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  Lamont, Corliss
AffiliationIndependent Socialist  
NameCorliss Lamont
New York, New York , United States
Website [Link]
Born March 28, 1902
DiedApril 26, 1995 (93 years)
ContributorThomas Walker
Last ModifedCraverguy
Oct 07, 2008 02:14am
Tags Caucasian - Socialist - Government Reform - Internationalist - Pro-Labor - Divorced - Married - Widowed - ACLU - Atheist - Secular Humanist - Straight -
InfoCorliss Lamont (1902-1995) is a 20th century American hero whose independent thinking challenged prevailing ideas in philosophy, economics, religion, patriotism, world peace and the exercise of our cherished civil liberties.

Corliss Lamont was born to Wall Street wealth, yet he championed the cause of the working class, and was derided as a "Socialist" and a "traitor to his class".

Corliss Lamont's Humanist belief that earthlings have evolved without supernatural intervention and are responsible for their own survival on this planet caused traditionalists to label him a "godless atheist".

Corliss Lamont's patriotic insistence that the United States maintain a productive relationship with the Soviet Union in the face of prevailing rabid anti-communist hysteria earned him the accusation by Senator Joseph McCarthy of being "un-American". [See Philip Wittenberg (ed.), The Lamont Case: History of a Congressional Investigation, Corliss Lamont and the McCarthy Hearings (New York: Horizon Press, 1957) for details.]

Corliss Lamont was a philosopher, author and poet who carried several landmark cases to the courts successfully, including a suit [381 U.S. 301 (1965)] against the United States Postmaster General which was taken to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court's decision was in Dr. Lamont's favor.

He taught a course in Humanism at Columbia University. Upon his death, the Columbia Record had this to say about him. A tribute to his life was held at Columbia on September 18, 1995. He endowed a chair in Civil Liberties at Columbia Law School, currently occupied by Prof. Vincent A. Blasi. He contributed to the construction of the Corliss Lamont Rare Book Reading Room at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University and helped to create, through donations of letters, papers, and works of art, the Julian Huxley, John Masefield, George Santayana, and Rockwell Kent collections held there. He also played a major role in the creation of the Spinoza Collection.

Located in the Corliss Lamont Room in the Class of 1945 Library, one of the Library Collections at Phillips Exeter Academy, is the John Masefield Collection.

Dr. Lamont provided a portion of the funding for The Santayana Edition, The Works of George Santayana, as published by The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, England, and supported by The National Endowment for The Humanities, and others.

During his lifetime he was honored with many awards, including the Gandhi Peace Award in 1981. He served on the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Urban League.

The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University stands on a 125-acre estate in Palisades, N.Y. which was donated by his mother, Florence Lamont, who also endowed the Florence Corliss Lamont Professor of Divinity and Professor of Old Testament, Harvard University Divinity School, currently held by Paul D. Hanson, Ph.D. His father, Thomas W. Lamont, who was Chairman of J.P. Morgan, was a major donor toward the creation of the Lamont Library at Harvard.

Frederick Edwords, Executive Director of the American Humanist Association, authored an excellent article for the July/August 1995 issue of the Humanist magazine on the life of Corliss Lamont entitled Requiem for a Freedom Fighter, which has been included on this Web site.

Below is a listing of Dr. Lamont's books. The last six were edited by him.

The Philosophy of Humanism
Lover's Credo: Poems of Love **
The Illusion of Immortality **
Freedom of Choice Affirmed **
Freedom Is as Freedom Does: Civil Liberties in America **
Yes To Life - Memoirs of Corliss Lamont **
Remembering John Masefield **
A Lifetime of Dissent
A Humanist Funeral Service **
Voice in the Wilderness: Collected Essays of Fifty Years
A Humanist Wedding Service **
Soviet Civilization
The Independent Mind
The Peoples of the Soviet Union
You Might Like Socialism: A Way of Life for Modern Man
Russia Day by Day Co-author (with Margaret I. Lamont)
"Dear Corliss": Letters from Eminent Persons
Collected Poems of John Reed
Dialogue on John Dewey
Dialogue on George Santayana
The Trial of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn by the American Civil Liberties Union
Man Answers Death


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  11/04/1958 NY US Senate Lost 0.88% (-49.87%)
  11/04/1952 NY US Senate Lost 1.50% (-53.71%)