Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chapter 48 - The Institute Of General Semantics: Part 1 - Introduction

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

At the start of 1938, with Mira still in South America, Alfred was in Cambridge by himself packing their stuff when he got a newspaper death notice in Polish along with a formally addressed letter from Boleslaw Olszewski, his friend and lawyer in Warsaw, dated January 2. Alfred’s mother had died. (1)

Whatever sadness he felt, he experienced significant relief as well. His mother Helena’s prolonged illness, her helplessness and complaining, her disastrous business dealings, and the troublesome marriage to her manager Pawlowski had led to a great deal of grief for Alfred. He could leave that behind now. There were still the matters of recovering his and Mira’s mortgage money on the house at 66 Wilcza St. and his (and his sister’s) inheritance. Olszewski would work on it.

In the meantime, his mother’s death broke another thread in the cord of connection drawing him back to Poland. Even after the publication of Science and Sanity, he and Mira had still planned to eventually return there to live. Future visits might still be possible. But Mira and he were no longer young—he was heading towards his 59th birthday. With this new venture in Chicago, he was committing them to remain in the United States. A sign of this commitment—soon after the move to Chicago, he began the process of becoming a U.S. citizen (accomplished in 1940). (2)

Alfred informed Mira about his mother’s death and details of the move. He anticipated leaving Cambridge around February 1 (he managed to leave by the middle of the month.) In Buenos Aires, Mira had a law firm draw up a document giving Alfred power of attorney to represent her in any business done in Poland. The document gave her and Alfred’s address as Dearborn Lodge, 1347 North Dearborn, Chicago. The North Dearborn apartment, which Alfred had used during his previous stays in Chicago, would be their official residence until he got the Institute of General Semantics established and could find a residence for them. As to when Mira would return to their new city and home, the date became somewhat open-ended. She had recovered her equanimity, had gotten painting commissions, and seemed to be enjoying herself in South America. But she missed Alfred and was eager to return. Alfred didn’t want her to come back until he had gotten things more firmly established in Chicago.

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
1. Boleslaw Pobog-Olszewski to AK, 1/2/1938. AKDA 38.440. Translated by Teresa Grabiec Silverstein, October 16, 2008. 

2. IGS Memo dated 7/22/1938 - “As citizenship—what procedure?” IGS Archives.

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