IPR is featuring some of the many female pioneers who have had an impact on the field of public relations in celebration of Women’s History Month.
Zelda Popkin, an early 20th century female public relations pioneer, was as unconventional as she was gifted. Her contributions to public relations were, until recently, eclipsed by her “second” career as an author.
Popkin began her public relations career in New York’s non-profit world in 1918. In 1919, and newly wed, Zelda and Louis Popkin, opened Planned Publicity Service. This was prior to other notable women’s entry into the profession. Her many overlapping roles—journalist, ghostwriter, women’s justice advocate, opponent of fascism, proponent of international refugees’ rights, political campaign manager, and publicist for many causes—gave her access to an array of prestigious contacts and opportunities to expand her knowledge and skill base. In each role, she invested her PR savvy and experience, gleaned from years of reporting, media relations, and non-profit work.
When Louis passed in 1943, and Popkin’s truly equal partnership ended, this remarkable woman’s “second act” began. In her writing and her life, Zelda Popkin was ahead of her times. She refused to let herself be pigeonholed as a woman and encouraged other women to fully explore new horizons, professionally and personally.
Popkin, J. D. (2023). Zelda Popkin: The life and times of an American Jewish woman writer. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.
Popkin, Z. (1956). Open every door. New York: E. P. Dutton.
A Woman Of Substance From Age 16, Zelda Feinberg Popkin Was A Role Model For Women (Times Leader)