Innis to McLuhan February 26, 1951

This letter from Harold Innis to McLuhan is included in an online exhibit (since removed) of McLuhan and Innis materials mounted by Library and Archives Canada:

Feb 26 1951

Dear McLuhan,

Needless to say I was very much interested in your letter and, if you have no objections, I would like in have copies typed for circulation to one or two of our mutual friends.

I would like to see your views elaborated since they seem very important [and] could be used as a basis for general discussion. I was interested in your remarks on Deutsch1 and his views as expressed in your pamphlet.  I would be very pleased if you would put me on your list of people receiving copies of the mimeographed sheet.

I am sorry not to have answered your letter at an earlier date, but I have only recently escaped from the demands of the Royal Commission.

With many thanks,

Yours ever, HAI

  1. The reference is to Karl Deutsch (1912–1992), ‘Higher Education and the Unity of Knowledge‘, presented as a lecture in 1948 at the ninth Symposium of the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion and printed in 1950 in Goals for American Education, A Symposium, ed, L Bryson, L Finkelstein, R.M. MacIver, pp 55-139. McLuhan was apparently sent the off-print by his friend, Sigfried Giedion. (McLuhan and Giedion met in the spring of 1943 in St Louis when Giedion lectured there.) Giedion was a visiting scholar at MIT in 1950, where he was a colleague of Deutsch and Norbert Wiener. (In a October 26, 1951 letter to Giedion, McLuhan records: “Friends of mine gave me great pleasure in reporting some of your lectures at MIT last year.”) Through Giedion, McLuhan and Wiener would come to correspond in 1951 and Deutsch would write a review of Innis’s Bias of Communication in the Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science in 1952. A copy of the off-print discussed by McLuhan and Innis is to be found in Giedion’s papers in Zurich.