Medill McCormick

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Medill McCormick
Joseph Medill McCormick 1912.jpg
McCormick in 1912
United States Senator
from Illinois
In office
March 4, 1919 – February 25, 1925
Preceded byJ. Hamilton Lewis
Succeeded byCharles S. Deneen
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's at-large district
In office
March 4, 1917 – March 3, 1919
Preceded byBurnett M. Chiperfield
Succeeded byRichard Yates
Member of the
Illinois House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Joseph Medill McCormick

(1877-05-16)May 16, 1877
Chicago, Illinois
DiedFebruary 25, 1925(1925-02-25) (aged 47)
Washington, D.C.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Ruth Hanna
Children3, including Bazy
ParentsRobert Sanderson McCormick
Katherine Medill
Alma materYale University

Joseph Medill McCormick (May 16, 1877 – February 25, 1925), called Medill, was part of the McCormick family of businessmen and politicians in Chicago. After working for some time and becoming part owner of the Chicago Tribune, which his maternal grandfather had owned, he entered politics.

After serving in the State House, he was elected both as a Representative in the United States Congress and later as a US Senator from Illinois.

Early life[edit]

Joseph Medill McCormick was born in Chicago on May 16, 1877. His father was the future diplomat Robert Sanderson McCormick (1849–1919), who was a nephew of Cyrus McCormick.

McCormick attended the Groton School, a preparatory school at Groton, Massachusetts. He graduated from Yale University in 1900, where he was elected to the secret society Scroll and Key.

He worked as a newspaper reporter and publisher, and became an owner of the Chicago Daily Tribune. He later purchased interests in The Cleveland Leader and Cleveland News. In 1901 he served as a war correspondent in the Philippine Islands.

Marriage and family[edit]

In 1903 he married Ruth Hanna, daughter of the Ohio Senator Mark Hanna. They had three children:

  • Ruth "Bazy" McCormick, (1921–2013) who married Peter Miller and then Garvin Tankersley. As Bazy Miller, she founded Al-Marah Arabians, a breeding and training farm for Arabian horses formerly in Tucson, Arizona, which is still operating, now in Florida, under the ownership of her son, Mark Miller.[1]
  • Katrina McCormick (1913–2011), who married Courtlandt Dixon Barnes Jr.[2]
  • John Medill McCormick, called "Johnny", died in a mountain-climbing accident in 1938.

The Chicago Tribune[edit]

McCormick was a grandson of the Tribune owner Joseph Medill. His mother Katherine Medill McCormick hoped that leadership of the paper would pass from her brother-in-law, Robert Wilson Patterson, to her first son. Joseph McCormick took over much of the management of the paper between 1903 and 1907, but became increasingly depressed and developed alcoholism. In 1907–1908, he spent some time under the care of the psychoanalyst Carl Jung in Zurich, and subsequently followed Jung's advice to detach himself from the family newspaper.[3]

His younger brother, the famed "Colonel" Robert McCormick (1880–1955) became involved in the newspaper, worked closely on it for four decades, and was a leading isolationist figure in the Republican Party.[4]

Political career[edit]

McCormick was vice chairman of the national campaign committee of the Progressive Republican movement from 1912 to 1914. He was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1912 and 1914.

Afterward he advanced to national office, being elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he served one term from March 4, 1917, to March 3, 1919. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1918, and served from March 4, 1919, until his death at age 48 in 1925. In the Senate, McCormick was chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of Labor and the Committee on Expenditures in Executive Departments.

McCormick lost the nomination in 1924 to Charles S. Deneen, who had previously served as the 23rd Governor of Illinois. He died on February 25, 1925, in his hotel suite at the Hamilton Hotel in Washington, DC.[5] Although it was not publicized at the time, his death was considered suicide.[6] McCormick was interred in Middle Creek Cemetery, near Byron, Illinois.[7]

Family tree[edit]

Paternal side[edit]

Maternal side[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Parkinson, Mary Jane (1998). ... and Ride Away Singing. Arabian Horse Owners Foundation. ISBN 978-1-930140-00-4.
  2. ^ McCormick, Katrina (June 15, 1935). "Katrina McCormick Weds Courtland Dixon Barnes, Jr" (PDF). Syracuse Herald. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  3. ^ Miller, Kristie (1992). Ruth Hanna McCormick: A Life in Politics. ISBN 0-8263-1333-7.
  4. ^ Richard Norton Smith (2003) [1997]. The Colonel: The Life and Legend of Robert R. McCormick, 1880–1955. Northwestern University Press. ISBN 978-0-8101-2039-6.
  5. ^ "National Affairs: Medill McCormick". Time magazine. March 9, 1925. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
  6. ^ United States Congress. "Medill McCormick (id: M000369)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  7. ^ Joseph Medill McCormick at Find a Grave
  • American National Biography
  • Dictionary of American Biography
  • Miller, Kristie. Ruth Hanna McCormick: A Life in Politics from 1880 to 1944. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1992
  • Stone, Ralph A. "Two Illinois Senators Among the Irreconcileables." Mississippi Valley Historical Review 50 (December 1963): 443–65.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
First Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Illinois
(Class 2)

Succeeded by
Charles S. Deneen
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Burnett M. Chiperfield
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Richard Yates
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
J. Hamilton Lewis
Class 2 U.S. Senator from Illinois
Served alongside: Lawrence Yates Sherman, William B. McKinley
Succeeded by
Charles S. Deneen