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G. Herb Palin - Our Favorite Sloganist - Part II

I have a fascination with census forms. While looking for G. Herb Palin, our advertising “sloganist extrodinaire” (see Part I) who penned “A Tribute to Mineral Wells,” I found myself caught up in the families I found on the sheets that were enumerated with his family, especially in the 1920 census in Los Angeles, California.

But before I get into that, I’ll tell you a little more about the times leading up to those later years of Mr. Palin’s life.

Reading about his childhood, it struck me that he had a happy home life and his parents were eager to make him happy. They loved his active imagination and his sharp wit, and his mother, Anna, especially loved the way he could make up rhymes so early. I could envision him entertaining family members and friends for hours on end!

His father, James Matthew, was very happy when Herb graduated as a civil engineer, but Herb kept his future plans for a life filled with his poetry in the back of his mind.

At some point after Herb graduated, he married a girl named Rose E. Fulton from Georgia. He and Rose are found in the 1900 Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia census renting a home there. They had been married three years. Herb was 25 and Rose was 23. He was already working as a civil engineer. Rose’s brother, Theodore Fulton, 26 years old, was living with them. He was working as a railroad clerk. Herb also had a 30-year-old black boarder named Edward Bruison who was working as a day laborer. Also living with them were 20-year-old Lula Yathers, a black roomer who was working as a household servant and 22-year-old Saul Yathers, a black boarder who was working as a day laborer. Everyone in the house was born in Georgia.

Herb was not entirely happy working as a civil engineer. He had started contributing verses to local newspapers and realized that they must be good – they paid for them! He branched out to other papers and sought out some magazines. He didn’t feel like his education was broad enough to grasp the big advertising ideas, however, so he began to read law believing this would give him good basic material for his future work. Then in order to get into closer touch with the world he worked for the railroad for two years. All this time he continued to contribute to newspapers.
Then he realized he could support himself by only writing, so he turned away from his civil engineering career and devoted his time to newspaper work.

Somewhere along the way, Rose and Herb could not make their marriage work. She may have thought he was being frivolous and wasting a wonderful education and degree. I think I can relate to that. I may have felt the same way. The future may have seemed scary to a young woman in her twenties with a husband pursuing poetry and rhymes instead of continuing to work in the field of engineering, especially when he already had a job! I can close my eyes and see and hear the arguments. But I still hope Herb was a good natured fellow, that when he left Rose he was kind and they were both happier afterwards.

While Herb had been contributing verses and material to newspapers and magazines, advertising had been developing into a science. G. Herb Palin saw this and realized the time was ripe to begin cashing in on his future vocation. He began the coining of slogans for advertisers. He was alone in the field. There were advertising experts, copy writers, advertising agents, and professional workers in all branches of the art. He would not interfere, nor would his specialty conflict with theirs.

So he went to the executive of an important business, asked him what dominant thought he wanted to bring out in his advertising, was told in about fifty words, and within less time than it takes to tell it, he had coined a ten word slogan that fully covered the point in an apt rhyme never to be forgotten.

So that was the beginning of the only one man institution of the kind in the world at that time. Farquson Johnson wrote of him that, “He carries his products in his head and his office in his hands – a typewriter and a portfolio of testimonials. He works while you wait, and you’ll not get restless waiting for his think tank to revolve. He has no competition, no assistants – no advance agents or followups – and no comebacks aside from his own material self which seems to put in an appearance only when you need it. His is auxiliary service – a help to all advertisers. It consists of brevity, rhyme, and quaint alliteration. He tells the advertising story in the fewest easily remembered words. Although this is usually done in jingling verse, it is not undignified – the big advertising thought is always there to dignify it.”

One of the most remarkable things about him was the short time in which he would grasp a situation and coin a slogan. He was always beating his own record of slogans per minute. One of his last on record was 40 slogans in 20 minutes. Palin kept no books, but did a cash and carry business.

