The Unseen Power: Public Relations, a History

By Scott M. Cutlip | Go to book overview

Chapter 9
John Price Jones Tries to Ride Two Horses

Like many other public relations counsellors who emerged in the burgeoning of public relations agencies in the wake of World War I, John Price Jones had been schooled in newspaper reporting, advertising, and had gained his public relations spurs in the promotion of Liberty Bond sales to finance the U.S. war effort. He was quick to see after two successful college fund-raising campaigns "that there may be a business in this." Jones launched his firm, John Price Jones, Inc., on November 23, 1919, "to give counsel and service in organization and publicity to business houses, institutions of public, semi-public, and private character, and to individuals." Jones set out to build "a business" in both fund-raising and public relations but was never able to harness the two functions effectively. Jones made his mark as a great fund-raiser, but the public relations side of the business never became a major competitor to other agencies. In the view of an early associate, Robert J. Duncan, "We got so labelled in the philanthropy field that our PR business didn't develop." He also saw that the two functions didn't dovetail as neatly as Jones thought.

The same thing held true for brothers Carlton and George Ketchum, who had been schooled in the art of fund-raising by Charles Sumner Ward, another pioneer and highly successful fund-raiser. Carlton and George Ketchum opened a publicity agency in Pittsburgh in 1919, then split in 1923, Carlton building a fund-raising firm that still prospers and George an advertising and publicity agency that ranks as a major agency today. The Ketchum history was told in the Introduction to Part II.

John Price Jones was born on August 12, 1877, at Latrobe, PA, in the heart of the anthracite coal region, the son of a mine foreman. Jones was

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