Sies, Luther F(rank) 1927–

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SIES, Luther F(rank) 1927–

PERSONAL: Born July 29, 1927, in Westminster, MD; son of Frank Noah (a plumber) and Hilda (Friese) Sies; married Leora Motta (an artist and writer), April 21, 1967 (deceased, October 19, 2001). Education: Western Maryland College, A.B., 1948, Ed.M., 1954; Towson State College, B.S., 1950; George Washington University, Ed.D., 1962. Religion: Methodist.

ADDRESSES: Home—18626 Spanish Garden Dr., Apt. 148, Sun City West, AZ 85375-4730. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Speech and hearing consultant at public schools in Loudoun, VA, 1955–57; Walter Reed Army Hospital, Washington, DC, supervisor of speech pathology section, 1957–61; University of Iowa, Iowa City, coordinator of services at clinic for speech pathology and audiology, 1961–63; Towson State College, Baltimore, MD, associate professor of speech and chairman of department, 1964–66; Nassau Community College, Hempstead, NY, associate professor of speech, 1966–67; Hunter College of the City University of New York, professor of speech and theatre, 1967–68; Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York, Bronx, professor of speech and hearing sciences and director of Speech and Hearing Clinic, 1968–73 and 1977–91. Speech consultant to Nassau County Police Academy, Maryland State Penitentiary, Fashion Institute of Technology, and Cancer Clinic at George Washington University; semantics consultant to U.S. government. Military service: U.S. Army, 1950–52.

MEMBER: International Society of General Semantics, American Hearing and Speech Association, American Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Speech Association of America, General Semantics Institute, Sigma Alpha Eta, Phi Delta Kappa.


Fundamentals of Speech, W. C. Brown Co., 1966.

(Editor) Aphasia Theory and Therapy: Selected Lectures and Papers of Hildred Schuell, University Park Press (Baltimore, MD), 1974, revised edition, University Press of America (Washington, DC), 1983.

(With Susan B. Goldstein) The Communication Contract, C. C. Thomas (Springfield, IL), 1975.

Voice and Voice Disorders: A Handbook for Clinicians, C. C. Thomas (Springfield, IL), 1987.

The Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920–1960, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 2000.

(With wife, Leora M. Sies) The Encyclopedia of Women in Radio, 1920–1960, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 2003.

Contributor to speech and hearing journals, including Journal of Neurolinguics, Aphasiology, and Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders.

Author's works are housed at the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

SIDELIGHTS: Luther F. Sies worked for many years as an educator and consultant in the area of speech and communication therapy. As he once explained to CA, his book The Communication Contract focuses on "human communication and its disorders, the theme that has been revised and expanded in my subsequent work." The book, published in 1975, analyzes the variety of communication problems existing in U.S. society, problems that, as the author noted, "range from those found in the family home to those of the bureaucratically encrusted halls of academe." Sies then goes on to submit what he referred to as "a few modest proposals for change and improvement."

According to Sies, "many of the problems humans face in their individual and institutional relationships arise from their failure to take upon themselves the responsibilities to think and behave like human beings. To paraphrase a conclusion … by a perceptive cartoonist and a gifted dramatist: Our troubles are mainly produced by our own sins of omission and commission. Or, put in another way, the failure of humans to achieve their virtually unlimited potential—individually and collectively—is generally the product of human frailties. Was it Freud who observed that neurotic behavior is the price of being human? While individuals may be an irritating nuisance, collectively they may become a sadistic mob.

"I hope some persons—even if only a few—will profit from my work in some small way. If they can gain some understanding of human communication problems, decide to change their own behavior, and act upon their decision, that will be my greatest reward.

Following his retirement, Sies turned to his lifelong interest in radio. As he more recently told CA, "Perhaps both my passionate interest in radio and my motivation to write about it can be traced to an incident that occurred when I was five years old. I can remember clearly sitting on the front porch of our home in Cranberry, Maryland, with my mother on a warm summer morning. When the singing voice of Bing Crosby came from our Philco radio, an instrument that seemed to me to be nothing short of magic, my mother asked, 'Do you like that?' My strongly affirmative answer undoubtedly was the beginning of my continuing enjoyment of Bing Crosby and that seemingly magic medium that brought him into our home that morning long ago. I have never lost interest in either, and I feel fortunate to be able to write about them."

Praising Sies for his work in producing The Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920–1960, David S. Siegel noted in the Old Time Radio Digest that the author "has devoted literally dozens of years of his life to the most meticulous research on the subject of American Radio that has yet seen the light of print." The book, which numbers 904 pages, includes over 28,000 citations which, though brief, provide detailed information regarding performers, programs, broadcasters, and other aspects of radio history. While David M. Lisa noted in Library Journal that the volume provides only basic information, he commended the inclusion of longer entries focusing on such areas as sports broadcasting, soap operas, and African-American radio, and concluded that The Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920–1960 is "one of the most comprehensive [books] relating to radio programming of the period.

Sies' work was accompanied by a related work, coauthored with his wife, Leora M. Sies, titled The Encyclopedia of Women in Radio, 1920–1960. Referencing actresses such as Hattie McDaniel, Lucille Ball, and Candice Bergen, who got their start in the medium, the book highlights what Booklist contributor Mary Ellen Quinn described as the "important if underappreciated role" played by women in radio's long history.



Booklist, July, 2000, Mary Ellen Quinn, review of The Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920–1960, p. 2058; January 1, 2004, Mary Ellen Quinn, review of The Encyclopedia of Women in Radio, 1920–1960, p. 918.

Feminist Collections, spring-summer, 2003, Teresa Fernandez, review of The Encyclopedia of Women in Radio, 1920–1960, p. 25.

Library Journal, June 1, 2000, David M. Lisa, review of The Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920–1960, p. 118.

Old Time Radio Digest, spring, 2000, David S. Siegel, "The New Standard in Radio Scholarship," p. 24.