Skip to main content

Joseph Medill (1823-1899) archives

Identifier: III-10

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

This collection consists chiefly of letters to Joseph Medill. It also includes a few of his own early writings, letters from Joseph Medill, and documents related to Joseph and Katharine Medill. These papers, along with those in collections III-9, IV-4, and VI-5, contain valuable source material for researchers interested in the genealogy of the Medill, Patterson and McCormick families, Chicago Tribune and Tribune Company history, Chicago history, the origins and early days of the Republican Party, 19th century political figures (both national and local) who corresponded with Joseph Medill, and other related subjects.

The collection includes a copy of James O'Donnell Bennett's analysis of the collection.


  • 1840 - 1899


Conditions Governing Access

Box 336 of this collection is stored off-site and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection. There are no restrictions on the use of these materials for research. All patrons must comply with federal copyright regulations.


5 Boxes

Language of Materials



Letters to Joseph Medill (managing editor of the Chicago Tribune), some of Medill's early writings, and documents related to Joseph Medill and Katharine Medill


Arrangement completed prior to receiving the collection from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. The materials in this collection are labeled B1-B290, and housed in their boxes in that order. The materials are listed in this finding aid in a more strict chronological order, which is broadly similar to but not the same as the arrangement of the materials.

This finding aid combines information from a card file indexing the letters to Medill (but not the other documents) by name of correspondent, with much additional information drawn from the documents themselves.

Boxes 1A, 1B, 2A and 2B contain the original documents; boxes 3 and 4 contain copies of those documents. Box 5 contains originals and copies of more of the editorial memos contained in III-9.

Custodial History

This collection existed as an entity when the Tribune Company Archives was created in 1973. It appears to be a selection of items from the Joseph Medill papers (III-9) made by James O'Donnell Bennett in 1934, at Colonel Robert R. McCormick's request, to determine if a book could be made of the material. Based on Bennett's analysis, and because the papers are well-organized and numbered, this group of 290 items has been maintained as found, rather than put back into the original collection.

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) archives
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