Victor Fremont Lawson (September 9, 1850 – August 19, 1925) was an American newspaper publisher who headed the Chicago Daily News from 1876 to 1925. Lawson was president of the Associated Press from 1894 to 1900, and was on the board of directors from 1900 to 1925. Outside of the newspaper business, he was involved in various philanthropic causes in Chicago.
Lawson's family grew rich from real estate dealings in Chicago, and held stakes in a Norwegian-language newspaper called the Skandinaven. The Chicago Daily News, founded by Melville E. Stone, Percy Meggy and William Dougherty in 1875, was a tenant in the same building as the Skandinaven. The Daily News was struggling, but Victor Lawson decided to invest in it in July 1876, becoming its manager. Within twenty years, its circulation grew to 200,000 people. Lawson mainly focused on the business aspects of the paper, while Stone and others worked as editors. Helping to fuel the paper's success was Lawson's ability to attract advertisers. Lawson provided clear circulation figures to businesses and promised consistent rates for advertisements.
The Daily News employed Eugene Field, one of the first major newspaper columnists, and contained a mix of fiction, household advice, and reports on city happenings. David Paul Nord writes, "It was quintessentially an urban newspaper, committed to private business but also to activist government, to social welfare, and to the broad public life of the city. It was a progenitor of the kind of progressive reform politics that came to flower in many cities during the early twentieth century." In 1898, Lawson founded an early foreign news service, which became a key component of the Daily News.
- David Paul Nord. "Lawson, Victor Fremont". American National Biography Online. Oxford University Press. February 2000. Retrieved on October 11, 2011.
- "Victor Freemont Lawson". Chicago, Illinois: Newberry Library. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
Victor Freemont Lawson was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 9, 1850. His father, Iver Lawson, was a Norwegian immigrant, a laborer who came to prosperity buying and selling real estate in Chicago during the mid 1800s. Little is known about his mother Melinda Nordvig ...
- "Iver N. Lawson. Brother of Late Chicago Publisher Dies Here of Pneumonia". New York Times. April 2, 1937. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
Iver N. Lawson, brother of the late Victor F. Lawson, editor and publisher of The Chicago Daily News, died Wednesday night in St. Luke's Hospital at the age of 72.
- "V.F. Lawson Dies From Heart Attack. Publisher of Chicago Daily News Expires Suddenly in His Home. Edited Paper 49 Years. Was a Founder of The Associated Press". Associated Press in the New York Times. August 20, 1925. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
Victor F. Lawson, editor and publisher of the Chicago Dally News, died at his home here tonight after an illness of two days.
- "Victor Lawson, Famous Chicago Publisher, Dies". Pittsburgh Press. August 20, 1925. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
Lawson was just well started on the fiftieth year of his work as publisher of the ... father was Iver Lawson who came to Chicago from western Norway. ...
- "Victor F. Lawson is dead". Chicago Daily Tribune. August 20, 1925.
- Matt Hucke and Ursula Bielski. Graveyards of Chicago. Lake Claremont Press, 1999. 21.
- David Paul Nord. "Stone, Melville Elijah." American National Biography Online. Oxford University Press. February 2000. Retrieved on October 15, 2011.
- Abramoske, Donald J. "The Founding of the Chicago Daily News." Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (1966): 341-353. in JSTOR
- Cole, Jaci, and John Maxwell Hamilton. "A Natural History of Foreign Correspondence: A Study of the Chicago Daily News, 1900-1921." Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly (2007) 84#1 pp: 151-166.
- Dennis, Charles Henry. Victor Lawson: his time and his work (1935; reprint Greenwood Press, 1968); 471pp; scholarly biography