Dr. Irving Lee
Dr. Irving Lee taught Dr. Berman General Semantics at Northwestern University where Dr. Lee was a Professor of Public Speaking in the School of Speech. Dr. Lee first became acquainted with General Semantics at a workshop he attended in 1939 at the Institute for General Semantics. Attendees at the small but intensive 35 hour workshop that spanned two weeks included such important figures in General Semantics as S. I. Hayakawa, Wendell Johnson, and Charlotte Schuchardt (Read) along with other major academics such as anthropologist Margaret Mead, philosopher and mathematician Willard V. O. Quine, and author William S. Burroughs (see image below). In 1940 Dr. Lee designed and began teaching a course in General Semantics called "Language and Thought," which would soon become a favorite of students at Northwestern. Also in 1940, he wrote Language Habits in Human Affairs: An Introduction to General Semantics. In conjunction with his work on General Semantics, Dr. Lee taught on a number of different topics, many having to do with public speaking, During World War II, he lent his services to the Air Force where he taught instructors how to teach Air Force pilots how to recognize enemy planes. In addition, he published How to Talk With People (1952) and Customs and Crises in Communication (1954).
Dr. Lee died of a sudden illness in 1955 at the age of 45. He was survived by his wife, Laura Lee (d. 1987), who became a Professor of Speech and Language Pathology at Northwestern, and by his son David Alfred Lee who had just turned 6 when Dr. Lee died.
As Dr. Melville Herskovits, an Anthropology professor at Northwestern wrote in Dr. Lee's obituary, "The efforts of Irving Lee were continuously directed toward alleviating conflict, misunderstanding, prejudice ; toward encouraging clarity of thought and communication." (Dr. Lee's obituary in ETC.).
A sampling of Dr. Lee's writings, many of which directly address the teaching and study of General Semantics, can be found below.
A Sampling Of Dr. Lee's Writtings On General Semantics
- A Way with Prejudice
- How to Talk with People, Part I
- How to Talk with People, Part II
- Air Force Lectures
- Language and Communication in Building Citizenship
- Case Method and General Semantics
- Procedure for Coercing Agreement
- How do you Talk About People
- Obituaries in General Semantics Bulletin
- Obituaries in ETC
A Sampling Of Some Of Dr. Lee's Videos On General Semantics
Talking Sense, Part I:
Talking Sense, Part 2:
Talking Sense, Part 3:
Talking Sense, Part 4:
Talking Sense, Part 5:
Talking Sense, Part 6: