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Determining the Facts

Reading 2: Selling Seattle

Soon after the news of the Klondike gold strike was out, other port cities on the Pacific coast--especially Tacoma, Washington, and Portland, Oregon--were eager to attract the business of stampeders. Erastus Brainerd, hired by Seattle's Chamber of Commerce to publicize the city's resources, founded the Bureau of Information to answer questions about outfitting, transportation, and accommodations. The following statistics are from a report he issued to show the Bureau's progress in advertising the benefits of outfitting in Seattle.

Newspaper & Magazine Display Advertising
* Small ads in 6,244 weekly newspapers each with a circulation of 400 or more.
* Five-inch ads in Denver, Chicago, St. Paul, Minnesota, and San Francisco newspapers.
* 2/3 page ad in the New York Journal.
* 1/4 page ad in the following national magazines: Munsey, McClures, Cosmopolitan, Harper's , Century, Scribner.
* Total copies distributed: 23,325,000.

Newspaper Distribution
* Eight-page Seattle Post-Intelligencer supplement, 200,000 copies printed.

Other Supplement Distribution
* Every postmaster in the United States: 70,000.
* Every Public library: 6,000.
* Mayors: 4,000.
* Great Northern Railroad: 10,000.
* Northern Pacific Railroad: 5,000.
* Publications in the United States: 20,000.
* Klondike committees of Correspondence: 3,000.

Information Circulars
* Three circulars published with one sent to every daily newspaper; one to every governor, mayor, and foreign ambassador; and one to every member of Congress.

Questions for Reading 2

1. What do these statistics tell you about the efforts of the Bureau of Information?

2. Why do you think the Bureau of Information relied only on printed matter to promote Seattle?

3. If you were trying to advertise the amenities your town offers today, what might you do differently? What would you keep the same?

Reading 2 was adapted from "What the Advertising Committee Accomplished," no date, Erastus Brainerd Papers, Microfilm Division, University of Washington Libraries.

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