The Unseen Power: Public Relations, a History

By Scott M. Cutlip | Go to book overview

Chapter 12
William H. Baldwin: Counselor and Citizen

William Henry Baldwin III, who opened his "shop" in New York City in 1926 as the tenth agency in the World War I PR boom, was a breed apart from his contemporaries and remained so until he closed his shop in 1960. He remained active for many more years as a part-time counselor and active citizen. "Bill" Baldwin, as he was affectionately known in the wide mover-and-shaker circles in which he moved, was the product of a rich family heritage that led him into a career as an influential citizen as well as a public relations counselor. That he was a liberal Democrat and a tireless worker for the public good somewhat set him apart from other counselors. He was a man of character and integrity who often put principle above profit and who, at times, neglected his business for public service.

This was the result of a proud heritage from his distinguished father and mother. "Evaluated in terms of my heritage from both parents, I am pretty much of a paper tiger," Baldwin once reminisced. Bill Baldwin was born on September 17, 1891, in Saginaw, Michigan, the son of William H. Baldwin, Jr., a rising railroad executive, and Ruth Standish Bowles Baldwin, the daughter of Samuel Bowles, editor of the Springfield Republican. Because Bill Baldwin's life and work clearly reflected the interests of his father in African-American education and of his mother in the Urban League, it is important to know these parents.

William Henry Baldwin, Jr. was born in Boston in 1863, and upon graduation from Harvard went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad. He was hired by President Charles Francis Adams upon the recommendation of President Charles W. Eliot of Harvard. At the time of young Bill's birth, the father was general manager of the Flint and Marquette Railroad. From

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