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 NORC.
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 political figures.
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 together.