Harold Brayman (1900-1988), former director of the Public Relations Department of Du Pont Company, retired from that position March 31, 1965. He had headed that activity of the company for 21 years, establishing a concept of public relations which was widely emulated throughout the United States.
Harold Brayman was born on March 10, 1900, at Middleburgh, New York. He received his A.B. degree in 1920 from Cornell University, and was awarded an honorary LL.D. by Gettysburg College in 1965.
Brayman went to Du Pont in 1942 after a distinguished newspaper career of twenty years, fourteen of them spent as Washington correspondent for leading New York and other American dailies. He started his journalistic career as Albany legislative correspondent for various newspapers in New York City and state, and had served briefly in London as a foreign correspondent.
Harold Brayman first went to Washington in 1928 as correspondent of the New York Evening Post. When the Post was sold by the Cyrus H.K. Curtis estate in 1933, he remained with the Curtis organization as Washington correspondent of the Philadelphia Evening Ledger until 1940. From then until 1942, he was a correspondent for Jesse H. Jones' Houston Chronicle. Meanwhile he wrote his syndicated columns, "The Daily Mirror of Washington," 1937-1940, and "Washington Preview," 1940-1942.
As a specialist in reporting and analyzing political events, Brayman attended all national political conventions from 1928 through 1940. He crisscrossed the nation as a correspondent on the presidential campaign trains of Alfred E. Smith in 1928, President Roosevelt in 1932, Alfred M. Landon in 1936, and Wendell L. Wilkie in 1940.
While a correspondent in Washington, Brayman was president of the National Press Club in 1938 and president of the Gridiron Club in 1941, one of the very few Washington correspondents to have been elected president of both of these organizations .
Harold Brayman was appointed assistant director of the Public Relations Department of the Du Pont Company in April 1942, and two years later, upon the death of Ted Joslin, became director, a position he would hold until 1965.
Brayman authored several books, including Corporate Management in a World of Politics (McGraw-Hill, 1967), a book on the public, political, and governmental problems of business; Developing a Philosophy for Business Action (1969); A history of the Lincoln Club of Delaware (1970), with A.O.H. Grier; and The President Speaks off the record… (Dow Jones, 1976), a history of the Gridiron Club.
Brayman was a member of the Board of Visitors of the School of Public Communication, Boston University, from 1951 to 1972, and chairman 1961-1972. He was a member of the Public Relations Advisory Committee of the Manufacturing Chemists Association from 1951 to 1956, serving as chairman from 1951 to 1953; a member of the Sponsoring Committee of the annual Public Relations Seminar from 1952 to 1961; and a trustee of the Foundation for Public Relations Research and Education from 1956 to 1962.
He was a member for many years of the United States Chamber of Commerce Committee on Taxation and of other Chamber committees. Brayman was editor of the Public Relations Journal, organ of the Public Relations Society of America, during 1956; and in 1963 was awarded the citation of the Society for "distinguished service in the advancement of public relations.” He was also named "Public Relations Professional of 1963" by the Public Relations News. In 1965 Brayman was given the "Golden Plate" award of the American Academy of Achievement, the first award of that organization in the field of public relations. He was vice president of the organization from 1966 to 1973.
Active in the affairs of Cornell University, Brayman was a member of the Cornell council, was its chairman from 1961 to 1963, and was also a member of the University's Centennial Celebration Committee . He also served as chairman of the Advisory Council of the Graduate School of Business and Public Administration from 1960 to 1965. Brayman was president of the Cornell Club of Delaware for 1955-1956.
Brayman was a member of the Board of Directors of the Continental American Life Insurance Company and the Greater Wilmington Development Council. He served as a trustee of the Wilmington Medical Center, was a trustee of Gettysburg College, and in 1968 served as the first Corporate Executive in Residence for the American University, Washington, D.C. He was president of the Lincoln Club of Delaware for 1965-1966, and was on the Board of the Wilmington Country Club from 1952 to 1964. He was a member of the Wilmington Club, the Greenville Country Club, the Du Pont Country Club, and Rotary Club of Wilmington; the University Club (N.Y.); and the Gridiron, National Press, and Overseas Writers Clubs in Washington, D.C.
Harold Brayman married Martha Witherspoon Wood on January 25, 1930, and they had two sons, Harold Halliday and Walter Witherspoon. Brayman died in Wilmington on January 3, 1988.
Biographical note adapted from a press release in the collection.
The Harold Brayman papers supplement, spanning from 1914-1992, contains substantial additions to the original collection, documenting Brayman's dual careers in the fields of journalism and public relations. The collection includes correspondence, memoranda, press releases, speeches, newspaper clippings and articles, photographs, memorabilia and books.
The arrangement of the supplement mirrors that of the original collection, dividing the material into three series to parallel Brayman's career and personal activities: Series I. Journalism Career, Series II. Public Relations Career, and Series III. Personal.
Series I, Journalism Career, vividly presents Brayman's role in the circle of newspapermen covering news in New York and Washington, D.C. The correspondence and clippings document his connections and output for a number of journals based in New York, including Knickerbocker Press, Albany Evening News, Middleburgh News, Albany Journal, and the Watertown Times. The club files reflect Brayman's steadfast friendships, his buoyant personality as a leader, and his dedication to journalism. In addition, the subject content of his columns and features, the satire of the Gridiron skits, and his book The President Speaks... all document historical and political events worthy of press in the United States from the 1920s to 1942.
Series II, Public Relations Career, includes a number of Du Pont files, detailing the growing public relations operation under Brayman’s leadership from 1944 to 1965. Additional subseries document Brayman’s involvement in the growing field of public relations, as well as Brayman’s political involvement and the overlap of business, advertising, lobbying and government relations.
Series III, Personal, relates to other personal activities of Harold Brayman. The correspondence files, arranged alphabetically, document Brayman’s early relationships as a newspaper reporter. Other subseries in Series III include biographical information, Brayman’s involvement in academic and other outside organizations, as well as photographs and a subset of Brayman’s personal library.