Joseph M. McCormick

Joseph Medill McCormick

In 1912 as Illinois representative
United States Senator
from Illinois
In office
March 4, 1919  February 25, 1925
Preceded by J. Hamilton Lewis
Succeeded by Charles 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 by Burnett M. Chiperfield
Succeeded by Richard Yates
Member of the
Illinois House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born (1877-05-16)May 16, 1877
Chicago, Illinois
Died February 25, 1925(1925-02-25) (aged 47)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Ruth Hanna McCormick
Alma mater Yale University

Joseph Medill McCormick, known as Medill McCormick (May 16, 1877 – February 25, 1925), 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. He committed suicide at age 48, a few months after losing his bid for renomination to a second term in the Senate.

Early life

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

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

The Chicago Tribune

McCormick was the 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 Robert Rutherford McCormick (1880–1955) became involved in the newspaper, and worked closely on it for four decades.[4]

Political career

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. He died on February 25, 1925 in a hotel room in Washington, DC.[5] Although it was kept quiet at the time, his death was considered suicide.[6] McCormick was interred in Middle Creek Cemetery, near Byron, Illinois.[7]

Family tree

Paternal side

Maternal side


  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 10 March 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. "Joseph M. McCormick (id: M000369)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  7. Joseph Medill McCormick at Find a Grave
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Burnett M. Chiperfield
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's at-large congressional district

1917  1919
Succeeded by
Richard Yates
United States Senate
Preceded by
J. Hamilton Lewis
Class 2 U.S. Senator from Illinois
1919  1925
Served alongside: Lawrence Yates Sherman, William B. McKinley
Succeeded by
Charles S. Deneen
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