RIP Morton Cohen, 1921-2017

It is with great sadness we report that our beloved Morton Cohen passed away on June 12. A founding member of our Society, his contributions to Carrollian scholarship cannot be overstated, but a partial list follows. Morton Norton Cohen was born in Calgary, Canada, and grew up on the North Shore of Boston. He was educated at Tufts College and Columbia University, and became a Professor of English at City College of New York and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York as well as teaching at West Virginia, Syracuse, and Rutgers Universities; a Fellow of Christ Church, Oxford, and a member of the Royal Society of Literature. The Modern Language Association set up the biennial Morton N. Cohen Award for a Distinguished Edition of Letters in 1989. Aside from his books on Carroll, he also produced significant works on Rudyard Kipling and Rider Haggard. For many years, Dr. Cohen “triangulated,” as he called it, spending the academic year in New York, the summers in London, and whenever possible winter periods in Puerto Rico. His warm and genial presence at our meetings will be sorely missed.

The New York Times published an obituary online on July 4, a date that would please him (being the 155th anniversary of the boat trip up the Isis), written by Richard Sandomir, husband of our own Patt Griffin. The article appeared in print the next day.

Partial Bibliography

  • The Letters of Lewis Carroll, Oxford, 1979 (with Roger Lancelyn Green)
  • Lewis Carroll and the Kitchins, Argosy Bookstore, 1980
  • Lewis Carroll and the House of Macmillan, Cambridge , 1987
  • Lewis Carroll, Photographer of Children: Four Nude Studies, Clarkson N. Potter/Crown, 1988
  • Lewis Carroll: Interviews and Recollections, University of Iowa, 1989
  • Lewis Carroll: A Biography, Macmillan, 1995
  • Reflections in a Looking Glass: A Centennial Celebration of Lewis Carroll, Photographer, Aperture, 1998
  • Lewis Carroll and His Illustrators: Collaborations and Correspondence, 1865–1898, 2003 (with Edward Wakeling)
  • (His introductions to various books, and academic articles, are too voluminous to list.)

2 thoughts on “RIP Morton Cohen, 1921-2017

  1. I first met Morton in 1978. He kindly invited me to his apartment to see his collection and treated me for lunch. I was a callow librarian and had only met him once before at a LCSNA meeting. He was an amazing scholar and true gentleman.

  2. None of us would be working on Carroll/Dodgson/Alice at this level of academic professionalism, or even at all, without Morton’s work, and without his continuing involvement with the LCSNA.
    Some of you will remember that the LCSNA hosted a formal dinner in appreciation of him in 1998, wanting to do so with him and not when it was too late. He was so pleased, and said then and on other occasions that what he carried through the years from his Carroll work was the personal friendships he had made.
    So say we all.

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