Public Relations and Religion in American History
To Be Published January 2nd 2014 by Routledge – 208 pages
This history of public relations examines the influence of faith on communications during great social, cultural, and economic change in the United States, from 1870 to the early 1920s. With a focus on American evangelicalism, temperance, and business, all of which embraced contemporary technologies and organizational management practices, this study traces religious influence across time, place, and sectors to develop a deeper and richer historical analysis of public relations within social and cultural contexts. The book begins with background about the public relations function, particularly the connections between faith and the field, and its use for centuries by the grassroots and power elite alike. Emphasis then shifts to Charles Grandison Finney, an early nineteenth-century evangelical firebrand whose subsequent position at Oberlin College helped shape the American social reform movement, including temperance. Lamme continues with the faith-based communication strategies of Annie Wittenmyer and Frances Willard, who successively led the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union from 1874 until 1898, and those of Howard Hyde Russell, Purley Baker, and Wayne Wheeler, who led the Anti-Saloon League of America in the passage and enforcement of the 18th Amendment in the first quarter of the 20th century. The final transition is to American business, with a focus on twentieth-century public relations pioneer Ivy Ledbetter Lee, who helped corporate clients establish legitimacy at the "bar of public opinion" and whose work reflected faith-based principles, cultivated in part by his minister father. Sources for the book include archival collections, original published works, and contemporary media.
Introduction Part I: Evangelicalism 1: Charles Grandison Finney 2: Oberlin 3: Social Gospel Part II: Temperance 4: Woman’s Christian Temperance Union 5: Anti-Saloon League Part III: Business 6: Gospel of Wealth & Legitimacy 7: Ivy Ledbetter Lee
Margot Opdycke Lamme is Associate Professor of Public Relations at the University of Alabama, US.