Merrill C. Meigs

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Merrill C. Meigs
Merrill C. Meigs, University of Chicago.jpg
Meigs, University of Chicago, 1905
Merrill Church Meigs

(1883-11-25)November 25, 1883
DiedJanuary 26, 1968(1968-01-26) (aged 84)
Resting placeMount Hope Cemetery
OccupationPublisher, pilot, journalist
  • Ethel May Harmon
    (m. 1912, death)
  • Blanche Noe McKeever (m. 1960)

Merrill Church Meigs (November 25, 1883 – January 26, 1968) was the publisher of the Chicago Herald and Examiner in the 1920s. Inspired to become a pilot by Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, he became a booster of Chicago as a world center of aviation.[2]:158 He gave flying lessons to President Harry S. Truman.[2]:158–159

Life and career[edit]

Meigs (pronounced "Megz", rhymes with "eggs") was born in Poweshiek County, Iowa, the son of Church Paddleford Meigs and Julianna S. (Burrell) Meigs. He grew up on a farm near Malcom, Iowa, where he was more interested in the mechanical devices used to raise crops than actually farming. In 1901, he took a job as a salesman for the J.I. Case Threshing Machine Company in Racine, Wisconsin. Within a year, he was in charge of the company's sales for South America. Despite not having graduated from high school, Meigs was allowed to enroll at the University of Chicago, where he played football under Amos Alonzo Stagg and also played baseball and water polo. He was the starting left guard of the 1905 University of Chicago national championship team .[3]While at the college, he would also be the campus correspondent for the Chicago Herald and Examiner, of which he would become the executive later in his life. During World War II, Meigs served on the Office of Production Management as the aircraft expert.[2]:128, 145, 158–160, 164

In time Meigs would become a senior vice president of the Hearst Corporation, publisher of the old Chicago American newspaper as well as becoming the head of the Chicago Aero Commission. Meigs insisted that in addition to Midway Airport (then called Municipal Airport) and O'Hare Field (then called Orchard-Douglas), the city needed an airfield within ten minutes of the Loop. It opened in December 1948 and was renamed Meigs Field in his honor the following year.[2]:158

Meigs retired in 1962 and became a consultant to the newspaper industry. He died at age 84.



  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d Herman, Arthur (2012). Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-1-4000-6964-4.
  3. ^ The Cap and Gown. University of Chicago. 1906. Retrieved January 14, 2018.