Sam Black (public relations)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sam Black

Born6 January 1915
Hackney, London
Died23 January 1999 (aged 84)
Watford, Hertfordshire
Resting placeSt Andrews Church, Totteridge
OccupationWriter, lecturer and educator
EducationOwens School Northampton Engineering College
Alma materUniversity of London
SubjectPublic Relations
Notable worksThe Role of Public Relations in Management

Practical Public Relations

Exhibiting Overseas
Notable awardsMember of the Order of British Empire
Muriel Cecilia Emily Snudden
(m. 1939; her death 1982)

Gwendoline Lucy Bowles
(m. 1986; his death 1999)
ChildrenChristopher Black (b 1944)
Patricia Hamilton (b 1948)

Samuel Black MBE FBIM FRSA (6 January 1915 - 23 January 1999); was involved in the beginnings of the Institute of Public Relations (IPR) in 1948, and the Institutional Public Relations Association (IPRA) in 1955.[1] He wrote eighteen books on the subject of public relations[2] and organised over 200 exhibitions all over the world showcasing the British industry, this work in exhibitions gained him an MBE in 1969 for Services to Export.[3]

Early life[edit]

Sam Black was born on the 6th of January 1915, his father was Lionel Black, and his mother was Sonia (née Divinskaia).[4] Black attended Owens School and then went on to study at Northampton Engineering College, graduating as a Fellow of the Spectacle Makers Company (FSMC), UK in 1934.[4] He was an Ophthalmic optician from 1934–55, at this time he met and married Muriel Snudden in 1939, they went on to have two children, Christopher in 1944 and Patricia in 1948.[4]

During World War II, Black was recruited by the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), where he was in charge of supplying spectacles for the whole troop in the Middle East for a year.[5] After the War, he divided his time between working part-time in a private clinic in Henley-on-Thames and his diverse work with the AOP.[6][5]


Black represented Warwickshire and Northants on the first Association of Optometrists (AOP), he was elected in 1946.[6] He volunteered to serve on the Association's Parliamentary and Health Services, and Publicity and Public Relations Committees.[6] Black also helped to publish the first issue of The Optical Practitioner, in May 1947.[6] The publication changed its name to AOP newsletter; Black continued as the editor and publisher of the publication until he left in 1955.[6]

During his time with the AOP Black served on many committees including; the Ministry of Health Spectacle Frames Committee, Visual Welfare Committee, Publications Committee and the Ministry of Health Optical Committee.[6] He also served on the Penman Committee, which was set up to monitor payments to optometrists and served on the Optical Whitley Council. Black was appointed Vice Chairman of the Oxfordshire Ophthalmic Services Committee and went on to become Secretary to the Oxford Regional Hospital Board Advisory Committee.[6] Black was appointed the official expert on eye care for BBC's Women's Hour and was Director of the AOP Information Bureau.[6]

His most notable campaigns were to pay greater attention to children's eyesight, have refresher courses for opticians and link vision with how drivers perform on the road.[5]

Society of Environmental Engineers[edit]

Black took on the position of Secretary for the Society of Environmental Engineers (SEE) for the interim period after Pat Millard; he also edited the society's journal for a number of years.[7]

British Electrical and Allied Manufacturers[edit]

Black was the head of Public Relations at the British Electrical and Allied Manufacturers from 1955-60.[4] He organised the British electrical exhibit at Expo 58 in Brussels.[5]


Black organised 262 overseas exhibitions[5] across the world, mainly for the Board of Trade.[4] The first 100 exhibitions are what gained him an MBE for services to export in 1969.[4] Black also organised over 100 conferences in the UK and across the world, mainly for the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry. from 1965-72.[4][5]

Public Relations[edit]

Black worked hard for the establishment of the Institute of Public Relations (IPR) in 1948,[2] in 1953 he stood in for Norman Rogers to become honorary secretary for the IPR.[5]

Black joined the Institutional Public Relations Association (IPRA) a few years after they formed in 1955 and organised many meetings for the group across the globe.[8] In 1977 he began to edit the IPRA Review until 1985, Black also became the Secretary-General of the Association from 1977 until 1980.[8] He was appointed as President for the IPRA in 1982.[5]

Professor of Public Relations[edit]

In the US public relation courses had been available to study since 1923, hundreds of universities offered courses on the subject by 1948; however, Britain did not offer one.[9] In 1970, the Communication, Advertising and Marketing Education Foundation was formed, they went around the UK trying to get Universities interested in having public relations as a course.[9]

Black became the first Professor of Public Relations in the United Kingdom in 1988 at the University of Stirling,[2] this happened due to Professor John Horden noticing the success of an MPhil degree in publishing studies, and he believed that a public relations masters degree could have the same success.[3] Sam sent a copy of the IPRA Gold Paper No. 4 and put forward a proposal for a course to the University.[9]

