Daughter of pioneer pollster Archibald M. Crossley,
Helen Crossley cut her research teeth at the age of 9 counting radio
listeners for Crossley Ratings. A 1942 graduate of Radcliffe College, she worked for the Office of War
Information and the War Food Administration in Washingtonduring
World War II. After the war she spent two years doing media and
political surveys at Crossley Inc., then went to the University of Denver, where she received her M.A. in 1948 at
the Opinion Research Center, an affiliate of
In the early 1950s, Crossley worked in
Germanyfor the Armed Forces
Information and Education Division (AFIED), ending as Chief of its
Research Branch. In 1955 she began her long association with the U.S.
Information Agency (USIA), working with Leo P. Crespi to establish
coordinated research surveys in many countries of Europe, Asia and
Latin America. These surveys measured
foreign publics’ awareness of an attitudes toward U.S.policies and culture, and
were in effect the “Ear of America”.
Following a two-year evaluation assignment with the
aid program in Korea, Crossley became a
free-lance consultant, serving academic, commercial and government
clients. She also rejoined her father’s firm, now ArchCross
Associates, and collaborated (through Political Surveys and Analyses,
Inc.) on several surveys for Governor Nelson Rockefeller and other
In 1979 she returned to USIA where she was
instrumental in arranging for USIA survey data to be released for public
use via the Roper Centerand the National Archives.
She retired in 1992 with the Agency’s Career Achievement Award for
32 years of government service.
Other awards have included a citation from the Korean
Ministry of Information for helping to establish opinion research in
Koreaand one from the
National Safety Council for research on seat belt usage. She was
co-author, with Don Cahalan and Ira Cisin, of the landmark American
Drinking Practices (Rutgers, 1970)
and various journal articles. She was listed in the first edition of
Marquis’ WHO’S WHO OF AMERICAN WOMEN in 1958.
Crossley was a founding member of both the American
and World Associations for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR and WAPOR).
She was the first female President of WAPOR (1960-62), and has held
various other offices in both organizations. She was Secretary-Treasurer
of AAPOR and twice served as president of its Washington Chapter. For a
time she was also active in the National Council for Public Polls
(NCPP), and has been a regular member of the International Society for
Political Psychology and the D.C. Sociological Society. Her special
research interests are to find ways in which survey research can
contribute to conflict resolution by bringing people closer