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Chicago Newspapers

This guide provides a background on newspapers in Chicago, where to locate newspapers, general information on historical newspapers and sources for further research

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Archival Sources

  • Robert Abbott
    Chicago Defender founder Robert Abbott was born in Georgia in 1868. Abbott moved to Chicago after graduating from the Hampton Institute in 1899 and obtained a law degree. After moving to various locales in search of opportunities, in 1905 Abbott started the Chicago Defender which would grow into national force whose voice was heard far beyond Chicago. The Defender played an important role in the migration of African Americans into Chicago. Sleeping car porters would deliver issues of the Defender to out of state communities. The Defender attracted southern African Americans with descriptions of better jobs and more freedom available in Chicago. By the time of Abbott's death in 1940 he had established the most influential African American newspaper in the country. More information about Abbott can be found in The Defender by Ethan Michaeli, Chicago Defender by Myiti Sengstacke Rice, and The lonely warrior; the life and times of Robert S. Abbott by Roi Ottley. Abbott's papers are housed in the Chicago Defender archives.
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  • Delos Avery
    Originally working on the New York World, Avery first came to Chicago to work for the Chicago American in 1911, returned to New York in 1917 as a reporter for the New York Evening World and then came back to Chicago, permanently, in 1923 to work at the Chicago Herald Examiner. In 1943 Avery joined the Chicago Tribune. Both a columnist and a poet, Avery’s column “Rimes and Remnants” appeared in the Tribune in the 1950s and early 1960s and included thoughts on literature, art, and poetry. There is no collection of Avery’s papers but some correspondence can be found in other archival collections including: Ashton Stevens Papers, ca. 1850-1952 (correspondence from 1946-1947), the Selma Walden Papers, 1890-1979, (correspondence from 1944-1948). Some manuscript material is included in the records for Poetry: A Magazine of Verse. Records, 1895-1961. Other sources that will provide some information on Avery include "Delos Avery, Poet, Writer, is Dead at 82: Newspaper Career Spanned 49 Years." Chicago Tribune, Feb 07, 1966, pg. C10; "A Line 0' Type or Two: Memory." Chicago Tribune (1963-1996), Sep 23, 1966.
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  • Robert Hardy Andrews
    Andrews had been city editor at the Minneapolis journal before he became editor of the Chicago Daily News's Midweek in 1924. Andrews would later go on to write for radio, television, and films as well as authoring his own novels. More information about Andrews can be found in his book A Corner of Chicago published in 1963. Andrews's papers are held at UCLA Library Special Collections.
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  • John Nicholas Beffel
    Early in his career labor activist, publicist, and writer Beffel was a reporter with the Chicago Daily News (and other newspapers ). Beffel's papers are housed at the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University.
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  • Bruce Biossat
    Washington Correspondent for the Newspaper Enterprise Association, worked at the Chicago Daily News. Biossat's papers are held at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University.
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  • Earl Calloway
    Longtime fine arts reporter for the Chiago Defender, Calloway would review and help many artists during their careers. Calloway's music reviews in the Defender covered multiple genres and were a mainstay in the paper for decades. In addition to his newspaper work Calloway was an accomplished vocalist who perfomred in many operas and also established various music and cultural programs in Chicago. Calloway helped to make readers aware of various performers such as the Jackson 5, the playright Charles Gordone, and many others. Further information on Calloway can be found in a biography on the History makers web site, interviews and in interview transcripts in the Barbara E. Allen papers held at the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature, Carter G. Woodson Regional Library.
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  • Robert Casey
    For many years a columnist and foreign correspondent for the Chicago Daily News. Also an author of many books on a variety of topics. Casey's papers are held at the Newberry Library
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  • Charles A. Davis
    Held numerous positions at the Chicago Defender between 1946 and 1959 and then started the public relations firm Charles A Davis Associates Inc.. The Chicago Public Library holds Davis's papers.
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  • Robert Davis
    A reporter with the Chicago Tribune from 1967-1999 Davis's papers are held at the Wisconsin Historical Society.
