Antonin Scalia on Russell Kirk

The late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a letter to Annette Kirk on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of The Conservative Mind in 2003.

Also see the 2016 tribute to Antonin Scalia in the University Bookman.

In the summer of 2003, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was invited to celebrate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the publication of Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind at the White House. Although he was unable to attend, Justice Scalia sent Mrs. Kirk a letter expressing his appreciation for Kirk’s influence on his life and thought. The following is an excerpt from this letter:

Dear Mrs. Kirk:

In paying tribute to Dr. Kirk, I acknowledge my indebtedness to the man who first opened my mind to conservative thought. That occurred when I was in high school, working at a summer job that involved a lot of sitting-and-waiting, during which I read the very book whose publication date is marked today. For many years after that I was nourished by his other books, and by the scholarly journals The University Bookman and Modern Age that he edited. I once enjoyed the pleasure of visiting both of you—in connection, I believe, with a seminar sponsored by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute—at your famous Piety Hill home.

No one has had a greater role in the formation of American conservative thought. And no more courteous (indeed, courtly) a gentleman, nor one more devoted to the United States of America, could be imagined. I rejoice in the well deserved honor conferred on him today.

A spirit of innovation is generally the result of a selfish temper and confined views. People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.

Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

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Highlights

Lecture on Kirk’s Fiction

In April the Kirk Center hosted Jeffrey Dennis Pearce, a history teacher and the creator and editor of Ghostly Kirk, a web page dedicated to the ghostly fiction of Russell Kirk. Pearce gave a lecture on “Virtue in Two Ghostly Tales of Russell Kirk,” which was later made into an essay. We are pleased to post it for our readers.

May 2017

Fall Newsletter features new Society for Law and Culture

The Fall 2016 number of our newsletter, Permanent Things, is now available for download. It features news of the inaugural conference of a new Kirk Center initiative, the Society for Law and Culture; an emerging partnership with the new publishing house, Cluny Media; and news of other recent events and publications.

Dec 2016

Birzer wins 2016 Paolucci Award

We congratulate Bradley J. Birzer, the 2016 recipient of the Henry and Anne Paolucci Book Award for his biography, Russell Kirk: American Conservative. This annual award from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute honors the best book that advances conservative principles. ISI is hosting the Paolucci Award dinner during the Philadelphia Society national meeting, Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing. Dr. Birzer will be speaking at the event. See this link for details on the award and dinner.

Sep 2016