Daniel J. Edelman, a native New Yorker who founded a PR firm in Chicago in 1952 after being transferred there by a Big Apple firm, celebrated his 90th birthday in Chicago July 1 surrounded by 80 family members and friends.

Dan and Ruth Edelman on July 1.

Photos by Richard Shay

While Dan spent most of his time in Chicago, his son Richard built New York into an even bigger office. The firm also expanded internationally, now having more than 35 offices abroad.

The birthday party for Dan was highlighted by a review of the early days of the firm.

Edelman, a graduate of Columbia University (Phi Beta Kappa) and its Graduate School of Journalism, worked at a newspaper in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and as a stringer for United Press before joining the Army in 1942.

He spent three and a half years in psychological warfare, including analyzing German propaganda on a daily basis.

Edelman's first jobs after the war were writing news copy for CBS Radio for Douglas Edwards, Arthur Godfrey and other personalities. He also worked at Musicraft Records helping to publicize its stars.

Toni, a maker of hair coloring products, asked the PR firm of Edward Gottlieb & Associates to hire Edelman. Toni then wanted a PR person near its Chicago headquarters.

"Since I was the only single man at Gottlieb, I went," recalls Edelman.

He later joined Toni as PR director and in 1952 opened his own firm with the company as his first client.

The Edelman firm reported total fees of $440 million in 2009 which included $92M in New York and $63M in Chicago.

L-R: Charles Benton, chairman, Benton Foundation; William Bartholomay, Atlanta Braves' chairman emeritus; Marjorie Benton, fund-raiser and philanthropist, and Richard Edelman.
L-R: Educator and executive Walter Massey, recently named president of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, with his wife, Shirley; Bill Kurtis, broadcast journalist, and his partner, Donna Lapietra.
L-R: Photographer Victor Skrebneski; Lapietra; Chicago PR consultant Dominic DiFrisco with his wife, Carole Loverde, professor of music, Columbia College, and Kurtis.

Edelman Family - Clockwise from top left: John, Renee, Richard, Ruth and Dan.

Photos by Richard Shay