Bruce Fairchild Barton

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Robbins, Tennessee
Birth Sign
Robbins, Tennessee

Bruce Barton had a complex personality. He was a writer and author at heart, a professional in the advertising industry, an aspirant politician, and a fervent supporter of Christianity. He was a giant for his time, making significant contributions to politics, religion, journalism, business, and other facets of society that not everyone can claim. His extraordinarily varied career is laced with fame and success, both of which he acquired by donning his different roles. Being a gifted child, he made the world promise that he would succeed from an early age. His religious background and upbringing helped in the process as he assiduously sought to carve out a space for himself, despite the fact that he was blessed with excellent economic acumen and creative expression. It’s interesting to note that he co-founded the advertising agency “Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn,” but he was better known as a writer and pundit than as the chairman of BBDO and a copywriter. After its publication, his book “The Man Nobody Knows,” which offers a reimagined vision of Jesus and combines religion with commerce, continued to be a hit for two years. The book received a warm reaction and received mostly favorable reviews. Continue reading to learn more about his life and profession to better prepare yourself.

Early Childhood & Life

Born in Robbins, Tennessee, Bruce Barton was the only child of his parents. His mother, Esther Bushnell, was an elementary school teacher, and his father was a minister in a congregational church.
He was raised in an ardently Christian household and spent many of his formative years in the Illinois town of Oak Park. little Barton had a passion for journalism that he had fostered since he was a little child.

He began selling newspapers in his spare time when he was nine years old. He accepted the position of editor for his high school newspaper while still a student. He also worked as a reporter for the neighborhood publication Oak Park Weekly.

Blessed with business knowledge and ability, he began helping his uncle run his maple syrup company, which saw growing earnings as a result of his engagement.

He enrolled in Berea College in 1903 but quickly transferred to Massachusetts’ Amherst College. He received his diploma from the same in 1907. He was elected as the student council’s president and a member of Phi Beta Kappa at the time of graduation.

Career of Bruce Fairchild Barton

He accepted the role of editor for the two tiny periodicals “Home Herald” and “Housekeeper” in 1907, a position he held until 1911. He left the same, though, as none of the periodicals did a spectacular business.

He relocated to New York in 1912. He adopted the corresponding position of assistant sales manager at P. F. Collier and Son, an advertising agency. He discovered his actual vocation and proclivity in the advertising industry while serving in the position.

The writing of the advertisement material for Harvard classics was his most lucrative task at P. F. Collier and Son. More than 400 000 copies of the written content and the headlines were sold, making them a major success.

After experimenting with advertising, he returned to journalism in 1914 and accepted the position of editor for the magazine Every Week. He held the post until 1918, but had little success.

He began working as a publicist for the United War Work Campaign in 1918, a fundraising effort for charities that supported the soldiers fighting in World War I. The following year, he established Barton, Durstine and Osborne, an advertising firm with coworkers from the campaign.

His prior experiences served as a benefit, as he worked as the agency’s main copywriter and creative director. As soon as “Barton, Durstine, and Osborne’s” name began to spread, major corporations including United States Steel, General Electric, General Motors, and General Mills joined up with them.
In 1928, Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn (BBDO) was formed when Barton, Durstine & Osborne joined with the George Batten agency. As the agency’s operational chief, he helped it grow to become a leader in the sector.

In the meantime, despite his economic savvy and expertise, it was his journalism talents that earned him a great deal of notoriety and honor. He was more well-known as an author and a journalist than as a co-founder of BBDO. His writings on achievement and optimism were incredibly well-liked.

In addition to working as a copywriter, he also worked as a columnist and author, and the public praised and admired each of his writings. His writings were shortly compiled in the 1919 and 1924 volumes “More Power To You” and “Better Days,” respectively.

His writing career was radically revolutionized with the 1925 publication of “The Man Nobody Knows,” which helped him become one of the most famous and prosperous authors.

Jesus’ public persona underwent a transformation in “The Man Nobody Knows,” when he was portrayed as a driven young executive who gathered twelve men to start a powerful organization. Although the book’s interconnection of business and religion was criticized by its critics, it was a bestseller for two years because of how well-liked it was by readers in general.

He wrote yet another book in 1926, titled “The Book Nobody Knows,” which, like its predecessor, offered a reimagined view of the Bible. In the book, he wrote his comments on the Bible.

He was a committed Republican Party supporter and an active member in politics. Additionally, he vigorously backed Calvin Coolidge, a fellow graduate, throughout both of his trysts with the Party. He worked as a Republican Party strategist starting in 1919.

He sought for the position in 1937 and, by luck, was elected to fill the vacancy left by the death of the incumbent. Up until 1941, he represented the Manhattan district in the US House of Representatives for two productive terms.

He contributed to Wendell Wilkie receiving the Republican presidential candidacy in 1940. In the same year, he unsuccessfully ran for the US Senate seat representing New York in an effort to unseat Democratic Senator James Mead.

He vowed never again to run for public office after his defeat, and he returned to work at his advertising firm. After World War II, the agency, which was mostly recognized for giving corporate juggernauts an image makeover, transformed how it operated when Ben Duffy was appointed president and transitioned the business into consumer goods advertising.

Lever Brothers, Campbell Soup, and Revlon joining the company caused the agency’s client list to expand by leaps and bounds. He left his position as board chairman in 1961. His business, BBDO, was the fourth-largest advertising agency in the country at the time of his retirement.
Following his retirement, he continued to write for the popular press out of his office on Madison Avenue.

Personal Legacy & Life

He married Esther Randall in 1913, the year of their union. Three children were a blessing for the couple. In 1951, she passed away.
On July 5, 1967, in New York City, he passed away.

Estimated net worth

The estimated net worth of Bruce Fairchild Barton is about $1 million.


When he passed away, the advertising firm BBDO, of which he was the originator, mocked his 1925 best-selling book “The Man Nobody Knows” by referring to him as “The Man Everyone Knew.”