Edelman is considered a pioneer in the world of public relations, having started his namesake firm in a small office in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart on Oct. 1, 1952. The firm, now the largest in the world, celebrated its 60th anniversary last year.
“At the time, public relations was a rudimentary practice, dominated by a handful of firms employed primarily as ‘press agents’ and publicists,” the company has said. “Dan, a former journalist and World War II public information officer, had a greater vision. He dreamed of offering clients a range of superior PR services never before seen.
“And for the next 60 years, Dan and his firm would do just that—transforming the field of PR first in the United States, and then in the rest of the world.”
Edelman served in World War II. After the war, he worked as a reporter in New York before joining Musicraft Records as a publicist. He was later hired by The Toni Company, which transferred him to Chicago in 1947 to become the company’s PR director.