Public Relations and Religion in American History: Evangelism, Temperance, and Business, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Public Relations and Religion in American History

Evangelism, Temperance, and Business, 1st Edition

By Margot Opdycke Lamme


220 pages

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Winner of The American Journalism Historians Association Book of the Year Award, 2015

This study of American public relations history traces evangelicalism to corporate public relations via reform and the church-based temperance movement. It encompasses a leading evangelical of the Second Great Awakening, Rev. Charles Grandison Finney, and some of his predecessors; early reformers at Oberlin College, where Finney spent the second half of his life; leaders of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League of America; and twentieth-century public relations pioneer Ivy Ledbetter Lee, whose work reflecting religious and business evangelism has not yet been examined. Observations about American public relations history icon P. T. Barnum, whose life and work touched on many of the themes presented here, also are included as thematic bookends. As such, this study cuts a narrow channel through a wide swath of literature and a broad sweep of historical time, from the mid-eighteenth century to the first decades of the twentieth century, to examine the deeper and deliberate strategies for effecting change, for persuading a community of adherents or opponents, or even a single soul to embrace that which an advocate intentionally presented in a particular way for a specific outcome—prescriptions, as it turned out, not only for religious conversion but also for public relations initiatives.

Table of Contents

1. Faith in History 2. The Marketplace 3. New Measures 4. Reform 5. Piety and Persuasion 6. Hellfire and Democracy 7. Business and Soul 8. Human Nature

About the Series

Routledge Research in Public Relations

Bringing together theories and thought from a variety of perspectives, this series features cutting-edge research addressing all the major issues in public relations today, helping to define and advance the field.


To submit a proposal for this series, please contact:
Suzanne Richardson, Commissioning Editor for Media, Cultural and Communication Studies
[email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / United States / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies
RELIGION / General