Here is what Marshall McLuhan was doing c. Jan. 4, 1965


This is from the personal blog of London Free Press journalist James Reaney, son of the late Dr. James Reaney, University of Western Ontario English professor, award-winning poet and dramatist. He was also one of my professors at the University of Western Ontario. Presumably Marshall McLuhan knew James Reaney from his days studying for his PhD in English literature at the University of Toronto.

McLuhanPensiveFeb61977 (2)

A pensive Marshall McLuhan from The Free Press files, dated Feb. 6, 1977*

  – November 29th, 2012

Among the recent discoveries in the papers of James Crerar “Jamie” Reaney is the fragment of an aerogram letter from Marshall McLuhan. The letter is undated, but postmarked Jan.  4, 1965 at Toronto. Queries or insertions by JBNBlog are in italics.

Dear Jamie:

A blessed New Year to all you!

Just opened new ETC and was pleased by your review of Galaxy. Am just about to go to London (presumably London, England, JBNBlog note) (Jan. 17 or Jan. 7) to do some Monitor shows on understanding media. How about technologies as the collective unconscious, and art as the collective unconsciousness?

Art as anti-environments that enable us to know the . . . (paper tear ends letter)

Back to JBNBlog: So that’s a little frustrating, eh? Still, it’s pretty cool that the letter ends with McLuhan (of 29 Wells Hill Ave. Toronto 4) underlining know.

* Efforts to connect this photograph with a Free Press story about McLuhan in London at the time (February, 1977) or discover other background have been unsuccessful so far. Any clues gratefully received.


James Reaney, Canadian poet and playwright, was born on a farm near Stratford, Ontario, on September 1, 1926. He grew up to become one of Canada’s best-known poets and dramatists, enjoying literary success over a period of seven decades. His contributions to the imaginative life of the nation spanned literary genres, ranging from short stories, poetry, libretti, and historical drama, to plays and novels for children, along with insightful critical essays on literary practice. Read more about James Reaney.

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