Lindy graciously declines the Baruch award—"I now want to lead a life that is unrelated to honors and awards"
TLS, two pages, 8.5 x 11, July 12, 1969. Letter to Nelson Buhler concerning the Baruch award, in full: “On returning from several weeks abroad, I find your June 20th letter in the stacks of accumulated mail in my home in Connecticut, which has been closed since mid-June. I am sorry about the lateness of my reply. Obviously, an embarrassing situation is arising. As I wrote in a previous letter, I now want to lead a life that is unrelated to honors and awards. I find myself involved in an award for which I am deeply appreciative, yet for which I have no desire. I feel strongly that I should have been consulted before this involvement took place. Let me repeat here that I have the greatest respect for the name Baruch, and consider the award a high honor—especially so in view of the distinguished members of the award committee. I was deeply touched that I was selected for the Baruch award in 1968. But I am most anxious to continue living and working quietly. I had done so for many years, and planned on continuing for the rest of my life, when my alarm at our civilization’s destructiveness took me into fields of conservation. I have tried to be effective in these fields, and am delighted that your Baruch award committee feels that I have been effective. My conservation activities have already brought to me a, to me, disturbing amount of publicity. I do not work well under the distractions and among the superficial values resulting from publicity. I prefer to observe rather than to be observed. Also, I have many obligations and interests aside from fields of conservation. In order to be effective in conservation activities, it is essential that I concentrate hours and days available on the most important projects—at best, I can touch only a small percentage of them. Scheduling a ceremony reduces, often seriously, I have found in the past, the time I can spend in the field, where my primary interest lies and where I think I can be most effective. The correspondence alone takes hours and becomes a major distraction when one is not organized to handle correspondence. I do not have a secretary to help with my correspondence, and do not want one. Ceremonies are also conducive to a chain reaction—more publicity, more invitations, more correspondence, more ceremonies. One’s life becomes submerged in them. I learned that when I was concentrating my attention on fields of aviation, years ago. I am again in a position where further pressure is simply going to reduce flow. It is bound to result, as it did before, in withdrawal toward the core of my major interests where I can work quietly and effectively although without as quick results. My gratitude goes to you with this letter, but I must say once more that I am most anxious to avoid ceremonies of any kind, even though a White House presentation might be possible.” In very good to fine condition, with intersecting folds, overall light wrinkling, and staple holes to the upper left corner. Accompanied by the original mailing envelope.