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Scripps family



The Scripps Family Papers relate to Chicago Tribune editor John Locke Scripps (1818-1866), his wife Mary E. Scripps (1825-1866), and his daughter Grace Scripps Dyche (1863-1924). The collection documents the editor's early life in Chicago, his influence on the city's journalistic institutions, and Civil War-era politics. One of the oldest and most influential families of American journalism, the Scripps occupied a unique place in nineteenth-century America. John L. Scripps's cousin, James, founded the Detroit Evening News along with his sister, Ellen Browning Scripps (1836-1932), a frequent correspondent with Mary E. Scripps in this collection. Both James and Ellen became leading philanthropists in Detroit and La Jolla, California, where Ellen retired in 1896. Their younger brother Edward Wyllis [E.W.] Scripps also became a media giant with controlling interests in a variety of newspapers including the Cincinnati Post. 

The bulk of the material in this collection concerns John Locke Scripps. Mr. Scripps was born in Jackson County, Missouri, in 1818, but his parents moved to Rushville, Illinois, soon after. He attended McKendrie College in Lebanon, Illinois, and graduated in 1847. He moved to Chicago and began practicing law that same year. But in 1848 Scripps purchased a one-third interest in the recently established Chicago Tribune and became its principal editor and writer. He also compiled the first statistical review of Chicago markets and conducted research vital to the formation of the Chicago-Galena railroad. 

Scripps authored a popular campaign biography of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. One of thirteen published that year, Scripps's thirty-two page pamphlet, originally published by the Chicago Tribune, proved to be the “most authoritative and influential” of the lot. Entitled simply. The Life of Abraham Lincoln, the book hailed the Republican nominee as “the Great American man,” a label that came to define the President after his tragic death. Lincoln rewarded Scripps with a comfortable position as postmaster of Chicago, a job he kept until 1865. 

On the first day of 1866, his wife, Mary E. Scripps, died suddenly of a heart attack. Scripps, whose health had long been failing, was devastated. He traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota, with the hope that the climate would ameliorate his health, but he died on September 21, 1866. 

Grace Locke Scripps was born in 1863 to John L. and Mary E. Scripps. Both her parents died in 1866, when Grace was only three. Her paternal aunt, Lydia Scripps Little, became her legal guardian and subsequently raised her. Lydia was the wife of George Little (1808-1896), of Rushville, Illinois. Grace attended the Northwestern University Preparatory School and enrolled at Northwestern in 1883 but did not graduate. In 1896 she married Frank Berry Dyche, a prominent Chicago attorney. Dyche, a graduate of Northwestern's College of Liberal Arts and the Law School (1880 and 1883), was a cousin of William A. Dyche, businessman, former mayor of Evanston, and Northwestern University's business manager from 1903 to 1934. Frank Dyche survived until 1944. Their only child, Helen (1904-1973), also attended Northwestern (Liberal Arts 1925).

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Scripps Family Papers

Identifier: 31/6/86
Abstract The Scripps Family Papers, primarily handwritten correspondence spanning the years 1836-1924, are contained in two-and-a-half boxes and divided into nine subseries: Biographical, John L. Scripps Correspondence, Mary E. Scripps Correspondence, Miscellaneous Scripps Family Correspondence, Grace Scripps Dyche Correspondence, Clippings, Scripps Financial Records, and Miscellaneous Materials. Materials are arranged chronologically within each folder whenever dates are available. Undated materials...
Dates: 1836-1924