Following in the foot steps of his father as a journalist, Arthur W. Page would pave the way for the field of public relations. Walter Hines Page, Arthur's father, was an excellent journalist, editor and business man. He was a founder of Doubleday Page publishing company, advisor to Woodrow Wilson and the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain during WWI.
In 1905, at the age of 22, Arthur Page started to work at Doubleday Page and would end up working for the company for 22 years. He was promoted to vice president of the company's magazine department, where he found a special interest for a magazine called The World's Work. He wrote strong editorial articles about the responsibilities and duties of U.S. corporations to its consumers.
In 1927 Walter Gifford, CEO of the AT&T company, inquired whether Page would like to put his ideas into practice for AT&T and he accepted. This would lead to be corporate America's first public relations position and create a framwork for the field, still being used today. He spent 19 years as a vice-president for AT&T and unknowingly established a public relations protocol.
Through his speeches, presentations, letters and advice Page formed the model of the public relations specialist. He stressed, to his public relations staff, that survey research must be an integral part of their profession. He also emphasized that anticipating problems that their clients might face is critical.
His accomplishments include writing President Trumans announcement of the use of the atom bomb at Hiroshima, was a consultant to U.S. Presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to Dwight Eisenhower and served as a member of the boards of directors of the Chase Bank, Westinghouse, Kennecott Copper and Continential Oil
Arthur W. Page viewed public relations as the art of developing, understanding and communicating character -- both corporate and individual. This vision was a natural outgrowth of his belief in humanism and freedom as America's guiding characteristics and as preconditions for capitalism.
The successful corporation, Page believed, must shape its character in concert with the nation's. It must operate in the public interest, manage for the long run and make customer satisfaction its primary goal. At a public relations conference of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company in October, 1939 he described the dynamic this way:
"Real success, both for big business and the public, lies in large enterprise conducting itself in the public interest and in such a way that the public will give it sufficient freedom to serve effectively."
When asked in 1946 about the public relations job that business as a whole should do, Page responded:
"…any concern that does business with the public is in a public business. It is subject to regulation in many ways -- by laws, from those affecting incorporation to blue sky legislation; by forms of public supervision; by the public's giving or withholding patronage, and by public praise or blame from the press, radio, political leaders. Public opinion may at any time be translated into law. This task of business in fitting itself to the pattern of public desires is public relations. It is, in effect, adapting big business to a democracy. The public relations job of this, as of other businesses, is to earn a good reputation with the public, to establish itself in the public mind as an institution of character and one which functions in the public interest"