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Biography of an Idea: The Founding Principles of Public Relations by Edward L. Bernays

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chapter 2

BARREN YEARS AT CORNELL AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE

I had thought of myself as a traveler, but when I stepped onto the tiny isolated station on the flats of Lake Cayuga two miles from Ithaca in the early morning, I felt lonely.

In 1908 Ithaca was an overgrown village surrounding Cornell University. Except for a small, elite group of bankers, realtors, lawyers and doctors, most inhabitants were retired farmers and tradesmen. Professional people kept their social distance from the nonprofessionals, and town was separated from gown. The community was static, with little mobility up, down or even sideways. People in different strata called one another by their first names, but the relationships went no closer.

Glaciers long ago had scraped away ...

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