On August 3, 1943, Sigfried Giedion wrote his friend John Nef at the University of Chicago (where Nef was one of the founders of the Committee on Social Thought and a close aide to UC President Robert Hutchins) about his meeting with a “promising young scholar” in St Louis that spring: Mr H.M. McLuhan. Giedion wrote Nef (in his somewhat stilted English):
One evening at St Louis I met a young scholar of English literature, Mr H M McLuhan. I had an excellent impression of this young man who seems to live rather isolated at St Louis University. I heard that he made the PhD at Cambridge (England) and that he became there a catholic (as for instance also T.S. Eliot). I did not read any of his articles, but I shall ask him to send me some fragments of his book on English literature, and when they are all right, I shall try and do my best that they will be published by a good publisher. Perhaps Chicago University may invite him once [presumably ‘einmal’ = ‘sometime’] for a lecture. (…) I guess, Mr McLuhan would fit into the Chicago environment and I did not find many youngsters of his kind of approach.