The Museum of Public Relations

The Museum of Public Relations The Museum of Public Relations at Baruch College is a 501(c)(3) educational institution dedicated to preserving the history of our field. prmuseum.org/013019-celebrating-black-pr-history-iv-diverse-voices/
The Museum and Library are chartered by the NYS Education Department. Together, they represent the world's largest collection of historical resources and writings documenting the evolution of the pubic relations field.
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The Museum is a 501 (c) (3) organization founded by Shelley and Barry Spector in 1997. Its collections are now exhibited at Baruch College's Newman Library.

Mission: To provide the international PR community with an appreciation for the history of the field; to serve as an educational resource to the world's growing community of PR students; to demonstrate not only the history of the field, but how the PR field has shaped history.

Georgetown University: Public Relations & Corporate Communications Master's
02/21/2020

Georgetown University: Public Relations & Corporate Communications Master's

We are so proud to announce that our Georgetown University: Public Relations & Corporate Communications Master's program will be the lead academic sponsor of the The Museum of Public Relations esteemed "PR Women Who Changed History" event on March 12 in NYC. If you're outside of NYC, a livestream of the event will be available on The Museum of PR's page here: https://tinyurl.com/tzkam29

The event will examine how media has influenced society's perceptions of women and the PR pioneers history has nearly forgotten.

If you're a student, faculty or alumni in the NYC area please attend! We look forward to connecting with you! Register here: https://tinyurl.com/rb3lwvh

PR Council
02/20/2020
PR Council

PR Council

In our next #BHM Member Agency spotlight, we are recognizing Spector Public Relations and their work through The Museum of Public Relations for celebrating moments in Black PR History with events and digital programming. This included their Fifth Annual Celebration of Black PR History and “From Civil War to Civil Rights: A Century of Social Advocacy through Public Relations.” #BlackHistoryMonth2020 #publicrelations #diversity #inclusions #bhm2020

1962--"Sex and the Single Girl" was a cultural phenomenon, the first book to teach young working women that they were en...
02/17/2020

1962--"Sex and the Single Girl" was a cultural phenomenon, the first book to teach young working women that they were entitled to have it all-- "love, sex and money." It was perfectly ok --even alluring-- for her to take the lead in romantic pursuits, even in the office: “A girl in love with her boss will knock herself out seven days a week and wish there were more days. Tough on her but fabulous for business!”

The book, and two years later, the movie, were said to help spark the Sixties' sexual revolution, a massive, shocking reversal from the prudish Fifties.

Author Helen Gurley Brown started as a secretary at the FCB ad agency, and thanks to her writing ability, was later promoted to copywriter. In 1965, she moved over to edit Cosmopolitan, turning it from a literary magazine with lagging subscriptions to one of the hottest magazines in the world. Gurley's invention of The Cosmo Girl icon helped reverse society's dismal view of the unmarried working woman. Now, as portrayed on every Cosmo cover page, was the "single, sexy, successful career woman" every reader should strive to be, and one which would be depicted decades later by "Sex and the City."

This Presidents Day, we look back at Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose presidential campaign in 1952 was the first to produce ...
02/17/2020

This Presidents Day, we look back at Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose presidential campaign in 1952 was the first to produce commercials for television, and whose eventual presidency was the first to use the new medium for press conferences and Oval Office addresses. Eisenhower was the first to unleash the full potential of television to connect with the masses — in much the same way as FDR used radio to reach every corner of the US.

Gov. Thomas Dewey was actually the first to use TV as a campaign tool, in his run against Truman in 1948. But then, only 37 thousand Americans owned a TV set. By the 1952 election, however, more than 40 million Americans now owned TV sets.

Eisenhower's campaign commercials look positively primitive compared to the highly produced ads of today. There were the now-famous "I Like Ike" cartoons produced by Roy Disney: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=va5Btg4kkUE. And then, two months before Election Day, the campaign went for a more serious approach: "Eisenhower Addresses America." Eisenhower was filmed "responding" to a series of "man on the street" questions. Producers had recruited ordinary men and women waiting on lines outside Radio City Music Hall, and given questions to "ask" of the candidate. While it was staged to look as if the Eisenhower was right there responding to the questions, he was actually inside a studio, with make-up, glasses off, and reading from cue cards.

“My [wife] Mamie gets after me about the high cost of living. It’s another reason why I say, ‘It’s time for a change!’"

02/17/2020
Folgers Coffee Sexist 60's Ads

1960s-- "How can such a pretty wife make such bad coffee?" "Is my coffee as bad as yesterday?" "Sorry, honey, your coffee tastes terrible!"

