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History of Public Relations. Key Events in PR History. History. Amos Kendall served as the first presidential press secretary and was a member of Andrew Jackson’s “kitchen cabinet” in the 1820s.

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history of public relations

History of Public Relations

Key Events in PR History

  • Amos Kendall served as the first presidential press secretary and was a member of Andrew Jackson’s “kitchen cabinet” in the 1820s.
  • The first presidential campaign slogan emerged in 1840. Whig candidate William Henry Harrison, who had been a military hero from the Battle of Tippecanoe, and running mate John Tyler ran under the banner of “Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too.”
  • In 1848 Elizabeth Cady Stanton issued the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments at the landmark women’s rights conference.
  • In 1850, P.T. Barnum brought Swedish soprano Jenny Lind to the United States and used celebrity promotions and product endorsements to generate publicity for her tour with his circus.
  • During the 1850s American railroads used publicity, advertising and printed materials to attract tourists and settlers to the American West. The Canadian Pacific Railroad built hotels/resorts along its transcontinental path to increase business.
  • In 1874, a national touring network of entertainment, educational and spiritual presentations brought messages to mass audiences.
  • In 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge opened, and P.T. Barnum led a parade of elephants across the bridge to demonstrate its strength.
  • In 1886, New York City began paying tribute to heroes and dignitaries with a Ticker-Tape Parade.
  • In 1897, the Association of American Railroads used the term public relations in a company listing.
  • In 1889 Westinghouse established the first corporate public relations department, a year after Mutual Life created a “species of literary bureau” to create advertising and publicity.
  • Westinghouse engaged in a public “battle of the current” with Thomas Edison and the General Electric Company, promoting the benefits of alternating (AC) versus the direct current (DC).
  • During his quest for the presidency, William McKinley organized a “Front Porch Campaign” to bring supporters to his Ohio home. His advisors introduced aggressive fund-raising strategies, urging him to outspend his opponent, William Jennings Bryan, 10-1. McKinley also was the first candidate to use the telephone for campaign purposes.