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Memories of Lou Olom (1917-2019)

By Bruce Gregory
He was one of the most thoughtful, dedicated, and politically savvy public diplomacy professionals of his generation. Louis T. Olom (1917-2019), a career civil servant, will be remembered for his many contributions to public diplomacy during the years in which it was gradually gaining acceptance as a field of professional practice in US diplomacy.

Lou’s interest in what became known as public diplomacy began when he was a student at the University of Chicago in the 1930s. There, as a research assistant to the distinguished political scientist Charles Merriam, he discovered the work of Harold Lasswell, one of the 20th century’s leading scholars of propaganda and communications studies. Deeply impressed, Lou went to New York to meet Lasswell, who hired him to work on his propaganda research team. At the invitation of Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish, Lasswell, Olom, and others on the team moved to Washington in 1940 to create the Library’s wartime communications research division.  Continued here.

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