As I mentioned Monday, Ivy Ledbetter Lee is not a role model and he’s far from perfect. But the Georgia native did play an influential role in establishing the field of public relations. And he created some of the PR tactics still used today.
Lee, the son of a Methodist minister, began his studies at Emory College here in Atlanta. He graduated from Princeton and worked as a stringer for several New York newspapers, including the New York Times.
Lee started his public relations career in 1903. He was hired by the Citizens’ Union as a publicity manager. The title sounds very contemporary but the job then was much different than what you would imagine today. At the time, a publicity manager would be a low-level position with little power or influence. Almost immediately, Lee developed an unusual report with his bosses and news reporters.