We all have them…and depending on our generation they are high definition digital delights, captivating Kodak Ektachromes, fading Polaroids , scalloped-edged black and white bits of history or perhaps just imaginings. They’re pictures of our fathers and while some of us may be celebrating Father’s Day with them this month, some of us will be celebrating the memory of them. Still others may have fathers they’ve never known.
The word “father” is used to pay tribute to individuals who initiate or influence industries, the arts, fields of science…even our country has “Founding Fathers”. I doubt any of us had a personal knowledge of Edward L. Bernays, considered the “father” of public relations. He died in 1995 at the age of 103. Visually depicted in Cutlip & Center’s Effective Public Relations as a smiling, affectionate man, he nonetheless has an imposing presence. So much so that Life Magazine included him in its 1990 special issue, “The 100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century”.
• He broke new ground in 1923 when he taught the first public relations course at New York University
• His client list included major corporations, government agencies and U.S. presidents from Calvin Coolidge through Dwight D. Eisenhower
• He is credited with coining the phrase public relations counsel, which was introduced in his first book on public relations, Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923)
• He was a vocal proponent of licensing of public relations practitioners
In that last instance, does “father” indeed know best? Voice your opinion here!