1924--"It is a dangerous occupation--that of public relations counsel or press agent or publicity representative--to leave unnoticed. From the evidence of his book alone, with its representation of the direction of his interests and of the nature of assignments he lays out for himself. It is clear that Mr. Bernays realizes that the edge of the sword is dangerously thin, and his is scrupulous both as to his means and his ends..." -- NYT Book review of "Crystallizing Public Opinion," ..."the first [book] to be devoted exclusively to an occupation which is gradually becoming of overwhelming national importance..."
1920 — In what might well be the first mainstream article about the impact of the new profession of public relations, this opinion writer posits that "...the publicity expert has matured. As matters now stand nearly every large organization has its press agent. The field of activity has, too, enlarged. For when the press agent becomes the 'director of public relations' he assumes new duties. Instead of seeking to get material printed he often exerts himself to keep his clients out of the papers. The best of the type are genuine advisers. They are men of experience. They are called in to estimate the possible effects of certain courses of action. They are supposed to be experts in appraising the temper of masses of men..."
1923--In a report made to the Eastern Presidents' Conference by the Committee on Public Relations, the NYT reported: "Not only have the railroads attempted to appear before the public and explain their position, but the effort has been extended to the practical field by the organization of Regional Advisory Boards, through which shippers and the public may offer suggestions for the conduct of the railroads..." It was pioneer Ivy Lee who introduced the practice of PR to the railroads in 1906, with Pennsylvania Railroad being the first of a half dozen rail clients. When a train derailed near Atlantic City, Lee convinced Penn management to let him release a statement to the press about the accident, containing the facts that Lee did not think the press would otherwise pick up (or worse, write a negative story about rail safety by relying on their own conclusions.) Lee's statement -- the forerunner of today's press release-- appeared verbatim in the Times.
1926-- In this Page One story of the NYT, PR pioneer Ivy Lee-- "the best known and most expensive of publicity agents"-- is reported to have begun a campaign to urge the U.S. to recognize Soviet Russia. "Someday Russia has got to come back into the family of nations and we ought to try to help her to get back rather than to force a great nation like Russia to come on her knees and in sackcloth and ashes." Learn more about Lee's campaign and the impact it may have had on history. Read "Courtier to the Crowd," by Ray Hiebert (1966), recently republished by PR Museum Press here.
1927 — "...Hitherto the company has been conservative in making its affairs public..." But now, according to the New York TImes, "A. T. and T." will have a new department devoted entirely to publicity and public relations, to be headed by Arthur Wilson Page, a former publisher of World's Work and an executive of Doubleday. The new VP "took up his quarters at the A.T. and T. headquarters at 195 Broadway yesterday..."