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Robert R. McCormick. Business correspondence

Identifier: I-60

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Scope and Contents

This collection consists for the most part of that part of Robert R. McCormick’s business correspondence which does not relate directly to the Chicago Tribune. It includes a great deal of material on The Associated Press, The American Newspaper Publishers Association, and other organizations; The Ontario Paper Company; political matters, including McCormicks’s correspondence with U.S. presidents, senators, congressmen, etc.; his correspondence with other newspaper publishers throughout the country; various freedom of the press files; and some personal and family correspondence, as well as many other categories.

Most of the collection dates from 1927 to Colonel McCormick’s death in 1955, though a few files are from an earlier period. Two folders on James Keeley, for example, are dated 1913-1914.

Family letters are scattered throughout the collection, among them correspondence between Colonel McCormick and Joseph N. Patterson, Eleanor Medill Patterson (under New York News), and Ruth McCormick Miller (under Washington, D.C. newspapers - The Washington Times-Herald).


  • 1927 - 1955


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.


139 Boxes

Language of Materials



The papers of Robert R. McCormick (editor and publisher of the Chicago tribune) consist primarily of business correspondence dating from 1927-1955. This correspondence does not relate directly to the Chicago Tribune, but includes a great deal of material on organizations related to the newspaper publishing business and various political personages and departments, freedom of the press issues and some personal and family correspondence.


Arrangement completed prior to receiving collection from the McCormick Foundation.


The organization of topics in this finding aid generally follows the original filing system as set up by Colonel McCormick's secretaries: a single alphabetical arrangement of topics and names (names of persons, organizations, laws, and other entities).

Names of persons are inverted ("Roosevelt, Eleanor"; "Shroeder, R. W."). Names of organizations that begin with personal names are likewise inverted. ("Edward G. Budd Manufacturing Co." is listed as "Budd, Edward G., Manufacturing Co.".) In this filing arrangement, names beginning "Mc" are filed as if they begin "Mac".

The "General" sub-heading under many topics has in most cases been moved to be the first sub-heading under a category. The location of a few other items has been adjusted to correct the alphabetical sequence. The result of these relocations is that the order of items in the finding aid does not always precisely mirror the order of folders in individual boxes.

The categorization of topics present in this list was developed over time and by different people; it is not rigorous, and there are exceptions to any rule whose existance might appear to be implied by an inspection of a single part of the listing. Although many names and topics appear directly in the alphabetical list, others of a similar nature are subordinate to another topic or name. (For example, Colonel McCormick’s correspondence with Winston Churchill is listed under "Great Britain", but his correspondence with William Benton is listed under "Benton". "National Editorial Association" appears under its own name, but "National Association of Manufacturers" is listed under "Organizations." America's Civil War is listed directly as "Civil War", but the Revolutionary War is listed under "Wars.") A few topics appear both as independent entries, and subordinate to relevant topics. (For example, Harold L. Ickes appears both directly under "Ickes", and subordinately under "National Recovery Act (NRA)"; the list contains both "Labor organizations" and the subdivision "Labor" under "Organizations"; the list contains both "Chicago newspapers" and "Newspapers, Chicago".) Most newspapers are entered subordinately to the name of a place (city, state or country), but others are entered directly under their own names.

Many names appear under "United States" headings. For example, senators are filed alphabetically under "United States. Senate"; representatives under "United States. House of Representatives"; Navy and Army personnel under "United States. Departments of - Navy Department" and "United States. Departments of - War Department." Although some United States presidents are filed under their surname, others are listed under another term. (Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt are listed under their surnames, but Dwight D. Eisenhower is listed under "United States. Departments of - War Department - Eisenhower, Dwight D. (General)".)

A degree of hierarchical arrangement was introduced into the original alphabetical sequence when the Tribune Company Archive arrived at Northwestern University, to make the list easier to consult. This began with the grouping of entries by initial letter, but was extended to additional levels as appropriate. However, the terms used in the list as it was originally constructed have not been updated to follow more recent practice. (For example, the list uses "Negro" instead of "African American", and "Semite" instead of "Jews".) The names of married women are often (but not always) expressed in terms of the husband's name. (For example, the list uses "Blaine, Emmons (Mrs.)" instead of "Blaine, Anita McCormick".)

When looking for anything in this list, do not stop after a single attempt. If the term does not appear at its expected place in the alphabet, also check for the term as a subordinate to another term. Even if the term appears at its expected place in the alphabet, additional material on the same subject may also be entered subordinately to another term.

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.

Related Materials

For correspondence between Colonel McCormick and his Chicago Tribune associates, see Tribune Company Files (I-61, 22 boxes) and Foreign Correspondence Files (I-62, 13 boxes). The Colonel's person papers (I-63, 34 boxes) should also be noted. For earlier papers, see I-23, Personal and Business Papers, 1904-1914; and for other McCormick papers consult the guide to manuscripts in the Tribune Company Archives.


Note: This collection is not included in the card index to Tribune Company Archive collections

Guide to the Robert R. McCormick. Business correspondence
Lee Major
March 4, 1980. Updated 2020-04 and 2021-06
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