The Unseen Power: Public Relations, a History

Synopsis

Based largely on primary sources, this book presents the first detailed history of public relations from 1900 through the 1960s. The author utilized the personal papers of John Price Jones, Ivy L. Lee, Harry Bruno, William Baldwin III, John W. Hill, Earl Newsom as well as extensive interviews -- conducted by the author himself -- with Pendleton Dudley, T. J. Ross, Edward L. Bernays, Harry Bruno, William Baldwin, and more. Consequently, the book provides practitioners, scholars, and students with a realistic inside view of the way public relations has developed and been practiced in the United States since its beginnings in mid-1900. For example, the book tells how:
• President Roosevelt's reforms of the Square Deal brought the first publicity agencies to the nation's capital.
• Edward L. Bernays, Ivy Lee, and Albert Lasker made it socially acceptable for women to smoke in the 1920s.
• William Baldwin III saved the now traditional Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in its infancy.
• Ben Sonnenberg took Pepperidge Farm bread from a small town Connecticut bakery to the nation's supermarket shelves -- and made millions doing it.
• Two Atlanta publicists, Edward Clark and Bessie Tyler, took a defunct Atlanta bottle club, the Ku Klux Klan, in 1920 and boomed it into a hate organization of three million members in three years, and made themselves rich in the process.
• Earl Newsom failed to turn mighty General Motors around when it was besieged by Ralph Nader and Congressional advocates of auto safety. This book documents the tremendous role public relations practitioners play in our nation's economic, social, and political affairs -- a role that goes generally unseen and unobserved by the average citizen whose life is affected in so many ways by the some 150,000 public relations practitioners.

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Hillsdale, NJ
Publication year:
  • 1994