Arthur W. Page

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Arthur W. Page was a vice president and director of AT&T from 1927 to 1947, in charge of what is today called communications, public affairs and public relations. In the decades since, Page has become generally recognized as the dean of public relations and communications. In the course of his writing, Page established a series of public relations heuristics generally referred to as the Page Principles.

He was born 10 September 1883 to Walter Hines Page and his wife Willa A. Page of Aberdeen, North Carolina. Arthur helped his father with the monthly magazine World's Work, and in 1913 took over as editor from his father.

In 1927 Walter S. Gifford induced Page to become vice-president for public relations at AT&T. One of his first assignments was to prepare a speech for President Gifford to present in October that year to the National Association of Railroad and Utilities Commissioners meeting in Dallas, Texas. As John Brooks later observed, "Gifford laid the company’s social objectives on the line in a way that, in a national climate of rampant individualism and general greed to get in on the business and stock market boom, was clearly business heresy."[1] Page had researched the writings of former President Theodore N. Vail who put service first, profit second. In 1941, when the book The Bell Telephone System by A.W. Page was published, the Dallas speech was quoted in chapter 2: "Responsibility for such a large part of the entire telephone service of the country...imposes on the management an unusual obligation to the public..."[2] The chapter titles of the book show its appeal: 2: Policies, 3: Good service, 4: Overtones of good service, 5: Reasonable price, 6: Just and reasonable wages. In 1935 a joint resolution of Congress resulted in an investigation of the company, which Page reports on in chapter 15. He writes, "newspaper reporters..., when scandal did not appear, rather neglected the hearings".[3] As a document of company disclosure, the book made a list of the current directors which at that time included Charles Francis Adams III, Winthrop W. Aldrich, Lewis H. Brown, John W. Davis, W. Cameron Forbes, Myron C. Taylor, and Daniel Willard.[4]

Arthur lived until September, 1960.

He is today recognized in the name of an organization called the Arthur W. Page Society, whose members are corporate Chief communications officers or senior officials at public relations agencies. Since 2002 the Society has been a sponsor of an annual "Corporate Communications Case Study Competition".

In addition, The Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication is a research center at The Pennsylvania State University College of Communications dedicated to the study and advancement of ethics and responsibility in corporate communication and other forms of public communication.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ John Brooks (1976) Telephone: The First Hundred Years, p 172, Harper & Row ISBN 0-06-010540-2
  2. ^ AW Page (1941) The Bell Telephone System, p 12, Harper & Brothers
  3. ^ AW Page 1941 p 171
  4. ^ AW Page 1941 p 105
  5. ^ AW Page Center for Integrity in Public Communications website at Pennsylvania State University
  • Noel L. Griese (2001) Arthur W. Page: publisher, public relations pioneer, patriot, Anvil Publishers, ISBN 0-9704975-0-4 .