The Unseen Power: Public Relations, a History

By Scott M. Cutlip | Go to book overview

Chapter 20
Earl Newsom: Counselor to Corporate Giants

Edwin Earl Newsom was born in Wellman, Iowa, on December 13, 1897, the fourth of six children of Reverend John Edward and Emma Day Newsom. He grew up in the rolling, fertile countryside of early 20th century Iowa, where his father, a Methodist preacher, served the congregations of several southeastern Iowa towns. The Newsom family was a family of teachers, ministers, and musicians -- a family that stimulated a lifelong intellectual curiosity and principled values in the future counselor. Newsom, like five of his pioneer peers who helped create and build the profession of public relations, was a product of the Midwest and agricultural America that would be overtaken by industrial America at the turn of the century. Like George Parker, Pendleton Dudley, Carl Byoir, Steve Hannagan, and John Wiley Hill, Newsom, in time, became an influential adviser to corporate giants as they coped with the complex problems of the Depression, World War II, and the turbulent postwar industrial era.

Earl Newsom, the name he used in his career, died April 11, 1973, in the Sharon, Connecticut, hospital at the age of 75, recognized by The New York Times as "one of the most influential public relations counselors in private industry." Indeed he was that. In time through his major corporate clients and their legal advisers, Newsom became an influential person in what came to be known, not always popularly, as the "Eastern Establishment." Newsom had lived a productive and vigorous life, although he had been plagued by a number of chronic health problems, though none serious. In the 1930s, he lost an eye to glaucoma and from time to time suffered attacks of colitis. These problems did not slow him down professionally or keep him from his favorite pastime -- after reading, perhaps -- golf. Newsom

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