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Elizabeth Perse collection on Herta Herzog


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Annenberg School for Communication Library Archives [Contact Us]3620 Walnut Street, Philadelpia, PA 19104

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Annenberg School for Communication Library Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Herta Herzog was born on August 14, 1910 in Vienna, Austria. Her work with Latin, Greek, and classical literature in secondary school inspired her to pursue her academic interests at the University of Vienna. After attending a lecture by Karl Bühler, a German linguist who, along with his wife Charlotte Bühler, directed the Institute of Psychology in Vienna, Herzog became interested in psychology, focusing on social-psychology and radio communication. She was influenced by Paul Lazarsfeld, an Austrian sociologist, and his qualitative approach to market psychology. Herzog received her PhD in psychology in 1932, but she had contracted a severe case of polio that left her without the use of her right arm. She was assistant professor at the University of Vienna before moving to the United States in 1935 where she and Lazarsfeld married.

After briefly working under Robert Lynd, an Irish writer and editor, Herzog joined the Radio Research Project, a social research venture funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and managed by Lazarsfeld. Throughout her tenure at the program, Herzog worked on qualitative pilot studies where her research was applied to specific audiences. The most famous of these studies was entitled The Invasion from Mars: A Study in the Psychology of Panic, where she and a team of scholars studied the effects of Orson Wells' 1938 broadcast of the War of the Worlds on listeners. Herzog's research on radio soap operas culminated in her 1944 article "What Do We Really Know About Daytime Serial Listeners?" which established the uses and gratifications approach in qualitative audience analysis. In the article, Herzog interviewed listeners about their interest in radio soap operas and, depending on their responses, categorized them into distinct listening-gratification types.

In 1943, Herzog accepted an offer by Marion Harper of the advertising agency McCann Erickson to head their research department. In addition to focus groups, Herzog introduced a number of experimental tools to market research, including the Lazarsfeld-Stanton Program Analyzer, pupil-dilation recorders, and a host of personality tests. She later become chairman of McCann-Erickson's research subsidiary division, Marplan. Herzog divorced Lazarsfeld in 1945 and married German sociologist Paul Massing in 1954. She continued to work for McCann-Erickson after it was renamed Interpublic Group in January 1961 and she was part of the think-tank advertising group Jack Tinker and Partners. There she continued to implement contemporary research to an increasingly broad set of marketing problems.

In order to take care of her husband, who had fallen ill, she retired from her marketing research career in 1970. After his death in 1979, she returned to the academy and lectured at University of Tübingen and the University of Vienna. She researched xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Austria at the Vienna Institute of Communication Research into the 1990s. Herzog passed away on February 25, 2010 at the age of 99.

Elizabeth Perse is Professor Emerita at the Department of Communication of the University of Delaware. Perse's academic interests include mass communication, with a focus on the uses of emerging communication technologies. She started her professorship after receiving her doctorate in speech communication from Kent State University in 1987. In 2003 she became chair of the University's communication department and retired in 2017. The Herta Herzog papers are primarily composed of written interactions between Perse and Herzog, which was used for Perse's biographical chapter on Herzog for Nancy Signorielli's Women of Communication, and provides details into Herzog's life and work, as well as the history of communication research.

Elizabeth Perse collection on Herta Herzog is primarily composed of written interactions between Perse and Herzog, dating from 1994 to 1996. The correspondence, which was used by Perse for a biographical chapter on Herzog for Nancy Signorielli's Women of Communication, includes their exchanges about the project as well as a short biographical sketch written by Herzog herself. Additional documents present are the rest of Perse's research materials and her correspondence with Signorielli and other scholars regarding information on Herzog's life.

Gift of Elizabeth Perse, 2017.

Accessioned as 2023.004. Andrew Williams processed the collection in 2018. Samantha Dodd compiled, and encoded the finding aid, 2024.

University of Pennsylvania: Annenberg School for Communication Library Archives
Finding Aid Author
Andrew Williams, Samantha Dodd
Finding Aid Date
2024 January
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Annenberg Library Archives.

Collection Inventory

Chieffo, Lisa P., 1995.
Box 1 Folder 1
Douglas, Susan J., 1994.
Box 1 Folder 2
Herzog, Herta, 1994-1996.
Box 1 Folder 3
Pasanella, Ann, 1994.
Box 1 Folder 4
Signorielli, Nancy, 1994-1996.
Box 1 Folder 5
Wright, Charles, 1994.
Box 1 Folder 6
Research - Herta Herzog, undated.
Box 1 Folder 7
Research - Sandra Lipsitz Bem, 1990.
Box 1 Folder 8

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