PR, back in the day … somewhere between 1952 and 1964

While poking around a Southwest Florida liquidator store recently, I stumbled upon a 3rd edition of Cutlip and Center’s “Effective Public Relations,” copyright 1952 (revised in 1964). A few excerpts show their age.

— Dayna Harpster

 *… when someone in Indian headdress sends up the smoke signal ‘Give’ on Michigan Avenue during a Red Cross fund campaign, this is not public relations. It is an act of press-agentry, although it may be part of a PR program.”

* “Without inquisitive intelligence, the practitioner is handicapped. It is vital that the curiosity and the interest be genuine. … It must really be of importance to the PR man to understand why certain people tremble when it thunders, go to a movie every Wednesday night, join the Ku Klux Klan, read comic books, have hysterics, love cats, go to fortune tellers, steal from each other, lie about the size of a fish or refuse to believe the truth.”

* “WORD TO THE LADIES. Public relations offers almost as much career opportunity to women as to men. Men hold no monopoly in the powers of persuasion. The function has that in common with advertising and journalism. In some areas, such as social welfare and the fashion industry, women often get the nod over men for jobs.”

* “It is the phony event to promote a dubious product or cause that comes under fire. Precious news space or time given to Miss Universe cannot be used in explaining the complex situation in Southeast Asia.”

* “Practical men know that adoption of a code of ethics does not automatically bring morality to a calling, but such codes do reflect a concern among the leaders for raising the ethical level. They provide yardsticks of measurement. And, like a New Englander’s conscience, a code can make a practitioner ‘durned uneasy.'”