Medill, Joseph (mədĭlˈ) [key], 1823–99, American journalist, b. near St. John, N.B., Canada. His family moved to a farm near Massillon, Ohio, in 1832. He was admitted to the bar in 1846, but in 1849 abandoned law and with his three brothers bought the Coshocton Whig, which he renamed the Republican. In 1851 he founded the Daily Forest City in Cleveland and later merged it with a Free-Soil paper to form the Cleveland Leader. Medill bought an interest in the Chicago Tribune in 1855, became its managing editor and business manager, and from 1874 until his death had absolute control of the paper. He was important in the formation of the Republican party (he is credited with having suggested its name) and was a warm supporter and friend of Lincoln. In the Civil War he advocated the emancipation and arming of the slaves and during Reconstruction backed the radical Republicans in Congress. He was a member of the Illinois constitutional convention of 1869, was one of the first U.S. civil service commissioners (1871), and was elected (1871) mayor of Chicago. Medill's two daughters and their children went on to found a newspaper dynasty that included the Washington Times-Herald, Newsday, and New York's Daily News.
See J. Tebbel, An American Dynasty (1947), and M. McKinney, The Magnificent Medills (2001); P. Kinsley, The Chicago Tribune (3 vol., 1943–46).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.