Harold Burson turns 95

As an icon of 20th century PR turns 95 on Monday, PRWeek looks back at a legendary career that spans reporting the Nuremberg trials after the Second World War, founding agency powerhouse Burson-Marsteller in 1952, laying the foundations for the modern PR industry, and still regularly coming to work in his 10th decade.

  • Harold Burson in the early 2000s. Photos courtesy of Burson-Marsteller

    Harold Burson in the early 2000s. Photos courtesy of Burson-Marsteller

  • Harold Burson in 1937. Taken at Olan Mills portrait studio in Tuscaloosa, AL

    Harold Burson in 1937. Taken at Olan Mills portrait studio in Tuscaloosa, AL

  • Harold burson in 1947, age 21

    Harold burson in 1947, age 21

  • Harold Burson in 1952. Taken at Bachrach Studios

    Harold Burson in 1952. Taken at Bachrach Studios

  • A 1958 staff meeting at Burson-Marsteller in Chicago, IL

    A 1958 staff meeting at Burson-Marsteller in Chicago, IL

  • Harold Burson and partner Bill Marsteller in 1960, planning their firm's expansion into Europe

    Harold Burson and partner Bill Marsteller in 1960, planning their firm's expansion into Europe

  • November 20, 1970, the 25th Anniversary of Nuremberg Trials, which Harold Burson covered as a U.S. Army reporter for the American Forces Network

    November 20, 1970, the 25th Anniversary of Nuremberg Trials, which Harold Burson covered as a U.S. Army reporter for the American Forces Network

  • Harold Burson and Bob Leaf celebrate the 1973 opening of Burson Marsteller's Hong Kong office

    Harold Burson and Bob Leaf celebrate the 1973 opening of Burson Marsteller's Hong Kong office

  • Harold Burson in the 1980s, working in his office

    Harold Burson in the 1980s, working in his office

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PRWeek Hall of Fame: Harold Burson

December 2013
Since co-founding Burson-Marsteller in 1953, Burson has been a counselor and confidante of CEOs, government leaders, and heads of public sector institutions.


The godfather of modern PR Harold Burson on moral responsibilities and controversial clients

by Alex Benady
February 2014
Harold Burson is one of the founding fathers of the PR industry, having begun his career in the 1940s and launched Burson-Marsteller in 1952. Alex Benady asks him about the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of his long and colorful life.


Emphasis on comms undermines industry’s moral purpose, says Harold Burson

by Alex Benady
February 2014
Harold Burson, founder of Burson-Marsteller, has warned that the public relations industry is in danger of losing its moral purpose because it focuses too much on communications rather than corporate behavior.


More insights from the great man: Mr Burson

by Steve Barrett
April 2012
Is it too soon to do another column about Harold Burson? Well, actually no, any excuse to write about the great man is a good one.


Burson is still the one

by Steve Barrett
March 2011
We've written about him many times before but I make no apology for waxing lyrical again about Harold Burson - he is a PR legend.


Burson's legacy is as relevant as ever

by Steve Barrett
November 2010
My favorite part of a very busy week was interviewing Harold Burson live at the PRWeek NEXT Conference.


Harold Burson: ‘I won’t rest until I’m old’

by Gemma O'Reilly
October 2008
Burson-Marsteller’s founder and ‘the century’s most influential PR figure’ talks about not slowing down.


BU honors Harold Burson by establishing academic chair in his name

by Sara Calabro
October 2003
Boston University’s College of Communications has established its first academic chair in the field of PR, named for Harold Burson.


Harold Burson celebrates his 80th birthday

March 2001
Former President George W. Bush sent a telegram of congratulations when Harold Burson turned 80.

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