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  • Charles H. Dennis
    Denis was managing editor of the Chicago Daily News from 1901-1934. Dennis's papers are held at the Newberry Library.
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  • Edward Eulenberg
    A Chicago reporter for 50 years, Eulenberg worked first for the City News Bureau and later for the Chicago Daily News. Eulenberg's papers are held at the Newberry Library
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  • Richard J. Finnegan
    Finnegan was a longtime Chicago reporter who was editor and publisher of the Chicago Times and later first editor of the Chicago Sun-Times. Finnegan's papers are held at the Chicago History Museum.
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  • Maurice Fischer
    Fischer was a reporter, columnist, and editor at the Chicago Daily News. His papers are held at University of Notre Dame Archives.
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  • Charles Larkin Flanagan
    Flanagan was a Tribune reporter who served in World War I. His papers are held at Chicago History Museum.
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  • Jack Fuller
    Jack Fuller is a former reporter, editor, and publisher for the Chicago Tribune and later was President of the Tribune Company. Fuller's papers are held at Newberry Library.
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  • Virginia Gardner
    A Chicago reporter and activist Gardner was fired from the Chiago Tribune for joining the Newspaper Guild. Forced by the National Labor Relations Board to give Gardner her job back, Tribune publisher Robert McCormick decreed that her byline could not appear on any articles. However, when Gardner was able to break the story of the canonization of Frances Xavier Cabrini (Mother Cabrini) the Tribune relented and included her byline with the story. Gardner's papers are held at the Tammiment Library and Robert Wagner Labor Archives at New York University.
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  • Georgie Anne Geyer
    A foreign correspondent for the Chicago Daily News and later a syndicated columnist, Geyer was also a prolific author with numerous books published. Geyer's papers are held at the Northwestern University Archives.
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  • Robert Gruenberg
    A Chicago native, Gruenberg served in a number of roles for the Chicago Daily News before becoming Washington Bureau Chief of the Chicago American. Gruenberg later returned to the Daily News in its Washington Bureau. Gruenberg's papers are held at the Newberry Library.
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  • Ben Hecht
    A well known reporter, novelist, playwright and screenwriter, Ben Hecht worked for the Chicago Daily Journal from 1910 to 1914 and the Chicacgo Daily News from 1914 to 1923. Hecht's papers are held at the Newberry Library.
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  • George Wheeler Hinman
    Hinman came to Chicago in 1897 when he bacame editor of the Chicago Inter Ocean. Hinman had distinguished himself at the New York Sun, having assumed the position of editorial director at the time of his departure for Chicago. Hinman's fiery editorials advocated for the Inter Ocean in a protracted leagel battle with the Associated Press and also with former Inter Ocean publisher Herman Kohlsaat. In 1902 Hinman purchased the Inter Ocean from Charles T. Yerkes. Hinman eventually sold the Inter Ocean back to Kohlsaat in 1912 and subsequently became president of Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio. In 1921 Hinman returned to Chiago to become the publisher of the Hearst Newspaper the Chiago Herald and Examiner and in 1923 becamane manager of business and financial operations for all Hearst newspapers. Hinman died in Winnetka, Illinois in March, 1927. More information on Hinman can be found in contemporary newspaper articles such as: "Comes to edit Inter Ocean: Yerke's Man, G. W. Hinman OF New York, Arrives at Office of the Paper." Chicago Daily Tribune. November 19, 1897, page 7; "George W. Hinman. Something About the Talented Journalist Who Now Controls the Chi Chicago Inter Ocean." Washington Bee. February 1, 1902 page 4; "Geo. W. Hinman, Editor, Business Expert, Is Dead: Passes Away at Winnetka After 2 Day Illness." Chicago Daily Tribune. April 1, 1927, page 19.