Black supported the decision on behalf of IPR and IPRA, and after negotiating for five years, the MSc in Public Relations was to commence in the fall of 1988.[3] Across Britain, similar courses at undergraduate level were put together to commence in September 1989.[3] The University offered a distance learning version of the masters in January 1991.[3]

Black was appointed an Honorary Professor of Public Relations in honour of his role at drawing up the syllabus for the Master's course.[3]


Black was London Boys' Chess Champion; he managed to defeat the then British champion, William Winter, in 1935 and 1936.[5] During his time at the University of London, he captained the Chess Club from 1933-4.[5] He was secretary of Barnet Chess Club and the president of the London North Circular Chess League until 1997.[2]

Later Life & Death[edit]

Muriel died in 1982, and Sam remarried Gwen Bowles in 1986.[4] Black died at Bushey Hospital on January the 23rd 1999, after a long struggle with cancer.[2] He was succeeded by his second wife Gwen, his two children Christopher and Patricia and his five grandchildren.[2]


Practical Public Relations (1962)

Exhibiting Overseas - a marketing shop window (1971)

The Role of Public Relations in Management (1972)

The Institute of Public Relations 1948-73 - the First Twenty Five Years (1973)

Public Relations in the 1980s (1979)

Practical Public Relations: Common-sense Guidelines for Business and Professional People (1984)

The Practice of Public Relations (1988)

Introduction to Public Relations (1989)

Exhibitions and Conferences A-Z (1989)

The Place of Public Relations in Management Education (1991)

The Essentials of Public Relations (1993)

Public Relations - Revision Workbook (1993)

International Public Relations Case Studies (1993)

A Commitment to Excellence - International Public Relations Association: The First Forty Years (1995)

Unknown Publication Date

Guide to Industrial Film Making

The Businessman's Guide to the Planned Economy Countries

Previous Appointments & Awards[edit]

  • Past President, founder member and member emeritus of the International Public Relations Society, 1982;
  • Past Chairman and founder member, Institute of Public Relations Secretary-General, International Public Relations Association, 1977–80;
  • Chairman, IPRA International Commission on Public Relations Education, 1990;
  • Chairman of the Judges, IPRA Golden World Awards for Excellence, 1990, 1991;
  • Diploma of Excellence, European Public Relations Confederation, 1970;
  • Recipient of the President's medal of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, 1972;[10]
  • President's citation of the Public Relations Society of America, 1978;
  • Voted one of the leading 40 public relations practitioners in the world by readers of PR News, 1984;
  • Award for Outstanding Service to Public Relations Education by University of Florida at Gainesville, USA, 1984
  • President's medal of the International Public Relations Association, 1985;
  • Gold Medal of the Arab Public Relations Society, 1990;
  • Gold Medal of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, 1990;
  • Grand Prix of CERP (the European Public Relations Confederation), 1992;
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from IRP, 1998.

Academic honours[edit]

  • Honorary Professor of the University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland;
  • Honorary Professor of Escuela Superior Empresarial Relaciones Publicas (ESERP), Barcelona, Spain;
  • Visiting Professor of the College of St Mark and St John, Plymouth (University of Exeter), Exeter, England;
  • Honorary Distinguished Lecturer, University of South Alabama, USA;
  • Honorary Professor, Xian University of Electronic Science and Technology, China;
  • Honorary Professor, Xian University Machinery Electric College, China.

Other notable awards[edit]

  • Awarded the honour of Member of the Order of British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1969 for ''Services to Export''
  • Fellow of the British Institute of Management
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
  • Fellow of the Institute of Public Relations
  • Member of the Institute of Marketing
  • Member of the Institute of Journalists
  • Freeman of the City of London
  • Secretary of the British Management Training Export Council


  1. ^ The practice of public relations. Black, Sam, 1915- (4th ed.). Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann. 1995. ISBN 0750623187. OCLC 34516315.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "A life in PR". Times Group Newspapers. February 1999.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Professor Sam Black, MBE, Hon FIPR, FRSA - a record of 50 years of public relations 1948-1998". University of Stirling: 1–4.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Beauchamp, Charles (1995). Honoured by the Queen: Recipients of honours. Belgravia.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "A Public Relations Life". Public Relations: 28–9. Autumn 1984.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Obituary; Professor Sam Black, MBE". OptometryToday. 26: 20. Spring 1999.
  7. ^ "Obituary". SEE newsletter. Spring 1999.
  8. ^ a b "Obituaries: Sam Black". IPRA Newlsetter. 42 (1): 7. Spring 1999.
  9. ^ a b c Black, Sam (Spring 1993). "How Public Relations education at degree level came to Britain". Public Relations: 8–9.
  10. ^ "Medal winners | Chartered Institute of Public Relations". Retrieved 2018-06-14.

External links[edit]