From 1930 to 1960, the United States Steel Corporation commissioned photographers around the country to document the inner workings of the company and its subsidiaries as part of a national public relations campaign. These efforts occurred at a time when the steel industry, like today’s technology behemoths, reigned central in the world economy. From the Great Depression to the war years to the post-war boom, photography served as a persuasive tool in PR campaigns focused on promoting good will and a favorable attitude about policies concerning the corporation’s size, labor practices, and profit margins.
Drawing from the United States Steel Corporation Photographs collection at Baker Library, the exhibition features striking images of steel workers, blast furnaces, and company plants that appeared in national magazines, company publications, and exhibitions that reached large audiences. In the current age of converging public relations, marketing, and social media, the collection provides a window into the corporation’s innovative use of photography and the emerging field of PR to galvanize public opinion.