How did commercials like these affect the way society has been treating women? And how did they affect women's opinions of themselves? Find out at our 4th annual tribute to PR Women Who Changed History, and also learn about the PR women decades back who paved the way for the rest of us. Starring: Judith Harrison, Karen Miller Russell , Caryn Euting Medved, Dick Martin. Tix and sponsor info: https://www.prmuseum.org/031220

A compilation of clips from ridiculously sexist Folgers Coffee commercials from the 1960's.

Here's a Valentine's Day story you didn't know: Frederick Douglass, born a slave with no records to document his birth, ...
02/14/2020

Here's a Valentine's Day story you didn't know: Frederick Douglass, born a slave with no records to document his birth, never knew the date of his real birthday. So, as an adult, when he needed to cite his birthday for legal records, he thought back to his days as a little child. His mother, he remembered, used to call him "my Valentine." So Douglass, as a way to honor his mother, chose the date of Feb. 14 as his date of birth.

It's fascinating to discover the derivations of the phrases we use everyday. A great example is "upper case" and "lower ...
02/13/2020

It's fascinating to discover the derivations of the phrases we use everyday. A great example is "upper case" and "lower case." These terms come from the pre-computer printing press days, when typesetters would store their capital letters in the upper case and small letters in the lower one.

02/09/2020
New York in the 1920s (1961 documentary)

New York in the 1920s (1961 documentary)

This is a complete episode of the program, "The Twentieth Century," and is entitled "New York in the Twenties," hosted and narrated by Walter Cronkite. It's ...

2004--How did cats get so popular on the Internet?  Well, in the earliest days of the WWW, a graphic designer decided to...
02/09/2020

2004--How did cats get so popular on the Internet? Well, in the earliest days of the WWW, a graphic designer decided to post a photo of his cat Frankie, looking at his own photo on the computer screen. That was followed by a photo of Poozy, watching Frankie watching himself. One of the first sites to go viral, the "Infinite Cat Project" exploded. Fast forward 16 years and there are today Insta-cats and You Tube cat stars with hundreds of thousands of followers, with their owners making a living from their photogenic felines, with "L'il Bub" (2011-19) being the most famous.

TODAY IN HISTORY: February 8, 1915 — America’s most controversial film is released The work on which the D.W. Griffith’s...
02/08/2020

TODAY IN HISTORY: February 8, 1915 — America’s most controversial film is released

The work on which the D.W. Griffith’s controversial film ​The Birth of a Nation w​as based (Thomas Dixon’s,​ “The Clansman”) had first been a successful romance novel, stage play, pageant, parade and then, uniquely transformed into a massive 15-reel, 3 hour-long film backed by a presidential testimonial from Woodrow Wilson who screened the film in the White House, along with an enormous publicity and marketing campaign that included countless billboards, fliers, leaflets and advertisements across the nation. The fiery story sparked a revolutionary moment for mass media and the nascent civil rights movement.

Seen by more Americans than any motion picture previously released, this film sanctioned the violent practices of the fast emerging Ku Klux Klan. ​Studied today as a masterpiece of political propaganda, many of the film’s scenes perpetuated hideous racial stereotypes and depicted blacks as animal-like, hypersexual, corrupt and shiftless. White America hailed the film as an artistic triumph, but the black community was outraged by the film’s distortions - so much so, that the ire catapulted a mobilization of African-Americans against the inflammatory, humiliating images which fueled social activism and efforts by black women’s club movements and the NAACP against the film.

This historically inaccurate retelling of the Civil War and Reconstruction ​had society clashing over the cultural and political soul of an America still in its infancy, standing at the cusp of its greatest days.

Had a wonderful visit yesterday with Lauren Tobin, the remarkable daughter of PR pioneer Pat Tobin. Lauren follows in he...
02/08/2020

Had a wonderful visit yesterday with Lauren Tobin, the remarkable daughter of PR pioneer Pat Tobin. Lauren follows in her mother’s footsteps with an agency of her own in Florida.

How have ads like these impacted society's attitudes toward women? Let's talk about it at our next PR Women Who Made His...
02/07/2020

How have ads like these impacted society's attitudes toward women? Let's talk about it at our next PR Women Who Made History event, starring Judith Harrison, Dick Martin, Karen Miller Russell and Caryn Euting Medved. Sign up at prmuseum.org

Pat Tobin (1948-2008) started one of the first African American woman-owned PR agencies in L.A., which she ran and grew ...
02/07/2020

Pat Tobin (1948-2008) started one of the first African American woman-owned PR agencies in L.A., which she ran and grew for 25 years. She also was a co-founder of the Black PR Society #BPRS which has since expanded into cities throughout the nation. After her untimely passing, her long-time friend, Rep. Maxine Waters, had this to say about Pat: “She will be remembered for opening the doors to new possibilities. She’s a pioneer who opened up opportunities for African Americans to take on major corporate accounts in ways that had not been done before.” Learn more about Pat: https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2008-jun-11-me-tobin11-story.html

Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) was a journalist who led an anti-lynching crusade in a variety of black-owned southern newspape...
02/05/2020

Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) was a journalist who led an anti-lynching crusade in a variety of black-owned southern newspapers. She bought two newspapers, The Memphis Free Speech and Headlight and Free Speech, in order to have total freedom in her writings. She was a vocal critic of the condition of segregated schools in the city, and was fired from her job in 1891 because of her criticism. In 1896, Wells formed several civil rights groups, including the National Association of Colored Women. She is also considered a founder of the NAACP. Read more in the Forgotten obits of the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/obituaries/overlooked-ida-b-wells.html

A bit of history about our Black PR History events:  Our debut, Feb. 9, 2017 was nearly called off because of a ferociou...
02/04/2020

A bit of history about our Black PR History events:
Our debut, Feb. 9, 2017 was nearly called off because of a ferocious blizzard, which had closed the city's airports and schools. But our brave panelists--including Rochelle Tillery-Larkin Ford, who came down from Syracuse in a Greyhound, and Denise Hill, who flew into Phila from NC and then took a train--did all they could to make it there. Despite the elements, the turnout was extraordinary. https://www.prmuseum.org/celebrating-black-pr-history

This photo was taken at our second event, May 2, 2017, featuring, Judith Harrison TerryEdmonds, and David Albritton. Covered in Black Enterprise, the event attracted about 200. https://www.blackenterprise.com/5-lessons-to-learn-about-black-public-relations-pioneers/

After our 5th event last week, Jan. 30, we have now begun to plan for our BlackPRHistory program, Feb. 4, 2021.

TODAY IN HISTORY: The Museum of Public Relations celebrates the life and legacy of civil rights activist and "the mother...
02/04/2020

TODAY IN HISTORY: The Museum of Public Relations celebrates the life and legacy of civil rights activist and "the mother of the freedom movement," Rosa Parks ( February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005).

Rosa Parks, who is most famously known for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, played a pivotal role in the fight for justice and racial equality during the Jim Crow era of the 1950s. Though she was not the first to resist bus segregation, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) took notice and believed that she was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violation state segregation laws in the south. Her defiance later sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott; its success launched nationwide efforts to end racial segregation of public facilities.

Parks' role during the Montgomery campaign, was a deliberate and collaborative public relations effort among civil rights leaders and other African Americans that would shift the trajectory of American society. The strategic representation of Parks as the "accidental activist" during the boycott made her appeal less threatening and more sympathetic, which influenced public attitudes and helped garner support among many whites for the boycott and its objectives. Civil rights leaders made it a goal to project Parks as a virtuous victim and the boycott, by extension, as a righteous action for equality.

"BACK IN THE DAY" —A memoir of the pre-Internet days in public relations, by Norman Brust, Trustee, Museum of PR; former...
02/04/2020

"BACK IN THE DAY"
—A memoir of the pre-Internet days in public relations, by Norman Brust, Trustee, Museum of PR; former CCO, Contel

INTRODUCTION

One of the aims of the Museum of Public Relations is to give you an insight into how PR people accomplished their work "back in the day." If you first became conscious of the field of public relations after the year 1990 you probably have no idea what it was like to operate in this business in the decades before that time. This little memoir intends to take you back to that era and picture for you a PR world without the Internet, the web, Google, YouTube and email. I'll start with a little biographical material so you'll know where I'm coming from.

My career in corporate communications began in 1954 when I landed a part-time mailroom job in a small advertising agency. I was majoring in communications at Baruch College and was just entering my senior year. My last year as a full-time practitioner was 1990. I was VP of corporate communications at a large telephone company that had just been merged into a larger one. That event gave me the option of early retirement and I grabbed it.

For most of my working years the concept of corporate communications was largely unknown. Most functions like press relations, corporate advertising, employee communications, investor relations, Wall Street interaction, and corporate giving were scattered throughout the C-suite. This was a perilous situation as the chance of inconsistent or even contradictory messaging was always present. I saw this clearly when I switched from agency work to the client side, a change that suited my operating style because there was much less grunt work and more time for strategic planning.

CREATING DOCUMENTS

Early in my career, when I was working for a comparatively small ad agency, I was asked by my boss to prepare a survey of the home movie camera industry. He was planning to pitch the account of one of the major manufacturers in this field. I started with close to zero knowledge of this field so my first stop was the main branch of the New York Public Library. I located the periodical section and took out several back issues of a consumer magazine called "Modern Photography." I spent a few days absorbing every item, both editorial and advertising, on the subject of home moviemaking.

