Special Collections: The Lewis Mumford Collection

Your electronic guide to special collections at Monmouth University Library.

About Lewis Mumford

Monmouth University Library houses the personal library of Lewis Mumford, a dynamic writer, literary and architectural critic, moralist, historian and philosopher. Born in Flushing, NY, on October 19, 1895, Mumford’s extensive contributions to literary scholarship, technology, urban planning, and architecture are internationally renowned for their uncanny social vision and their timely prescience. Lewis Mumford criticized progress based on the intoxicating power of technology and the machine. He argued that the advancement of civilization should be cultivated by humanism, and that technology should never be used to acquire global domination, promote military prowess, or erode individualism.

Lewis Mumford, however, was no pacifist—he despised fascism and urged America to fight in both World Wars. Like George Orwell, he often accused his liberal contemporaries of being corrupt, and claimed that their “willingness to submit to the Nazis rather than risk the need for using force in opposing them” was nothing short of egregious.

His many prestigious awards include the Medal of Freedom from President Lyndon Johnson, the Presidential Medal of Art and Citation from Ronald Reagan, and the Knight of the British Empire (K.B.E), an honor bestowed on him by Queen Elizabeth II. These achievements are all the more remarkable when we consider that Lewis Mumford did not take an academic degree.

The Mumford Collection, proudly located within the Special Collections Reading Room at Monmouth University Library, comprises more than 3500 books and artifacts. To plan your visit, contact special collections librarian George Germek at 732.571.4403, or by email at


Art and Architecture







Urban Planning