Robert Morss Lovett (December 25, 1870 – February 8, 1956) was an American academic, writer, editor, political activist, and government official.

He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard University in 1892. After a period teaching at Harvard, he came to Chicago in 1893 to teach writing and English literature at the University of Chicago. He was assistant professor of English (1894–1904); associate professor from 1904 to 1909; and full professor from 1909 onward. From 1903 to 1920 he was dean in the junior college. He was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Professor Lovett was the author of The History of English Literature, with W. V. Moody (1902); Richard Gresham, a novel (1904); The First View of English Literature, with W. V. Moody (1905); A Winged Victory, a novel (1907); and Cowards, a play (1914). He served as editor of the Dial in 1917 and joined the editorial staff of The New Republic in 1921. He assisted Tarak Nath Das.

He was associate editor of The New Republic magazine in 1921-40, and a signer of the Humanist Manifesto I in 1933.[1]

As Government Secretary of the Virgin Islands in 1939-43, he served as acting Governor from December 14, 1940 until February 3, 1941.

In 1943, the Dies Committee charged him as a communist subversive, over his association with left-wing individuals and groups; through an enactment passed by both houses of Congress, he was forced out of the Secretary position and barred from federal employment. Lovett, who denied he was a Communist, challenged this action through the courts as an unconstitutional bill of attainder, and though he did not get the job back, he won a 1946 decision from the Supreme Court (United States v. Lovett), and received back pay.

He died in St. Joseph's Hospital in Chicago in 1956.


  1. ^ "Humanist Manifesto I". American Humanist Association. Retrieved September 15, 2012. 
  • "Liberal to a Fault," Time, June 21, 1948
  • "Robert M. Lovett, Educator, Is Dead", New York Times, February 9, 1956

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Preceded by
Lawrence William Cramer
Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands
(Acting Governor)
Succeeded by
Charles Harwood