I opened this article thinking it would be about Chicago newspaper tycoon and erstwhile Lincoln advisor, Joseph Medill, and it is, in a way: Turns out that Medill and his grandchildren were responsible for three of America’s best-known dailies: The Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News, and the Washington Herald, which was eventually merged into the Washington Post.
Medill had two contentious, competitive daughters — “the worst two she-devils in all Chicago,” a public evaluation from none other than their own father. Older sister Nellie married newspaperman Robert Patterson, who worked for his father-in-law. Kate married Robert McCormick, a diplomat. Each had two children.
Of Kate’s sons, Joseph Medill McCormick served in the U.S. Senate but, plagued by alcoholism and depression, killed himself at 47. The self-styled “Colonel” Robert Rutherford McCormick grew The Tribune into “the world’s greatest newspaper.”