World Stamps

Born July 21: Marshall McLuhan

Jul 20, 2016, 11 PM
The 46¢ Marshall McLuhan stamp from Canada's Millennium series was issued Feb. 17, 2000.

By Michael Baadke

Canadian educator Marshall McLuhan was an expert in understanding the significance of media and communications, and is respected as an insightful theorist who predicted the decline of printed books and the continuing global expansion of communication that characterizes our world today.

Herbert Marshall McLuhan was born July 21, 1911, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and studied at the University of Manitoba and the University of Cambridge, earning degrees from both institutions.

He taught English at St. Louis University and other schools before settling at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto in 1946. His attention turned to mass communications, leading to his first published book, The Mechanical Bride, in 1951. McLuhan’s groundbreaking insights brought him growing fame as a philosopher and sought-after public speaker. He introduced the concept of the global village in his 1963 book The Gutenberg Galaxy, and announced in Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964) that “the medium is the message.”

McLuhan contemplated the relationships between humans and new technologies, and became a well-known figure both in intellectual circles and in popular culture.

On Feb. 17, 2000, nearly 20 years after McLuhan’s death, Canada Post issued a 46¢ stamp honoring him, in a set titled Great Thinkers, part of the 1999-2000 Millennium series (Scott 1829a).