Year Erected: 1965
Marker Text: Ivy Ledbetter Lee, public relations expert, author, lecturer, and philanthropist, was born July 16, 1877, near Cedartown. He attended Emory College for two years and then went to Princeton, where he earned his A.B. in 1898, paying his way by working on university and New York newspapers. In January, 1899, he arrived in New York “with a raincoat, a diploma, and five dollars,” and found work as a reporter.
In 1904 pursuing his idea that Big Business needed better public relations, he opened a counseling office in New York. By 1915 he had begun a lifetime association as John D. Rockefeller’s publicity counsel, especially in Rockefeller’s widespread benevolences. Among Lee’s other clients were the Pennsylvania Railroad and Bethlehem Street, as well as numerous charities and churches to which he donated his services.
The founder of the profession of Public Relations, Ivy Lee, a Georgia gentleman who described himself as a “physician to corporate bodies,” believed that corporations should not conceal the truth from the press and that business leaders should not shun publicity. His principles helped to make American business more public-spirited and humanitarian. He died of a brain tumor in New York City, Nov. 8, 1934.