Proud To Be in PR: The Story of Denny Griswold, Founder of PRNEWS

[Editor’s Note: With PRNEWS celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, we thought it fitting to dedicate a story to the founder of the publication you are reading, an extraordinary woman named Denny Griswold. The author is another special lady, Shelley Spector, co-founder of the Museum of Public Relations. We trust you will find this an inspiring and enlightening story, though one tinged with sadness and a bit of déjà vu. The sadness derives from the end of Griswold’s life. The déjà vu comes from the fact that women in PR today face some of the same issues they confronted at the time Griswold started this publication, 75 years ago.]

Shelley Spector, Founder, Museum of Public Relations

She was called the “grande dame” of the industry and the “queen of PR.” Her rival, Jack O’Dwyer, said she was the “closest thing we have to a celebrity in this field.” She gave the industry its first newsletter, Public Relations News, in 1944, its first organization of women in 1946 and its first PR handbook for business people two years after that.

Most important, she gave the PR field a sense of professionalism, and helped fuel its spectacular growth over the second half of the 20th century.

That she did so in a field that had maybe a half-dozen female professionals at the time of the founding of this newsletter is a testament to her talent, tenacity and verve.
Early Life
Born Denora Prager in New York in 1908, she went by “Denny” her whole life. This confused many readers who thought she was a man.


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