Ahead of the publication of The Collected Works of Warren S. McCulloch, Heinz von Foerster wrote:
. . . Nilo Lindgren was one of the first to collaborate with McCulloch's widow, Rook, in creating an annotated comprehensive collection of McCulloch's work. Rook was faced with the formidable task of selecting from McCulloch's opus of 216 scientific articles, philosophical essays, and poetry, those publications that could stand as exemplars for each of his many facets of interest, without overlap and repetition.
Rook had assistance from Taffy Holland (her daughter), Nilo Lindgren, Heinz von Foerster, Jerry Lettvin, and others, while several of Warren's friends and colleagues contributed articles. They began the work in the early 1970s, and 300 printed copies of the four-volume set were finally produced in 1989. The books fall apart very quickly when they are read, so it is unclear how many copies remain intact and available for use today.
Rook gave much of the material she had about Warren to the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, and they have an extensive collection. What remained in Rook and Warren's farmhouse in Connecticut was the material she used to assemble the Collected Works. As I was sorting through the house, a quick internet search told me that there was still interest in the volumes she had put together. After many attempts to find an avenue to reprint, I received an enthusiastic response from the American Society for Cybernetics. The ASC and Emergent Publications applied for permissions and scanned the volumes, and we have nearly finished proofing and final editing of the OCR version of the papers.
Fifty years have passed, and many have contributed their efforts since Rook conceived of a collection of Warren's papers. I am grateful to the ASC and Emergent Publications for cheerfully accomplishing what seemed daunting to me. At last, the volumes will be available online and accessible to all who may find value in them today.
Anna L. Holland