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South Carolina's MAD 'MEN' -- Advertising and PR in the Palmetto State, 1950s-1970s

South Carolina Political Collections Gallery, Hollings Library
May 1, 2012 - Aug 31, 2012

Jane Bradley, Cora Graham and Lottie “Dolly” Hamby established the Bradley, Graham & Hamby Advertising Agency, Inc., in 1951, in Columbia, SC.  It was founded as, and it remained, an all-female firm.  The files of BG&H are full of praise from their clients and friends--titans of South Carolina history like Jimmy Byrnes, Strom Thurmond and Roger Milliken.  The women of BG&H thrived in a profession dominated in that era by men, handling the accounts and campaigns of notable businesses and politicians for over three decades.

The firm’s political clients included Strom Thurmond, Fritz Hollings, South Carolinians for Eisenhower, Democrats for Nixon, Barry Goldwater, Donald Russell and Robert McNair. Business accounts included Kline Iron & Steel, Rice Music House, R.L. Bryan Co., and SC National Bank. Included in the exhibit are the following (and then some):

BG&H handled some complicated PR campaigns over the years. Two successful campaigns are highlighted in this exhibit: the 1972 Mini-Bottle Campaign that asked voters to require bars, restaurants and hotels to serve liquor solely from mini-bottles and the 1970 fight on behalf of several environmental organizations to keep a German chemical company plant (BASF) out of the Low Country.

BG&H handled all advertising and helped with strategy in the successful gubernatorial bids of Hollings in 1958, Russell in 1962, and McNair in 1966.

The firm produced numerous ads for Strom Thurmond’s successful write-in candidacy to the U.S. Senate in 1954, teaching people exactly how to write-in their vote for Strom. In 1964, they were major players in a significant moment in South Carolina history – they wrote and produced the TV show in which Thurmond famously switched parties and became a Republican.

The firm planned all publicity for South Carolinians for Eisenhower during Ike’s successful 1952 presidential bid and for Ike’s return to the state in 1962 for “We Miss Ike” Day.

   South Carolina Political Collections maintains the papers of Dolly Hamby.

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