Harold Fowler McCormick

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Harold Fowler McCormick
Harold Fowler McCormick.jpg
Born (1872-05-02)May 2, 1872
Died October 16, 1941(1941-10-16) (aged 69)
Employer International Harvester Company
Spouse(s) Edith Rockefeller
(m.1895—1921; divorced)
Ganna Walska
(m.1922—1931; divorced)
  • John Rockefeller McCormick
  • Editha McCormick
  • Harold Fowler McCormick, Jr.
  • Muriel McCormick
  • Mathilde McCormick
Parents Cyrus Hall McCormick
Nancy Fowler
Harold Fowler McCormick with his wife Edith Rockefeller

Harold Fowler McCormick (May 2, 1872 — October 16, 1941) was an American businessman. He was chairman of the board of International Harvester Company and a member of the McCormick family.[1]


Harold was born on May 2, 1872 to inventor Cyrus Hall McCormick (1809—1884) and philanthropist Nancy Fowler (1835—1923).[2] In 1895 he married Edith Rockefeller (1872—1932), the youngest daughter of Standard Oil co-founder John Davison Rockefeller (1839—1937) and schoolteacher Laura Celestia "Cettie" Spelman (1839—1915). Harold became the third inaugural trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation. He was also a trustee of the Rockefeller-created University of Chicago. He and Edith had five children (the eldest two died young) before divorcing in December 1921:

  • John Rockefeller McCormick (February 24, 1896 — January 2, 1901), died young from Scarlet fever
  • Editha McCormick (September 17, 1897 — June 11, 1898)
  • Harold Fowler McCormick, Jr. (November 15, 1898 — January 6, 1973),[3] who married Anna Urquhart Brown Potter. She was previously married to James Alexander Stillman and was the daughter of James Brown Potter and Mary Cora Urquhart.
  • Muriel McCormick (1903 — March 18, 1959)[4]
  • Mathilde McCormick (April 8, 1905 — May 18, 1947)[5]

As an officer of the Aero Club of Illinois, founded February 10, 1910, McCormick became the third president in 1912, following Octave Chanute and James E. Plew.[6][7]

In 1914, McCormick, Plew, and Bion J. Arnold attempted to form a commuter airline which they announced would begin service in May, "using seaplanes to ferry passengers between various North Shore suburbs and Grant Park and the South Shore Country Club. Lake Shore Airline, which had two seaplanes, was intended to be a profit-making venture charging a steep twenty-eight-dollar round-trip fare between Lake Forest and downtown Chicago on four daily scheduled circuits. However, Chicago's irregular weather, especially the crosswinds, made a shamble of schedules, and the airline disappeared before the end of the year."[8][9]

After his divorce from Edith, Harold married opera singer Ganna Walska.[10] They divorced in 1931.

During the transition period between these two women, McCormick sought to fortify himself by undergoing an operation by Serge Voronoff, a surgeon who specialized in transplanting animal glands into aging men with impotency.[11] He resided at 1000 Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. Harold became chairman of the board of International Harvester Company in 1935, replacing his older brother Cyrus Jr. (1859–1936).

He died on October 16, 1941.[1][12]


Orson Welles claimed that McCormick's lavish promotion of his second wife's opera career—despite her renown as a terrible singer—was a direct influence on the screenplay for Citizen Kane, wherein the titular character does much the same for his second wife. (Samuel Insull, Thomas Edison's private secretary and later president of a utilities holding empire that included Commonwealth Edison, built the Chicago Civic Opera House (now the Lyric Opera) for his wife, Gladys Wallis, and was another influence, along with actresses Hope Hampton and Marion Davies.)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Harold McCormick Industrialist, Dies. Chairman of the International Harvester Co., Which His Father, Cyrus, Founded. Sponsored Successful Search for Scarlet Fever Antitoxin. A Supporter of Opera". New York Times. October 17, 1941. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  2. ^ Leander James McCormick (1896). Family record and biography. pp. 303–304. 
  3. ^ "Harold Fowler McCormick, Jr.". Find a Grave. 
  4. ^ "Muriel McCormick". Find a Grave. 
  5. ^ "Mathilde McCormick". Find a Grave. 
  6. ^ Young, David M., "Chicago Aviation: An Illustrated History", Northern Illinois University Press, Dekalb, Illinois, Library of Congress card number 2002033803, ISBN 0-87580-311-3, page 54.
  7. ^ Young, David M., "Chicago Aviation: An Illustrated History", Northern Illinois University Press, Dekalb, Illinois, Library of Congress card number 2002033803, ISBN 0-87580-311-3, page 56.
  8. ^ Chicago Tribune, January 25, 1918; Harold F. McCormick, "From My Experiences Concerning Aviation," speeches of December 1 and 8, 1917, before the Psychological Club of Zurich, Switzerland, McCormick Collection, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison.
  9. ^ Young, David M., "Chicago Aviation: An Illustrated History", Northern Illinois University Press, Dekalb, Illinois, Library of Congress card number 2002033803, ISBN 0-87580-311-3, page 57.
  10. ^ "Walska the Bride of H. F. McCormick. Wedded in Quiet Paris Ceremony, With Mr. and Mrs. Malone the Only Witnesses. Posting Of Banns Waived. Official Says Couple Gave an 'Immense Amount' to Poor. Union Illegal in Illinois". Associated Press in the New York Times. August 12, 1922. Retrieved 2012-09-04. "Harold F. McCormick of Chicago, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the International Harvester Company, and Mrs. Alexander Smith Cochran, known to the music world as Mme. Ganna Walska, were married quietly today in the City Hall of the select Passy district of Paris." 
  11. ^ Grossman, Ron. (March 31, 1985) Chicago Tribune Lost lake shore drive: Mourning an era; Mansions of rich and famous yield to giant condos. Section: Real estate; Page 1.
  12. ^ "Harold Fowler McCormick". Associated Press. October 17, 1941. Retrieved 2010-08-02. "Harold Fowler McCormick, who passed on yesterday, was the son of Cyrus Hall McCormick, and former president and chairman of the board of International Harvester Co....." 

Further reading[edit]

  • Chernow, Ron. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. New York: Warner Books, 1998.
  • (Harvester World) Issue v.22, no.1, January 1942.