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Joseph Medill (1823-1899) papers

Identifier: III-9

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of letters to Joseph Medill (managing editor of the Chicago Tribune) from political and business contacts and friends (508 items); a small collection of letters from Medill; a large group of editorial memos and directives from Medill to various editors of the Chicago Tribune, 1870-1899; biographical information in the form of clippings, documents and printed matter; and material reflecting a number of interests of Medill.

The 508 letters to Medill are included in the card index of letters to Medill in the Tribune Company Archives. They are arranged chronologically, and numbered M1 to M508; the original letters are in boxes 1 and 2, carbon typescript copies are in boxes 3 and 4.


  • 1850 - 1899


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on use of the materials in the department for research; all patrons must comply with federal copyright regulations.


14 Boxes

Language of Materials



Letters to and from Joseph Medill, managing editor of the Chicago Tribune


Arrangement completed prior to receiving the collection from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation

Custodial History

The Medill-McCormick-Patterson family letters and early business papers were preserved originally by Joseph Medill and his wife, Katherine Patrick Medill, and passed on to their two daughters, Mrs. Robert W. (Eleanor Medill) Patterson and Mrs. Robert S. (Katharine) McCormick, mother of Robert R. McCormick. In a letter to Professor Tracey E. Strevey in 1934, Colonel McCormick stated, "Upon my mother's death two years ago, a trunk of letters came into my possession ... I am having them sorted and will run over them as soon as I can." These letters are incorporated into the Tribune Company Archives as III-9, III-10, and IV-4. In 1952, McCormick purchased the Patterson collection (now VI-5 in the Tribune Company Archives) from the estate of Eleanor Medill Patterson, daughter of Mrs. Robert W. Patterson. The collections of both sisters are similar, and complement each other; in any study of the family both should be consulted.

The Medill-McCormick-Patterson family letters and early business papers were in storage in Tribune Tower at the time of Colonel Robert R. McCormick's death in 1955. Parts of the material had been sorted, studied and described by various people assigned to the job from time to time by the Colonel and others after his death, but they remained stored in filing cabinets with his own early papers until 1973 when Tribune archivist Harold Hutchings began incorporating these into the Tribune Company Archives.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Chicago Tribune Company, and Nexstar Media Group on January 10, 2020, accession #SPEC-2020-1.

Guide to the Joseph Medill (1823-1899) papers
Lee Major. Input from typescript by Gary L. Strawn
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Library Details

Part of the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US