viking Press, 1971) read online
  • Jones, Howard Mumford, Revolution and Romanticism (Harvard University Press, 1974) read online
  • Jones, Howard Mumford, Howard Mumford Jones: An Autobiography (1979) read online
  • Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, Army Life in a Black Regiment (Michigan State University Press, 1960) (intro. by Howard Mumford Jones) read online
  • Ludwig, Richard M., Aspects of American Poetry: Essays Presented to Howard Mumford Jones (Ohio State University Press, 1963) read online
  • Brier, Peter A., Howard Mumford Jones and the Dynamics of Liberal Humanism (University of Missouri Press, 1994) read online online review by David Levin

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Elizabeth A. Brennan, Elizabeth C. Clarage. Who's who of Pulitzer Prize winners ISBN 978-1-57356-111-2
  2. ^ 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: 360. OCLC 675446 
  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. 
  8. ^

External links[edit]