To William James
75 Monmouth Street
Brookline, Massachusetts. Thursday [c. 1908].

Dear Mr James

I find your note here when it is too late to profit by it. I am very sorry, not so much for not gratifying Mr Gordon’s morbid desire to look upon the Devil, as for not giving him a chance to make the sign of the cross over me (or whatever is the Old South equivalent) and perhaps drive the Father of Lies out of me into some dumb and non-literary animal where he wouldn’t do so much harm.

From The Letters of George Santayana:  Book One, [1868]-1909.  Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2001.
Location of manuscript: The Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge MA.

Dear Friends of the George Santayana Society,

Angus Kerr-Lawson and the prize in his honor

The Angus Kerr-Lawson Prize is offered in tribute to Kerr-Lawson’s outstanding contributions to Santayana scholarship both as longtime editor of Overheard in Seville and as the author of many articles that appeared in our Bulletin and in other publications. Kerr-Lawson was a co-founder of the George Santayana Society. The prize is available to a scholar not more than five years out of graduate school for an essay engaging or rooted in the thought of George Santayana. We encourage you to promote the Angus Kerr-Lawson Prize among graduate students and junior faculty members. Any aspect of Santayana’s thinking may be addressed by authors, including essays that relate his thinking to other figures in the American tradition (and beyond) and to contemporary social, cultural and philosophic concerns. Relevant themes include materialism and naturalism, realism and Platonism, metaphysics and morals, and issues connected to American culture and intellectual history. The winner will receive $300 and be invited to present the winning paper at the Society’s annual Eastern APA meeting in early January. The winning essay will be published in the edition of Overheard in Seville that follows that meeting. This year the winner will be notified in September, 2017. Authors should prepare submissions for blind review (no exposing references to the author within the composition) and send electronically in Word, ODT, or PDF format to: The subject line of the email should read: *Kerr-Lawson Prize Submission, [author’s name]*. The deadline for submissions is May 21, 2017.

Shirley Marie Lachs

The first letter in this series, which described the annual meeting, reported that John Lachs was unable to participate in his planned joint session with Herman Saatkamp. Part of the reason is that Shirley Lachs, his wife of nearly five decades and longtime collaborator, died last fall. We wish Professor Lachs well in his time of loss.

Richard M Rubin
President, George Santayana Society

Dear Friends of the George Santayana Society,

Overhead in Seville: the Bulletin of George Santayana Society has published every fall since 1983. This year’s issue will mark thirty five years of publication. We also encourage the submission of articles and other works for both this year (2017) and next (2018). Critical and historical essays on Santayana’s life and works are of course always welcome. We also encourage short feuilleton-style pieces that suggest an idea or tell an anecdote of Santayana’s life or that of his contemporaries, antecedents, or followers. We will entertain creative pieces that use Santayana’s life or work as a starting point. We are also looking for original philosophic inquiry that is based on some theme important in Santayana’s work. In that vein, we are looking to promote lectures and essays on the relationship between metaphysics and politics.

Whether you have a developed work that has not yet seen the light of print or an idea that is only in the early stages, please call or write me. The deadline for new material for this year is March 1, 2017. If you have trouble with that deadline, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

All submissions will receive conscientious peer review and editing.  Please see the Submission Guidelines for more information.

Richard M Rubin
President, George Santayana Society


harvardTo Mary Williams Winslow
C/o Brown Shipley & Co.
123 Pall Mall, London. S.W.1.
Rome. February 1, 1922

In a previous letter you asked me what news of Boston or Harvard it would interest me to hear, and in my walks I have sometimes asked myself the question again, and haven’t found it easy to answer. It is not that my interest has waned—on the contrary, I feel I should like so much to see (through a peep-hole) all that may be going on and to understand it. But what is going on? My ideas are too vague for the inquiry to start at all. Of course, I can see the electric cars going over the Harvard Bridge and I can imagine others, much longer and swifter, going through the subway; and I can imagine you and Fred and (by a stretch) the children as they must look in your library in Clarendon street; but what is going on under all those appearances? They tell me everything is quite different morally: Boylston Beal, the Potters, your dear friend Apthorp Fuller (who is here with his mother) inform me that when at home they feel like fish out of water, and that America is fast going to the dogs—or, more accurately, that it is sinking into a bog of commonplaceness and youthful folly which makes them feel like frustrate ghosts. Now, I don’t believe a word of it; and if you will sometimes give me a hint of what has changed, and in what direction, I think I could supply the rest out of my old knowledge . . . You, who know my friends (as Mrs Toy doesn’t), could show me how the wind blows in this social quarter—more interesting romantically than the political world, and even more important, because at bottom it controls the turn of public affairs—I mean, that moral changes in society, if they don’t determine political events, certainly colour the result and give it all its importance . . . Are the poorer classes in America still hopeful and loyal to the established order, or are there any signs of revolution? I ask all these semi-political questions because I have a feeling that we are approaching a great revolution and impoverishment of the world, such as has actually occurred in Russia, and I look for signs, not so much of its coming soon, but of the angle at which it will attack our old society, and the elements of it that may survive. Of course, I think the revolutionists, if they succeed, will suffer a horrid disappointment, because most of them will have to die off: the two great conditions for improving the lot of mankind are a much smaller population and a much larger proportion of people devoted to agriculture.

From The Letters of George Santayana:  Book Three, 1921-1927.  Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2002.
Location of manuscript: The Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge MA.

redwood-forest-wallpaper-2560x1600-california-iltwmtTo Porter Garnett
San Francisco, California. August 15, 1911

I am struck in California by the deep and almost religious affection which people have for nature, and by the sensitiveness they show to its influences; not merely poetically, but also athletically, because they like to live as nature lives. It is a relief from business and the genteel tradition. It is their spontaneous substitute for articulate art and articulate religion, and is perhaps the substance out of which these may some day be formed afresh.

From The Letters of George Santayana:  Book Two, 1910-1920.  Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2001.
Location of manuscript: Unknown