Woman Who Built Foundation For Modern PR

By Kate Ker

This story is about unthought history, about lies in textbooks, and about feminism. Recently  I had to submit an Assignment for one of my Communication courses. I had to write an essay about most exciting and important PR case in the history. For that essay, I was ready to write about famous public relations (PR) professional, father of modern PR, Edward L. Bernays. But during my research, I’ve changed my mind, because I found a shocking fact about him. I was shocked to discover information about a person who helped him to succeed – his wife, equal business partner, speech writer, and great PR professional, Doris Fleischman. So I made a decision to write essay about very strong and inspiring woman, especially because her story is unknown to many PR students. Surprisingly, all my textbooks for communication courses have zero information about her. Instead, in each textbook we only read about her famous husband. But clearly, some of Fleischman’s accomplishments were even greater than her husband’s.

Doris created and implemented many PR campaigns for her husband, and basically she was his personal PR strategist. She helped to develop his name as a brand, and their agency became one of the best in USA. Doris was an active feminist, who fought for women’s rights and social changes. She was a very first woman, who succeed in PR, and made it possible for many future generations of women to enter this industry. The case that impressed me the most, is the fact that in 1922 Doris Fleischman signed a marriage license with her maiden name. And soon, she checked-in into the Waldorf Astoria New York hotel together with her husband, but by using her maiden name. At that time, it was a revolutionary case, and the very next day after this happened, all major headlines in the newspapers were about Doris. She was also a first woman in the United States, who held a passport issued with her maiden name. This PR campaign helped to attract national attention to women’s equality, and to re-consider views on marriage and partnership. By doing this, Doris Fleighman took a risk, but it led to success, and this campaign gained attention that she wanted.

Gender equality is one of the most important issues even for a modern society. We still learn about ways to protect our rights, to get equal pay, to get equal recognition, and ways to attract attention to problems that women are facing each day by performing “double shifts”. And in 20th century Doris Fleischman did a revolutionary step in this fight for women’s rights, and this should inspire our generation, especially women aspiring a career in PR.

Henry, S. (1988). In Her Own Name? Public Relations Pioneer Doris Fleischman Bernays. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/
Shroeder, A. (2015). Pioneer in Public Relations: Doris Fleischman. Retrieved from https://www.culpwrit.com/