Senators, Governors, Businessmen, Socialist Philosopher (1950s Interviews)
Joseph McCarthy, American politician who served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957
Corliss Lamont, a socialist philosopher, and advocate of various left-wing and civil liberties causes. As a part of his political activities he was the Chairman of National Council of American-Soviet Friendship starting from early 1940s. He was the great-uncle of 2006 Democratic Party nominee for the United States Senate from Connecticut, Ned Lamont.
Fuller Warren, 30th Governor of Florida
T. Lamar Caudle, Assistant Attorney General
Owen Brewster, American politician from Maine. Brewster, a Republican, was solidly conservative. Brewster was a close confidant of Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin and an antagonist of Howard Hughes.
Robert S. Kerr, American businessman from Oklahoma. Kerr formed a petroleum company before turning to politics. He served as the 12th Governor of Oklahoma and was elected three times to the United States Senate. Kerr worked natural resources, and his legacy includes water projects that link the Arkansas River via the Gulf of Mexico.
Lamont was born in Englewood, New Jersey. His father, Thomas W. Lamont, was a Partner and later Chairman at J.P. Morgan & Co.. Lamont graduated as valedictorian of Phillips Exeter Academy in 1920, and magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1924. In 1924 he did graduate work at New College University of Oxford while he resided with Julian Huxley. The next year Lamont matriculated at Columbia University, where he studied under John Dewey. In 1928 he became a philosophy instructor at Columbia and married Margaret Hayes Irish. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1932 from Columbia University. Lamont taught at Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, and the New School for Social Research . In 1962 he married Helen Elizabeth Boyden.
Lamont served as a director of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1932--1954, and chairman until his death, of the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, which successfully challenged Senator Joseph McCarthy's senate subcommittee and other government agencies. In the process Lamont was cited for contempt of Congress, but in 1956 an appeals court overturned his indictment. From 1951 until 1958, he was denied a passport by the State Department.
In 1965 he secured a Supreme Court ruling against censorship of incoming mail by the U.S. Postmaster General. In 1973 he discovered through Freedom of Information Act requests that the FBI had been tapping his phone, and scrutinizing his tax returns and cancelled checks for 30 years. His subsequent successful lawsuit set a precedent in upholding citizens' privacy rights. He also filed and won a suit against the Central Intelligence Agency for opening his mail.
Following the deaths of his parents, Lamont became a philanthropist. He funded the collection and preservation of manuscripts of American philosophers, particularly George Santayana. He became a substantial donor to both Harvard and Columbia, endowing the latter's Corliss Lamont Professor of Civil Liberties, currently held by Vincent A. Blasi. During the 1960s he and Margaret had divorced, and he married author Helen Boyden, who died of cancer in 1975. Lamont married Beth Keehner in 1986.
Lamont was president emeritus of the American Humanist Association, and in 1977 was named Humanist of the Year. In 1981, he received the Gandhi Peace Award. In 1998 Lamont received a posthumous Distinguished Humanist Service Award from the International Humanist and Ethical Union.
Still an activist at the age of 88, he protested U.S. involvement in the Persian Gulf War in 1991. He died at home in Ossining, New York.