Starring Ralph Ross

Colin and Lisa Ross advise their publishers about the audience segments they attract, including those who mainly care about their seven-year-old son Ralph.

This is an excerpt from the minutes that publisher Brockhaus kept of their management’s meetings with Mr. and Mrs. Ross between 1927 and 1943. Here, Colin and Lisa Ross ask their publishers to consider the range of audiences they should target  in  their books’ publicity. “Three circles, almost independent from each other, are interested in them: those who appreciate Ross from his newspaper articles, then scholars and professors who have been made aware of him by Die Welt auf der Waage [the first of Ross’s stabs at cultural philosophy, published in 1929; JS], and finally those who like their son Ralph and don’t care much about his parents.”

This mix of target audiences did not come about by chance. Rather, it corresponds to the deft mixture of styles and modes of address that Colin Ross rather consciously employed to make the most of his travel exploits. In his writing, lecturing, and filmmaking, freelancer Ross was able to switch from up-to-the-minute reporting and pseudo-philosophical musings to family anecdotes, as the occasion demanded.

The Rosses’ statement also stresses how valuable an asset his family is to his brand, his son Ralph Colin most particularly since his first appearance in Ross’s report of their 1926–7 African journey.

Joachim Schätz

Sächsisches Staatsarchiv, Staatsarchiv Leipzig, Bestand 21083 F. A. Brockhaus, Leipzig, Nr. 790. Brockhaus minutes. D-h. Besuch Dr. Colin Ross und Frau in Leipzig, 10./11.2.31.; 1.

Topic: The Ross Family
Case: Oceania-Asia trip 1928-30

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