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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Coleman, Loyd Ring (1896–1970)

by Licia Cattani

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (MUP), 1993

Loyd Ring Coleman (1896-1970), advertising manager, was born on 18 November 1896 at Brockport, New York, United States of America, third child of Arthur Coleman, Post Office inspector, and his wife Mabel, née Ring. Known as 'Deke' (his friends thought that he looked like a deacon), Loyd attended the Normal School, Brockport, and the University of Rochester (A.B., 1918); he also studied in 1918-19 for a master's degree in English while employed by several small companies and as assistant advertising manager for North East Electric Co. In 1917 he had served with the naval reserve, 'scrubbing hospital floors'. He taught at East High School and in May 1921 married a journalist Emily Tyler Holmes, of Hartford, Connecticut. Having given birth to their son in January 1924, Emily suffered puerperal fever and was confined in a mental asylum for three months before convalescing in Europe. Coleman reacted by studying psychology in 1925-26 for a doctorate at Columbia University; he co-authored Psychology, a Simplification (New York, 1927) and joined Emily in Paris.

Appointed to the staff of the advertising firm, J. Walter Thompson Co., in London in 1928, he became manager of the branch at Antwerp, Belgium, in 1931. Emily stayed in France. Following his divorce, on 30 April 1932 Coleman married a Frenchwoman Henriette Louise Jamme. From 1935 he controlled Thompson's European operations from Paris. After the outbreak of World War II he made a survey of German propaganda methods for British intelligence and left Paris just ahead of the German army; he and Louise remained in France until December 1940.

Back in New York, Coleman was persuaded to take over as managing director of the Australian office and reached Sydney in July 1941. Over the next nineteen years the Sydney branch became the third largest overseas member of the Thompson organization and one of the largest advertising agencies in Australia. Coleman avoided the direct approach, relying on gentle but relentless persistence. Despite his slow voice, 'soft as a kitten's fur', he 'ran his business with almost military precision'. Among the big accounts he acquired for the firm were those of the Australian Consolidated Press Ltd, Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd, Andersons Meat Industries Ltd, the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd and the Coca-Cola Co.

A principal speaker at congresses of the International Chamber of Commerce in Berlin (1937), Copenhagen (1939), Montreal (1949) and Tokyo (1955), Coleman was a committee-member of the Australian Association of Advertising Agencies, and belonged to the Australian and American National clubs in Sydney. He relinquished the managing directorship in 1958, when he became a director, and wrote of his experiences and opinions in The Practice of Successful Advertising (1959). Firmly believing in free enterprise, he criticized price control and restricted shopping hours.

Influential in Sydney's literary and social circles, Coleman lived at Rose Bay in a two-storey house overflowing with books. His only exercise was to take his poodles for a walk. He and E. J. (Ted) Moloney edited some of William Wallace Irwin's recipes for French home-cooking, The Garrulous Gourmet (1947). With his idiosyncratic sense of humour, Coleman contributed 'a bubbling fountain of dogma' to another cookery book, their acclaimed Oh, for a French Wife! (1952), illustrated by the cartoonist George Molnar.

In 1960 Coleman returned to Paris, the city he and Louise loved, to reap the benefits of retirement. Survived by his wife, and by the son of his first marriage, he died on 23 March 1970 at his home in the 16e Arrondissement.

Select Bibliography

  • People (Sydney), 6 Oct 1954, p 35
  • J. Walter Thompson Co, Australian News (priv pub), 1, no 3, 1960, News (New York, priv pub), 25, no 11, 1970
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 18 July, 8 Aug 1941, 7 May 1949, 20, 26 Apr 1952, 26 June 1954, 10 May 1957, 29 May 1958, 19 Sept 1959, 13 Mar 1960
  • private information.

Citation details

Licia Cattani, 'Coleman, Loyd Ring (1896–1970)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 29 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (MUP), 1993

View the front pages for Volume 13

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