Frank Presbrey is perhaps best known for his monumental book, The History and Development of Advertising, a complete and authentic biography of advertising from Early Roman times until 1929. His contributions to advertising, however, are even more varied than his accomplishments as an historian.
Presbrey was one of the early practitioners of large-scale national advertising in the hotel, steamship and travel businesses, and he was an early advocate of life insurance advertising. At one point he was simultaneously the advertising agent of the three largest life insurance companies and the developer of their public relations and advertising procedures.
He is credited with the idea of forming the original Advertising Agents Association, which later became the nucleus of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. Presby was active and influential in the movement that increased the agency commission from 10 to 15 percent and he was also active in forming the Advertising Club of New York.