Donald Q. Innis Papers, 1944-1988


Donald Quayle Innis was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1924. Innis earned a BA in geography from the University of Toronto in 1947. After graduation, he taught at various universities, including the University of Chicago (1948-1950), the University of Western Ontario (1952-1953), and Queen's University at Kingston (1953-1963). It was during this time that Innis earned his PhD in geography from the University of California-Berkeley under Carl O. Sauer in 1959. He later taught at the State University of New York at Geneseo from 1963 until his death in 1988.

An early influence on Innis was his father, Harold Innis, a professor of political economy who taught him about the economic history of Canada and how civilizations grow based on media communications. Innis applied this knowledge, along with skills he gained during his time on the Innis family farm in rural Ontario, to his research studies, particularly focusing on agriculture and intercropping. He received grants that took him to places like Jamaica and India to work on his research. He wrote numerous articles on the subject, as well as books, such as Canada: A Geographic Study (1966) and Intercropping and the Scientific Basis of Traditional Agriculture (1997).