Farquson Johnson related the story about P. S. Eusticus, traffic passenger manager of the C. B. and Q. Railroad and how he called on Palin for some slogans that would emphasize the good and safe service of the Burlington road. The one adopted was:
“Safety first, safety last,
Makes Burlington Service unsurpassed.”
Some time after the slogan was out into the public and it was being continuously used, the Burlington had a disastrous wreck in which 46 people were killed. This knocked out the Safety First from the road’s advertising, after which everybody grabbed the slogan and now it is used around the world.

He was very well liked by all of his peers and often spoke before fraternities and clubs. On February 8, 1919, in the “Cleveland Notes of Interest” it was noted that G. Herb Palin drifted into the Cleveland Advertising Club rooms for lunch recently, and was greeted by many of his friends and acquaintances. As usual he had some good new poems and slogans.

Herb traveled far and wide across the United States and Canada and at one time belonged to some 24 advertising clubs, either as a regular or an honorary member. Traveling and meeting all kinds and classes of men and coming into close contact with both Capital and Labor, so it was said that his words of wisdom came from actual observations at first hand. He was a firm believer in Fraternity and said that if all men were not brothers they at least were very closely related.

Somewhere along the way Herb met a lovely French lady named Josephine. On April 8, 1911, they were married in Cook County, Illinois, when he was 38 years old and she was 32. On the Cook County Marriage Index found at they were both listed as single and her last name was Perie.

Whether Josephine and Herb moved to Los Angeles together or he already lived there when they got married is not clear, but in 1920 they lived in the Venice Township, Los Angeles County, California, in a rented apartment house on the Ocean Front with two children, Junior, age 9, and Mary, age 3 ½. They are listed as Herb’s adopted children. Junior is old enough to have already been born when Herb and Josephine met and married, so he may be her natural born son, that is not clear. His place of birth is listed as Arkansas. Mary’s place of birth was Missouri.

Herb listed his occupation on this 1920 census as an Advertising Specialist and being self-employed. Josephine was born about 1880 in France and immigrated to the United States in 1887.

The Palins lived in an apartment complex where Italian and French restaurant proprietors lived. There were many orchestra and band musicians, a circus manager, wait staff, and two bakers, all on Ocean Front and Westminster Avenue, and all in apartment buildings.

The actress Adelaide Hurst lived two doors down from Herb and Josephine. She was 26 years of age and listed her occupation as an actress in the motion picture industry. She was divorced. At first, I thought she might be from the William Randolph Hearst family, but further research leads me to believe that she is not.

Venice, where Adelaide Hurst lived was four hours up the coast north from San Simeon, California, where William Randolph Hearst built the Hearst Castle in the 1920s. But she is NOT his daughter Adelaide. This Adelaide is of the same generation as his father, who was born in California, and this Adelaide says she was born in Tennessee. I have found genealogy trees with the Hurst name originating in Tennessee.

I will leave you here to ponder on Herb and Josephine’s life. I will pick it up again next week. I have more to tell you.

Advertising and Selling, Volume 28, edited by Albert A. Reed, Kate E. Griswold, George French, James Barrett Kirk, Leroy Fairman, 1918 - 1922, accessed 3 November 2011.


Looking forward to reading more...
Hope you read the first installment about our favorite sloganist. If not, you must go back to my first posting. You'll find it here,

LInda Gartz said…
Hi Judy,
What a lot of details you have garnered! Ii love the design of your blog --- with the ribbons and flowers on the sides. Very artistic. Thanks for dropping by Family Archaeolgoist.
Thanks, Linda! Appreciate your stopping by and your kind words. gets credit for the blog background. They have some of the prettiest layouts available on the internet.
I love how you tell your family genealogy in story form. It really makes me feel like I know the person a little bit. You know who I kept thinking of as I read this article is Barry Manilow. He too writes/wrote several "jingles" as well as his well-known songs. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

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