Nancy Fowler McCormick

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Nancy "Nettie" Fowler (1835–1923) was an American philanthropist. She was also a prominent member of the McCormick family


She was born in 1835 and was raised by her grandmother in Clayton, New York. She attended Emma Willard School in Troy, New York. She met Cyrus Hall McCormick in 1857 while visiting friends in Chicago. They were married in 1858. While Cyrus was working out a controversy involving his patent of the reaper they lived in Washington, DC. She had a keen business sense and became a great asset to her husband. Nettie became his financial counselor and oversaw many of the business affairs. She toured expositions in McCormick's interest making contacts for the company. In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed McCormick Harvesting Machine Company. But, despite Cyrus' thoughts of retirement afterward, Nettie insisted on rebuilding even larger than before.[1]

The McCormicks provided $100,000 to bring the Hanover Seminary to Chicago.[2] The school was renamed McCormick Theological Seminary soon after Cyrus's death in 1884. Nettie continued to fund buildings, endowing professorships, and scholarships at the seminary even after his death.[3] Nettie donated to over forty schools and colleges.[4] At the time of her death she left more than $1 million to be divided among various institutions. At Tusculum College, one of the many colleges Nettie supported, every September 13 observes Nettie Fowler McCormick Service Day. On this day students perform community service in her honor.[5] She is buried at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago.


  1. ^ "American Experience - Chicago: City of the Century - People & Events". Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  2. ^ The Philanthropy Hall of Fame, Nettie Fowler McCormick
  3. ^ "McCormick Theological Seminary - Cross-Cultural Urban Reformed Ecumenical". Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "A421 List of People". Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "TUSCULUM COLLEGE - News for Alumni, Parents and Friends". Retrieved 30 October 2014. 

External links[edit]

  • Graceland Cemetery
  • Mrs. McCormick
  • National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. "Mrs. Cyrus Hall McCormick." National Cyclopaedia of American Biography 31 (1931): 80-81.