Krutch, Joseph Wood


1962 TLS from the author and naturalist mentioning reading and admiring a publication, “The Freeman”

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Autograph ID: 6980
Condition: Very good, mail folds
Description: “(1893-1970) American writer, critic, and naturalist, best known for his nature books on the American Southwest and as a critic of reductionistic science. He received a Ph.D. in English literature from Columbia and, after army service in 1918, traveled in Europe for a year with friend Mark Van Doren then taught English composition at Brooklyn Polytechnic. Krutch was theater critic for The Nation 1925-52. He first achieved prominence as an author when he published “The Modern Temper” in 1929. There he challenged then-fashionable notions of scientific progress and optimism, arguing that science leads logically to a bleak view of the human condition. In the 1940s he wrote widely read biographies of Samuel Johnson and David Thoreau, and largely inspired by Thoreau, published his 1st nature book, “The Twelve Seasons” (1949). He was a Columbia professor of English 1937-52, a popular lecturer. In 1955, Krutch won the National Book Award for “The Measure of Man” (1954), in which he argued that there are aspects of human beings, such as reason, consciousness, free will, and moral judgment that cannot be explained by mechanistic, deterministic science. After moving to Tucson, Arizona in 1952, Krutch wrote several books about ecology, the southwestern desert environment, and the natural history of the Grand Canyon, winning renown as a naturalist, nature writer, and an early conservationist. The Joseph Wood Krutch Cactus Garden at the University of Arizona was named in his honor in 1980.

11 x 8 ½ TLS, Tucson, Arizona, March 23 1962, to Mr. Ralph Block, Washington DC, thanking him for his note and an interesting quotation. Krutch states that in his “young days we all read and admired ‘The Freeman’.” With envelope.

RALPH J. BLOCK (1889-1974) was an American film producer in the 1920s and became a full-time screenwriter in 1930. He is famous for being President of the Screen Writers Guild 1934-35. In 1940 he received an Honorary Academy Award for his dedicated work for the Motion Picture Relief Fund.

Krutch’s reference to “The Freeman” is likely one of two magazines so named. Libertarian author and social critic Albert Jay Nock edited a weekly magazine called “The Freeman” 1920-24. Contributors included Conrad Aiken, Charles A. Beard, John Dos Passos, Thomas Mann, Lewis Mumford, Bertrand Russell, Carl Sandburg, and Lincoln Steffens. It was revived 1930-31. In 1937, Frank Chodorov began another magazine called The Freeman, a monthly magazine promoting the philosophy of Henry George and published by the Henry George School of Social Science. While not a revival of Nock’s magazine, Nock was an occasional contributor. In 1942, Chodorov was dismissed by the Henry George School over political differences and in 1943 the magazine was renamed “The Henry George News”.”
Type: Letter

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