Then I called the magazine's editor and asked if he could give me one hour of his time. I told him exactly what I was trying to do, omitting the name of the company we were pitching. I was aware that my request for his time was an imposition but I was banking on the hope that he would figure that if we won the account we could become an important source of advertising dollars for his magazine. Whatever his reason, he agreed to help me.

I learned a great deal about all the participants in the field, which were growing, which were becoming weaker. I learned about technology trends in product design. You might wonder why the subject of videotaping did not come up. Simple. Magnetic tape had not yet been invented. I spent two more days writing my report ... by hand because I'm a lousy typist. One of the "girls" in the department typed it up for me.

My boss was very pleased with my work but no, we did not get the account.

Today, given the same task, I could accomplish all of that work without leaving my desk. Starting with Google and then visiting all the relevant websites, using copy and paste, taking screen shots and employing all the other magic tricks cybernetics has placed at our fingertips, I could probably have done it in half a day, including producing the finished report.

PRODUCING DOCUMENTS

You may think that the most impactful business tool ever invented is the telephone. But if you were working in PR "back in the day" you would probably vote for the Xerox machine with the electric typewriter coming in second. We worked with manual typewriters (introduced in the 19th century) and a smelly, liquid-ink duplicating machine called a mimeograph. If a typist was asked to deliver three copies of the same document she needed to back up her original blank sheet with two sheets of carbon paper interleaved with two sheets of a very thin paper called onion skin (known as "flimsies" in Britain). Ever wonder what "cc:" on an email means? It's short for carbon copy and now you know why.

If multiple copies of a document were needed, say for a press release, you used the mimeograph. First, a typist produced a "stencil." She retyped the original copy onto a fairly thick sheet and the typewriter keys punched out the characters. The stencil became a printing plate. A tabletop printing press then reproduced copies using liquid ink. If you were the one running the contraption you had better been wearing rubber gloves or your hands would be ink-stained for days.

Let's say you needed to produce 50 copies of a 20-page document. How do you mange the collating process? Simple! You lay out 20 piles of 50 pages each on the big table in the conference room. Then you get the entire staff (except maybe the boss) to march around the table plucking one sheet off each pile until the whole document is assembled. The last stop is guy in the corner with a a hand-held stapler. Then you do it again ... 49 times.

Now you have your 50 documents and all that is left to do is get them in the mail. Good news! We have a machine that prints out mailing labels from a previously stored list. So a couple of low-level staffers come to the conference room and stick the labels on the envelopes, stuff the documents into them and then seal them using a wet sponge. (A disrespectful name for low-level staffers was "envelope stuffers".)

The complete mailing was then hauled to the mail room (a large closet with no windows) where it was run through the postage meter. Then the mail-room boy (a college kid like me who came in for a few hours each day and earned just enough to pay for that day's lunch and carfare) would schlep it to the local post office.

Yes, you could have farmed out all this work to an outfit called a letter shop but then you would have to write a check. OOPS!

Miraculously, today all of this—cc's, duplicating, collation, stuffing and mailing—can be accomplished by stroking your keyboard a few times. It's called email.

What I've tried to do here is show you how modern office equipment and the internet have relieved PR staffers of a lot of drudgery. This gives you more time for creativity. Use it well.

# # #

Photo (below): Norman Brust, c. 1967

Address

85 Broad Street
New York, NY
10004

General information

We are a non profit education institution, the world's only museum dedicated to the public relations field. We acquire, preserve and exhibit rare books, artifacts and papers documenting the field's evolution The museum depends entirely on tax deductible donations, corporate sponsorships, educational grants and licensing fees.

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 17:00
Sunday 09:00 - 17:00

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(212) 943-5858

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  • The Museum of Public Relations is the world’s only organization dedicated to preserving, exhibiting and teaching the history of our field. It is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational institution chartered by the New York state Department of Education.

  • The Museum is at 85 Broad Street. Visits by individuals, classes, agencies and staffs must be scheduled beforehand (sign up at prmuseum.org/requests). We provide a hands-on tour as well as a lecture with videos. Suggested donation is $25 per student; $50 per professional. Donations can be made through prmuseum.org.

  • Our archive includes materials from Edward Bernays and Doris Fleischman, Ivy Lee, John Hill and Arthur Page, as well as a collection of media technologies from the past century, and nearly 700 books, some more than 125 years old.

  • The Museum produces events and classes every month or so, with topics appealing to students, professionals, educators and business leaders. We host annual celebrations of BlackPRHistory, LatinoPRHistory, and PRWomenWhoChangedHistory, as well as panel discussions with industry leaders, exploring such topics as “The Value of Values” and “Implications of ‘Truth Decay’ for the Practice of Public Relations.”

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