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  • Walter Howey
    Walter Howey was born in Ft. Dodge, Iowa where he became a newspaper editor while still in his teens. Famous for loud headlines and stories on exciting and sometimes scandalous events Walter Howey came to Chicago in 1903 and joined the Chicago Daily News as a reporter. Howey later worked at the Chicago Evening American and the Inter Ocean before becoming city editor of the Chicago Tribune. Howey distinguished himself early on in his Chicago career by being one of the first reporters on the scene of the Iroquois Theater fire in 1903. In 1917 Howey was made Editor in Chief of the Hearst paper, the Chicago Herald Examiner where he used his skills to raise circulation with bold headlines and sensational stories. Sometimes obscured by his reputation for the dramatic were innovations pioneered by Howey such as columns about movies, radio, and a medical issues. Howey also invented photoelectric engraving machine and a "sound photo" machine the enabled pictures to be transmitted by telephone. Howey moved to Boston in 1922 where he raised the circulation of the struggling Boston American. Later Howey became an advisor to William Randolph Hearst and served as Editor in Chief for several Hearst papers. There is no biography of Howey but more information on him can be found in these sources:
    • Stevens, Paul H. "Walter Crawford Howey: Fort Dodge's Most Famous Journalist." The Palimpsest. 56 (1975), 22-32.
    • McEvoy, J P. "Here's Howey." Cosmopolitan. Vol. 124 (6) (Jun 1948), 68-69, 168-171.
    • Walter Howey, 72, Newsman, Dies in Sleep: Model for 'Front Page' Managing Editor." Chicago Tribune. (March 22, 1954), B4.
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  • James Keeley
    Managing editor and General manager of the Chicago Tribune following Joseph Medill's death in 1899. Keeley stayed in this role until 1914 when Robert McCormick and Robert Patterson assumed the running of the Tribune. After leaving the Tribune Keeley purchased and merged the Chicago Record-Herald and the Daily Inter-Ocean into the Chciago Herlad which was eventually purchased by William Randoph Hearst in 1919. Keeley served as the Herald's war corespondent during World Way I. More informaiton about Keeley can be found in the 1937 biography James Keeley, newspaperman by James Weber Linn. Keeley's papers are held at the University of Wyoming.
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  • Herman H. Kohlsaat
    Kohlsaat became rich through the ownership and operation of lunch counters offering affordable food for workers in the Chicago area. In 1891 Kohlsaat purchased the controlling interest in the Chicago Inter Ocean. Although having no newspaper experience, Kohlsaat proved to be an innovative publisher, inaugurating color printing, and other promotional activities. In 1894 Kohlsaat sold his interest in the Inter Ocean back to editor William Peen Nixon. Later on Kohlsaat purchased the Chicago Times Herald, the Chicago Evening Post, and the Chicago Record, merging these publications into the Record Herald. Kohlsaat later returned to run the Inter Ocean in 1912 and then went on to become a New York Times staff memebr. Kohlsaat's papers are held in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
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  • Jack Lait
    Lait was a reporter and theater critic for the Chicago Herald. Lait was also a playwright and novelist. Lait's papers are held at the University of Oregon Libraries.
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  • Eric Lund
    Eric Lund worked at the Chicago Daily News and theEvanston Review. Lund also held many roles in the Swedish-American Historical Society. Lund's papers are held at the Northwestern Univeristy Archives
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  • Hazel MacDonald
    Hazel McDonald worked at a number of newspapers in the United States. In Chicago, McDonald wrote for the Chicago American from 1918-1920 and again from 1923-1925 and 1931-1938. McDonald then became an overseas correspondent for the Chicago Times in 1939-1940 and continued with the Times until 1946. McDonald's papers are held at the Newberry Library.
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  • Jack Mabley
    Mabley was a reporter and columnist for a number of Chicago papers including the Chicago Daily News, the Chicago American, Chicago Today, and the Chicago Tribune. Mabley was known for writing on corruption, racketeering, and the 1968 Democratic National Convention among other topics. Mabely's papers are held at the Newberry Library.
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  • Mario Manzardo
    In the 1970s Manzardo wrote a number of articles on Chicago neighborhoods including Pullman, Roseland, and Kensington. Publications these articles appeared in included the South End Reporter and the Hyde Park Herald Manzardo's papers are held at the University of Minnesota.
