The Tortured Life of Scofield Thayer by  James DempseyOnce upon a time, an author looking for information had to advertise in the paper. She or he would place a notice in the New York Review of Books or the Times Literary Supplement, saying that he or she was working on biography of so-and-so and would like to speak to anyone who knew him or her. I tried to get a notice like that printed when Sophie Mumford was 96 and we were starting to put her notes and memories together for a book. It was 1996 and I felt certain there would be people alive who had known Lewis Mumford, who had died in 1990. The NYRB did not respond to my letter and I didn