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Joseph Medill McCormick

United States Senator
from Illinois
In office
March 4, 1919 – February 25, 1925
Serving with Lawrence Yates Sherman, William B. McKinley
Preceded by J. Hamilton Lewis
Succeeded by Charles S. Deneen

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1917 – March 3, 1919

In office
1912 – 1914

Born May 16, 1877(1877-05-16)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died February 25, 1925 (aged 47)
Washington, D.C., United States
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Ruth Hanna McCormick
Alma mater Yale University

Joseph Medill McCormick (May 16, 1877 - February 25, 1925), known as Medill, was a Representative and a Senator from Illinois. He was the brother of Robert Rutherford McCormick, grandson of Joseph Medill, and son of Robert Sanderson McCormick.


Early life

Born in Chicago in 1877, McCormick attended preparatory school at Groton, Massachusetts and graduated from Yale University in 1900, where he was elected to the secret society Scroll and Key. He engaged in newspaper work as reporter, publisher, and owner of the Chicago Daily Tribune. He also later purchased an interest in the Cleveland Leader and Cleveland News. He was a war correspondent in the Philippine Islands in 1901. In 1903 he married Ruth Hanna, daughter of Ohio Senator Mark Hanna.

Joining and leaving the 'Chicago Tribune'

McCormick's mother, Katherine Medill McCormick, was the daughter of 'Tribune" founder Joseph Medill and hoped that leadership of the paper would pass from her brother-in-law, Robert Wilson Patterson, to her son. Medill took over much of the management of the paper between 1903 and 1907, but became increasingly depressed and alcoholic. In 1907-1908, he spent some time under the care of Carl Jung in Zurich, subsequently following Jung's advice to detach himself from the family newspaper.[1]

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. Afterwards he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, serving 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 by suicide after his failed renomination campaign in 1924. In the Senate, McCormick was chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of Labor and the Committee on Expenditures in Executive Departments.

Joseph Medill McCormick was interred in Middle Creek Cemetery, near Byron, Illinois[2]. He was the husband of Ruth Hanna McCormick and father of Al-Marah Arabians owner Ruth "Bazy" McCormick Miller Tankersley and of Katrina McCormick Barnes. His son Medill, called "Johnny," died in a mountain-climbing accident in 1938.


  1. ^ Miller, Kristie (1992). Ruth Hanna McCormick: A Life in Politics. ISBN 0-8263-1333-7.  
  2. ^ Joseph Medill McCormick Retrieved on May 11, 2008
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
U.S. Representative from Illinois
1917 - 1919
Succeeded by
United States Senate
Preceded by
J. Hamilton Lewis
Class 2 U.S. Senator from Illinois
1919 - 1924
Succeeded by
Charles S. Deneen


  • Joseph M. McCormick at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • 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.


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