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  • John T. McCutcheon
    McCutcheon forst worked for the Chicago Morning News where he was a editorial cartoonist, reporter, and, during the Spanish American War and the Beor War, a war correspondent. McCutcheon moved to the Chicago Tribune in 1903 and remained there until 1946. McCutcheon's papers are held at the Newberry Library.
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  • LeRoy "Buddy" McHugh
    Buddy McHugh joined the City News Bureau in 1910. In 1915 he was hired by the Chicago American as a crime reporter where remained until his retirement in 1963. McHugh was immortalized in the Broadway show The Front Page as the character Buddy McHugh. During his career McHugh covered many famous stories including the capsizing of the excursion oat the Eastland, the Leopold and Loeb murder case, and the St. Valentine's day massacre among others. In 1965 McHugh was named press veteran of the year by the Chicago Press Veterans Association. Some additional information on McHugh can be found in the following sources: "Press Veteran Buddy McHugh to be Honored." Chicago Tribune (June 22, 1965), a2.; "Honor Ex-Reporter." Chicago Tribune (October 4, 1965), a2; "Mr. Front Page' is alive and well." Norma Lee Browning Chicago Tribune (August 7 1974) b12; "Metropolitan: Buddy McHugh dies; he lived 'Front Page." Hartzell, Wesley. Chicago Tribune (May 16,1975) a12.
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  • John C. Metcalfe
    As a reporter for the Chicago Times John C. Metcalfe did undercover work investigating the German American Bund in 1937. Notes, reports, and related materials for this work are held at the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University.
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  • Ruth E. Moore
    Ruth E. Moore was a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1950-1970. During this period Moore often wrote on community issues and city planning. Moore's papers are held at the Chicago History Museum.
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  • M. W. Newman
    Newman held numerous positions for the Chicago Daily News from 1945-1978 and the Chicago Sun-Times from 1978-1994. Newman wrote on public affairs issues such as organized crime, public housing, and segregation. Newman's papers are held at the Newberry Library
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  • Hoke Norris
    Hoke Norris was a reporter, novelist, and editor who worked for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1958-1968 and the Chicago Daily News from 1968-1970. The Hoke Norris papers are held at the Newberry Library
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  • Joseph Medill Patterson
    For several years Joseph Medill Patterson shared the publishing duties at the Chicago Tribune with his cousin Robert McCormick from 1910 to 1919 after which he started the New York Daily News. Patterson's papers are held at Lake Forest College.
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  • Ethel Payne
    Ethel Payne was a columnist and reporter for the Chicago Defender from the 1950s into the 1970s. Ethel Payne's papers are held at the Chicago History Museum. In addition the Ethel Payne Photograph Collection is also held at the Chicago History Museum.
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  • Mike Royko
    Royko was a nationally known syndicated columnist who began working for the Chicago City News Bureau in 1956 and then joined the Chicago Daily News in 1959. A Pulitzer Prize winner, Royko later worked for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. Royko's papers are at the Newberry Library.
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  • Jonathan Young Scammon
    Scammon was a lawyer who arrived in Chicago in 1835 and subsequently held a number of judicial positions and was active in various civic and business enterprises. Scammon founded three newspapers in Chicago, the Chicago Journal, the Chicago Republican, and the Chicago Inter Ocean. The Inter Ocean was a major newspaper throughout the midwest in the late 19th century and enjoyed a national reputation although Scammon had relinquished control of the paper to William Penn Nixon in 1875. Scammon’s papers are housed at the University of Chicago and further information on Scammon can be found in the following sources: Biographical sketches of some of the early settlers of the city of Chicago. William H Bushnell; Robert W Patterson; James Taylor. Chicago : Fergus Print. Co., 1876; Jonathan Young Scammon. Thomas Wakefield Goodspeed. Chicago : University of Chicago, 1923.
