The Father of Brainstorming
Alexander Faickney Osborn was “born in the Bronx, New York, on May 24, 1888” (“Alex F. Osborn,” 1966, p. 47). He attended Hamilton College where he was awarded Ph.B. and Ph.M. degrees in 1909 and 1921 respectively (Chae, 1997c). Osborn’s employment career began with jobs in newspaper reporting with both the Buffalo Times and Buffalo Express; the assistant secretary for the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce; sales manager of the Hard Manufacturing Co.; and began his renowned advertising career with the E. P. Remington agency of Buffalo. “During World War I, he worked as a volunteer for the United War Work campaign and there met another young writer, Bruce Barton” (“Alex F. Osborn,” 1966, p. 47).
Osborn joined the advertising agency of Barton &
Durstine in August of 1919 with an understanding that he would work
primarily out of Buffalo; and the agency would become known as Barton,
Durstine & Osborn (“Alex F. Osborn,” 1966; “BBDO,” 1997a). In 1928,
Barton, Durstine and Osborn merged with the George Batten firm and would
become known as Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborn (BBD&O) (“Alex
F. Osborn,” 1966). Osborn became general manager of BBD&O in 1939
and went on to become its chairman, then vice chairman until his
retirement in 1960. He served as a trustee for Western Savings Bank and
Hamilton College (“Alex F. Osborn,” 1966), and as a council member for
the University of Buffalo from 1951-1959 (University Archives – State
University of New York at Buffalo, 1998). Mr. Osborn died of cancer in
Roswell Park Memorial Institute on May 5, 1966, at the age of 77 (“Alex
F. Osborn,” 1966).