Katharine Meyer Graham

Graham, Katharine Meyer, 1917–2001, American publisher, b. New York City, grad. Univ. of Chicago (1938). She first worked as a copy girl at the Washington Post, which was owned by her father, Eugene Meyer; after college, she joined the San Francisco News. After she returned to the Post, she met and married (1940) Philip Graham, who joined the paper and later became publisher; she soon became a well-known Washington socialite. After her husband's suicide (1963), she took over The Washington Post Company and over the years greatly expanded it; the organization came to include television stations and cable systems among its holdings. As publisher (1969–79) of the Post, she transformed the newspaper, which had improved during her husband's tenure but was still relatively mediocre, into one of the country's finest and most influential journals. Concurrently, she transformed herself into one of Washington's most powerful figures. Graham became particularly well known for withstanding political pressure from the Nixon administration when she approved the printing of the Pentagon Papers and when she supported the Post 's active pursuit of the Watergate story, for which it won a 1973 Pulitzer Prize. Her son, Donald E. Graham, succeeded her as publisher in 1979 (serving until 2008) and as chair of the board in 1993. He oversaw the sale of newspaper to Jeffrey Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, in 2013.

See her autobiography, Personal History (1997; Pulitzer Prize); H. Bray, Pillars of the Post (1980); C. M. Roberts, In the Shadow of Power (1989); C. Felsenthal, Power, Privilege, and the Post: The Katharine Graham Story (1993).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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