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  • John Sengstacke
    Nephew of Chicago Defender founder, Robert Abbott, Sengstacke started working for the Defender in 1933, assuming the role of publisher upon his uncle's death in 1940. Sengstacke helped to build and maintain the Defender as the preeminent African American Newspaper in the United States. Sengstacke continued as publisher until his death in May 1997. Sengstacke's papers are included in the Abbot - Sengstacke family papers held at the Chicago Public Library.
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  • Horatio Winslow Seymour
    Seymour was an editor for several Chicago newspapers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Seymour was with the Chiago Times from 1875-1883, the Chicago Herald from 1883-1895 and the Chicago Chronicle from 1895-1907. In 1907 Seymour left Chicago and joined the New York World. Seymour's papers are held at the Newberry Library.
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  • Chuck Stone
    Chuck Stone was a nationally known columnist who was editor in chief of the Chicago Defender from 1963-1964. Stone's papers are held at Duke University.
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  • Melville Elijah Stone
    When he was 23 years old Melville Elijah Stone was hired by John Scammon to be managing editor of the Chicago Republican which was soon to become the Daily Inter-Ocean. Stone later founded the Chicago Daily News and for many years was editor at that paper under publisher Victor Lawson. In 1893 Stone became general manager of the almost new Associated Press which he is creditied with building into a power in both foreign and domesitic news. Stone's autobiography, Fifty Years a Jouranlist, publised in 1921, is a good source of further information.
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  • Dorothy Storck
    Dorothy Storck gained prominence as a reporter in Chicago for the Chicago American and Chicago Today. Storck's coverage of the Detroit riots for the American in 1967 brought her national recognition. Storck's papers are held at the Newberry Library.
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  • Wilbur F Storey
    By the time he arrived in Chicago in 1861, Wilbur F. Storey had already proven himself adept as a newspaper publisher through his success revitalizing the financiall troubled Detroit Free Press. In 1861 Storey purchased the Daily Chicago Times and built its circulation with sensational news stories, vehement criticism of President Abraham Lincoln, and detailed coverage of the Civil War. The Daily Times under Storey was known for sensational headlines, graphic coverage of crime, and often, attacks on prominent members of society. After Storey’s death in 1884 The Chicago Daily Times declined and eventually ceased publishing in 1895. Further information about Storey can be found in the 1968 biography of Storey by Justin E. Walsh, To Print the News and Raise Hell! A Biography of Wilbur F. Storey. After Storey’s death his will was contested and the Chiago History Museum holds [Scrapbook of clippings about the contested wills of Wilbur F. Storey, 1884-1887].
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  • Maurine Watkins
    Watkins was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune in the 1920s. Watkins later went on to became a playwright. Watkins work included the play "Chicago." Watkins's papers are held at Yale University.
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  • John Wentworth
    Second editor and owner of the Chicago Democrat and later Mayor of Chicago, Governor of Illinois, and member of the US House of Representatives. Papers are held at the Chicago History Museum.
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  • Bess Winakor
    Writer and correspondent for Home Furnishings Daily (1967), Women's Wear Daily (1967-1974) W (1972-1973) and the Chicago Sun-Times from 1974-1978. Papers held at Newberry Library.
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  • Charles T. Yerkes
    Charles T. Yerkes was an investment banker from Philadelphia who had served time in prison for embezzlement and is known for his efforts to control public traction companies in Chicago. Coming to Chicago in 1882, Yerkes invested in these companies and eventually controlled almost all of the cable cars lines in Chicago and started to develop elevated railways. It was during this period that Yerkes attempted to obtain long term franchises for his traction companies from the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois. To help in his campaign to do this, Yerkes acquired the Chicago Inter Ocean in 1897 as a means to provide editorial support for his franchise attempts. These efforts proved to be failure and Yerkes sold the Inter Ocean in 1902. More informaiton on Yerkes's life can be found in Robber baron : the life of Charles Tyson Yerkes by John Franch (University of Illinois Press, 2006), and Charles Tyson Yerkes : the traction king of London by Tim Sherwood (Tempus, 2008).
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