Newsletter of the Mercurians

george shiers and the memorial fund

If you are a regular reader of Antenna, you may have noticed something different about our masthead, namely the phrase, “Publication costs met in part by support of the Shiers Memorial Fund.”

George Shiers was well known as a television historian, but he also contributed several edited compilations to a series of reprint volumes published by Arno Press (owned by The New York Times; the titles were distributed later by the Ayer Company) during the 1970s on communication technologies from the telegraph and telephone to radio and television. He started his publishing career, however, with a pair of best-selling books on electronic drafting and the design and construction of electronic equipment.

Shiers, with the help of his wife May, also compiled a bibliography of the history of electronics, and had completed most of a valuable comprehensive bibliographic guide to the first decades of TV history. After Shiers’ death, that was seen through to publication by Mercurian Christopher H. Sterling, who more recently completed an updated version of the first bibliography, which now focused on  telecommunication technology. The editorial link between the two men was rather appropriate.

George Shiers also endowed a memorial fund at George Washington University, where Christopher Sterling is director of the Graduate Telecommunication Program and  a professor of Media and Public Affairs. Sterling’s research interests concern the history of, and policy surrounding, electronic media and telecommunications. He has authored or edited over 15 books.

Thanks to the generosity of Christopher Sterling and (posthumously) George Shiers, Antenna will be receiving a generous subvention from the George Shiers Memorial Fund that should guarantee the future of our newsletter. Thank you, Christopher Sterling and George Shiers!

“The day of the printed word is far from ended. Swift as is the delivery of the radio bulletin, graphic as is television’s eyewitness picture, the task of adding meaning and clarity remains urgent. People cannot and need not absorb meanings at the speed of light.”

- Erwin Canham, Editor, Christian Science Monitor, 1958