Erik Barnouw

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Erik Barnouw (1908-2001) was a legendary, foundational presence in the media arts field. He was the preeminent media historian of the twentieth century. His scores of books include The International Encyclopedia of Communication (1989), Conglomerates and the Media (1997), Tube of Plenty: The Evolution of American Television (1982), The Magician and the Cinema (1981), Documentary (1974), The Sponsor: Notes on a Modern Potentate (1979) and History of Broadcasting (1966). His memoir, a compelling and eye-opening journey through his amazingly rich and full life entitled Media Marathon, was published in 1996 by Duke University Press. Erik Barnouw was professor emeritus of dramatic arts at Columbia University. Fordham University Press published Media Lost and Found, a collection of Erik's essays. Erik's life and writing spanned nearly the entire twentieth century. Erik was a coeditor of the Temple University Press book series, Wide Angle Books, with Ruth Bradley, Scott MacDonald and myself. The series is dedicated to retrieving the unseen and unknown histories of the non-profit media arts sector. Erik is considered by many to be one of the founding figures in the field of university-level communications programs and a person who carved out the field of media history. His books are classics; they constitute the bricks and mortars of the field. Obituary by Patricia Zimmerman in Afterimage (September 2001)