United States–Development and Expansion of Public Relations

Margot Opdycke Lamme, Karen Miller Russell, Denise Hill and Shelley Spector (2017). “United States–Development and Expansion of Public Relations,” in North American Perspectives on the Development of Public Relations, ed. Tom Watson, Palgrave Macmillan UK, London, pp. 21-35.

Abstract: Twentieth-century US public relations historiography has focused primarily on corporate public relations and agencies, incorporating a “great man” perspective and largely excluding women and minorities. This scholarship allows us to begin to build a narrative, presented here, but the authors also call for an expansion of what is considered public relations and of who practiced it. Public relations was often used by people in areas such as politics, churches, higher education institutions, and social service agencies who were not trying to invent public relations; rather they were solving problems by using communication to inform and persuade their audiences. The activism of suffragist and women’s rights advocate Alice Paul, and Henry Lee Moon, NAACP public relations director, illustrates that American public relations history is broad, diverse, and expansive.

Karen Miller Russell