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Office of Public Information/News and Information records

 Record Group
Identifier: RG-10-020

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of records either produced or used by the Johns Hopkins office of News and Information from 1946 to 2005. The bulk of the records date between 1960 and 1990.

Materials include subject files of people, places, and events associated with Johns Hopkins University, press releases, newsletters and newspapers including copies of the Johns Hopkins Gazette, and faculty files, as well as some audiovisual materials relating to University Commencement (graduation). All records relate to the Office's coordination and publicity of university activities, particularly special events. Physically, the records include photographs, photographic contact sheets, research notes, and other materials created in generating Johns Hopkins University publications related to this office. There are a number of photographs in the collection; the presence of photographs is noted at the file level.


  • Creation: 1945 - 2005
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1960 - 1990


Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Administrative History

On January 1, 1946, the Johns Hopkins University established a full time office of public relations, staffed by a secretary, a student assistant, and the director, Lynn Poole. Poole was to serve as the Director of Public Relations until 1965, a tenure of nearly twenty years. He began with a broad approach to public relations which emphasized his long-range goals for this office. After his first eighteen months on the job Lynn Poole filed a report enunciating a clear, coherent philosophy of public relations for the university. In his report of August 23, 1947, and ten years later in a similar report, Poole not only explained his approach to public relations, but he laid down practical guidelines that would put his philosophy into action. As conceived by Poole the purpose of public relations was to inform the public of activities at the university, to make known scholarly productions and achievements, to further specific goals of the university, and in all these endeavors to reflect credit on the university. Poole anticipated that effective public relations would bring such tangible results as the securing of qualified students, cultivation of alumni, the gathering of funds, and aid in the placement of graduates. According to Poole, the building of prestige, the strengthening of internal morale and the creation of public understanding for the aims, problems, and needs of education would be some of the less tangible but nonetheless important results of his work. In his reports Poole detailed the many techniques available to public relations for the above-mentioned purposes. He enlarged on the many aspects of the print and broadcast media that could be utilized by his office, highlighting the most important areas. He paid a great deal of attention to all school publications, including brochures and catalogs, believing that they must constantly be updated in both style and format if they were to remain effective. Poole stressed the need to publicize properly all lectures, special events and student activities in the local community as well as on campus. In these activities the director served as a liaison between the various media representatives and all branches of the university. Poole felt that it was an essential part of his job to maintain personal contact with the many people and institutions involved with public relations at the university. Under Lynn Poole the Director's office became the center where all public relations activities were coordinated with the philosophy and policy of the university. From 1948-1955 one of the most visible and successful collaborations between the public relations office and other university offices and departments resulted in a weekly television program, The Johns Hopkins Science Review. This program reached more people each week than any printed news item within the same period. Poole was directly involved in the pioneering of television as an educational medium during the 1950s. Greatly intrigued by the potential he saw in this area, Lynn Poole devoted much time and energy to this new and exciting field. Science Review was informative and highly respected; it twice received the George Foster Peabody Award for Education. By 1952 the show was telecast from coast to coast in twenty-one cities over the DuMont network; it was also the first American network program to be shown in England, France and Canada. With all the acclaim his television projects received, Poole never ceased in his efforts to broaden the scope of public relations in all areas. His public relations activities were always in line with the university's image and policies. The dignity of the university was always the primary concern of the public relations office. Poole consistently upheld high standards and refused to present the university as a product that could be sold to the public. In October 1965 Lynn Poole was appointed assistant to the president at Hopkins to work on special projects. At this time James C. Butler was appointed Director of Institutional Public Relations, a new office combining public relations for all the Johns Hopkins institutions. Butler had previously been the assistant director of public relations at Homewood and Director of Public Relations for the Medical Institutions. Four years later, public relations for the university and the medical institutions was again separated into two distinct offices. In 1969 Robert F. Hewes, a graduate of Columbia University's School of Journalism, was appointed Director of the Office of Public Information. Hewes was eminently qualified, having served as assistant director of Columbia's Office of Public Information and as Director of Public Relations at Millersville State College in Pennsylvania. In his capacity as director at Hopkins he was to assume responsibility for public relations activities at all divisions of the university. In 1982 Joan Hartman became Director of the Office of Public Relations; she was succeeded in 1983 by Susan Hartt. The records of this office indicate that subsequent directors made few changes in the approach to public relations started by Lynn Poole. There have, of course, been modifications that reflect the growth of the university as well as the changing times. However, the direction and quality of public relations as instituted by Poole remain much the same at the Johns Hopkins University today.


49.84 Cubic Feet (23 record center cartons, 49 letter size document boxes, 4 letter half-size document boxes, 1 flat boxes (15.5 x 12 x 3 inches), 1 custom box (31.5 x 23.5 x 3.25 inches))

Language of Materials



The records of the Office of Public Information/News and Information range in date from 1945 to 2005 and relate to the office's coordination and publicity of university activities, particularly special events. Materials include subject files of people, places, and events associated with Johns Hopkins University, press releases, photographs, newsletters and newspapers including copies of the Johns Hopkins Gazette, and faculty files.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Series 13 is predominantly composed of audiovisual (AV) media and requires further description, processing, and playback for access. Please Contact Special Collections for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred by the Office of Public Information at various points. Some press releases transferred by the Office of the Registrar. The Gazette and From File 7 (4 bound volumes) were transferred by the Special Collections Department of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library. Series 8 and 9 were transferred by Ann Hall of the Office of News and Information Services.


This collection consists, in part, of the following accession numbers: 79.1, 79.46, 79.106, 81.44, 82.4, 82.5, 83.22, 85.23, 87.36, 91.9, 92.46, 93.10, 95.26, 95.28

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Donna Riley, James Stimpert, Margaret E. Burns, Aravinda Pillalamarri, Jingqian Jiang, Joanna Brzeska, Bex Dansereau, and Annie Tang. Latest reprocessing was conducted in July 2018. Series 4: Box 15, 16, 17, 18 are missing, likely deaccessioned, and included press releases from late 1980s to early 1990s. Series were renumbered during reprocessing in 2018 to represent a new arrangement of materials, notably the incorporation of a Lincoln Gordon series, formerly Series 9, into the "Publicity on Milton S. Eisenhower" series.

Series 1 and 2, both subject file series arranged alphabetically, overlap in chronology. It is likely that they were received on two different occasions by the office. We did not attempt to combine these separate accruals.

Guide to the Office of Public Information/News and Information records
Finding aid prepared by Donna Riley, James Stimpert, Margaret E. Burns, Aravinda Pillalamarri, Jingqian Jiang, Joanna Brzeska, Bex Dansereau, Annie Tang, and Jordon Steele.
2018 July
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA