Chicago Daily Journal

The Chicago Daily Journal (Chicago Evening Journal from 1861-1896) was a Chicago newspaper that published from 1844 to 1929.[1]

Chicago Daily Journal
Chicago Daily Journal February 12 1909
Front page for February 12, 1909
FoundedApril 22, 1844
Political alignmentWhig (-1850s), Republican (1850s-1904); Democratic (1904-)
Ceased publicationAugust 21, 1929
Circulation125,000 (1925 estimate)
OCLC number12352717


Originally a Whig paper, by the late 1850s it firmly became a Republican paper, and a strong supporter of Abraham Lincoln. Editor Charles L. Wilson made the motion to nominate Lincoln as the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate for Illinois in 1858. And Wilson (with others) helped Lincoln draft his challenge to Stephen A. Douglas to conduct the Lincoln–Douglas debates.[2][3][4]

In later years, after a 1904 sale, it became a Democratic paper.

The Journal was the first newspaper to publish the story (now believed false) that a cow owned by Catherine O'Leary was responsible for the Chicago fire in 1871.

In 1875, reporter Newton S. Grimwood died as the sole passenger in a balloon flight with noted balloonist Washington Harrison Donaldson.[5]

When screenwriter Ben Hecht was a young reporter for the paper in the 1910s, he dug a trench in Lincoln Park for a photograph to support a hoax story that the city had suffered a great earthquake.[6]

The Library of Congress identifies the official titles of the paper over its lifetime as: Chicago Daily Journal (1844-1853); Daily Chicago Journal (1853-1855); Chicago Daily Journal (1855-1861); Chicago Evening Journal (1861-1896); Chicago Journal (1896-1904); Chicago Daily Journal (1904-1929).


1919 Newspaper Circulation Chicago EP July 24 1919 p 31
Circulation figures for Chicago newspapers appearing in Editor & Publisher in 1919. The Journal's circulation of 116,807 ranked 5th among daily papers, substantially behind the Chicago Tribune (424,026), Chicago Daily News (386,498), Chicago American (330,216), and Chicago Herald-Examiner (289,094).

In April 1844, a group of men bought the two-year old Chicago Express. A few days later, publishing out of the former office of the Express, the Journal was first published, three years prior to the start of the Chicago Tribune.[7][2]

Richard L. Wilson acquired the paper from its founding group after the 1844 election. He served as editor, with a break when President Taylor appoited him postmaster of Chicago in 1849. When Wilson died in 1856, his brother Charles L. Wilson became sole owner.[2] When Lincoln appointed this Wilson to a diplomatic post in London in 1861, brother John L. Wilson managed the paper alone until Charles returned in 1864. Charles L. Wilson died in 1878,[8] and Andrew Shuman (Lieutenant Governor of Illinois from 1877-1881) then became editor in chief.[2] Shuman was associated with the paper for 33 years, starting as an assistant editor in 1856, and retiring as editor in 1888. George Martin and Slason Thompson succeeded as editors in the late 1880s and into the mid-1890s.[2][9][10]

James E. Scripps and his son-in-law George Gough Booth acquired the paper in 1895. George's brother Ralph also later acquired an interest, and became editor and publisher in 1900.[11][12]

John C. Eastman, who had run Hearst's Chicago operations, bought the paper from the Booths in 1904.[13][14][15][16] From 1904-06, the paper claimed it increased its daily circulation from 34,800 to 85,000.[17] He left the paper to five of his employees upon his death in 1925, when it had a claimed circulation of about 125,000. Samuel Emory Thomason, a prior general manager of the Tribune, along with John Stewart Bryan of The Richmond News Leader, bought the paper in 1928 for $2,000,000.[1][18] Richard J. Finnegan became managing editor of the paper in 1916.[19]

Demise and legacy

The Chicago Daily News purchased the name and circulation of the Journal in 1929, which printed its last issue on August 21, 1929.[20][7][21][22] But Thomason retained the Journal building and resources, and quickly launched the tabloid Daily Illustrated Times (with Finnegan continuing as managing editor).[23][24] That paper (simply known as the Daily Times after 1935) was merged into the Chicago Sun in 1948 to become the Chicago Sun-Times.[7] By way of that descent, the Sun-Times lays a claim to the 1844 lineage of the Journal.

Other Journals

Subsequent Chicago publications have also used the Chicago Journal name, though without any direct relationship to the prior paper. A weekly community paper went by the name from 1977 to 1984. And another weekly Chicago Journal lasted in a print edition from 2000 to 2012.[7]


  1. ^ a b (11 June 1928). The Press: Chicago Journal, Time
  2. ^ a b c d e Blanchard, Rufus. Discovery and Conquests of the Northwest with the History of Chicago, Vol. II, pp. 248-52 (1900)
  3. ^ White, Horace. The Lincoln and Douglas Debates, p. 17 (1914)
  4. ^ (12 February 1909). Charles L. Wilson of The Chicago Journal Was Active in Senatorial Campaign Against Douglas; Arranged Debtes, Chicago Daily Journal
  5. ^ Currey, J. Seymour. Chicago: Its History and Its Bulders, Vol. II, p. 289 (1918)
  6. ^ Petersen, Clarence (19 March 1995). The Man Who Tasted Shapes, Chicago Tribune
  7. ^ a b c d Studenkov, Ivan (12 December 2012). As paper shutters, a look back at the legacy of Chicago Journal, Chicago Journal
  8. ^ (13 March 1878). Hon. Charles L. Wilson (obituary), The New York Times
  9. ^ (19 January 1889). Compelled to Lay Down His Pen, The New York Times
  10. ^ Abbot, Willis J. Chicago Newspapers and Their Makers, pp. 660-61 (June 1895)
  11. ^ (9 April 1904). Chicago Paper in New Hands, The Fourth Estate
  12. ^ (26 January 1948). The Booth Lived Surrounded By Art, Life
  13. ^ (5 April 1904). Eastman is Said to Have Deserted W. R. Hearst, Indianapolis Journal
  14. ^ (5 April 1904). THE CHICAGO JOURNAL SOLD.; Oldest Daily in Illinois Purchased by John C. Eastman, The New York Times
  15. ^ Chciago Journal Changes Hands, Mahin's Magazine, p. 164 (May 1904)
  16. ^ (26 January 1925). Noted Chicago Editor and Newspaper Owner Dies Suddenly, Medina Daily Journal
  17. ^ Chico Daily Journal (ad), Edward P. Remington's Annual Newspaper Directory, p. 44 (1906)
  18. ^ (1 June 1928). Oldest Chicago Daily Sold, Brooklyn Daily Eagle
  19. ^ (24 July 1919). Newspaper Makers at Work, Editor & Publisher
  20. ^ (21 August 1929). Chicago Oldest Paper absorded; Its Last Issue Today, Cattaraugus Republican (Associated Press story)
  21. ^ (2 August 1929). Journal Joins Chicago News, Canton Daily News
  22. ^ (12 August 1929). The Press. Journal to News, Time
  23. ^ (21 March 1944). Veteran Newsman Dies in Florida, Wilson Daily Times
  24. ^ INVENTORY OF THE FIELD ENTERPRISES RECORDS, 1858-2007, BULK 1950-1975, The Newberry, Retrieved 26 November 2018
1856 Chicago mayoral election

In the 1856 Chicago mayoral election Thomas Dyer defeated former mayor Francis Cornwall Sherman. The race was shaped by the divisive national political debate surrounding the issue of slavery, particularly debate surrounding the controversial Kansas–Nebraska Act. The election was treated by many as a referendum on the Kansas-Nebraska Act.The election was held on March 10.

1914 All-Western college football team

The 1914 All-Western college football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Western teams chosen by various selectors for the 1914 college football season.

Arthur Sheekman

Arthur Sheekman (February 5, 1901 – January 12, 1978) was an American theater and movie critic, columnist, playwright and editor—but best known for his writing for the screen. His specialty was light comedy. Groucho Marx called him "The Fastest Wit in the West."

Chicago Daily Times

The Chicago Daily Times was a daily newspaper in Chicago from 1929 to 1948, and the city's first tabloid newspaper. It is best known as one of two newspapers which merged to form Chicago Sun-Times in 1948.

Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago Sun-Times is a daily newspaper published in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is the flagship paper of the Sun-Times Media Group, with the biggest circulation in Chicago and the 9th of the US.

Grand Ridge, Illinois

Grand Ridge is a village in LaSalle County, Illinois, United States. The population was 560 at the 2010 census, up from 546 in 2000. It is part of the Ottawa–Streator Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is a part of the geographic region known as Streatorland.

John Stewart Bryan

John Stewart Bryan (October 23, 1871 – October 16, 1944) was the member of a prominent Virginia newspaper family and was the nineteenth president of the College of William and Mary, serving from 1934 to 1942. He also served as the fourth American chancellor of the college from 1942 to 1944.

Prior to his service as president of the College of William and Mary, Bryan served as the publisher of Richmond Times-Dispatch and the president of the American Newspaper Publishers Association.

Luther D. Bradley

Luther Daniels Bradley (September 29, 1853 – January 9, 1917) was an American illustrator and political cartoonist associated with the Chicago Daily News. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, he graduated from Yale in 1875. After some years at his father's business, he traveled abroad, and spent over a decade in Melbourne, Australia, drawing for such publications as Melbourne Punch. He returned to Chicago in 1893, working for the Daily Journal and Inter Ocean, before joining the Daily News in 1899, where he spent the remainder of his life and career. He was known for strong anti-war sentiments, opposing U.S. involvement in World War I.

Mary McCormic

Mary McCormic (November 11, 1889 – February 10, 1981) was an American operatic soprano and a professor of opera at the University of North Texas College of Music (1945–1960).

For more than a decade (early 1920s to late 1930s), McCormic was among the most famous sopranos in the world. She was most known for her leading roles with the Paris National Opera, the Opéra-Comique (14 years), the Monte Carlo Opera, and the Chicago Civic Opera (10 years). She spent much of 1937 touring with the Kryl Symphony Orchestra.McCormic was born in Belleville, Arkansas. A onetime obscure Arkansas housewife, McCormic rose to stardom and enjoyed a colorful personal life — four marriages and four divorces (men of no resemblance to one another), almost a fifth, a high-dollar lawsuit defense for assaulting an unauthorized female biographer, boom and bust personal wealth, witty humor, and brush with royalty. McCormic captured world intrigue with the panache of the operas she starred in, all with the backdrop of being born at the end of the Gilded Age, growing up as a teenager during World War I, flourishing as an opera superstar through the Roaring Twenties, Prohibition, the Jazz Age, the Great Crash, and failing in her last two high-profile marriages in the throes of the Great Depression. She died, in her eighties, in Amarillo, Texas.

Pre-Code Hollywood

Pre-Code Hollywood refers to the brief era in the American film industry between the widespread adoption of sound in pictures in 1929 and the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code censorship guidelines, popularly known as the "Hays Code", in mid-1934. Although the Code was adopted in 1930, oversight was poor, and it did not become rigorously enforced until July 1, 1934, with the establishment of the Production Code Administration (PCA). Before that date, movie content was restricted more by local laws, negotiations between the Studio Relations Committee (SRC) and the major studios, and popular opinion, than by strict adherence to the Hays Code, which was often ignored by Hollywood filmmakers.

As a result, some films in the late 1920s and early 1930s depicted or implied sexual innuendo, miscegenation, mild profanity, illegal drug use, promiscuity, prostitution, infidelity, abortion, intense violence, and homosexuality. Strong female characters were ubiquitous in such pre-Code films as Female, Baby Face, and Red-Headed Woman. Gangsters in films like The Public Enemy, Little Caesar, and Scarface were seen by many as heroic rather than evil. Along with featuring stronger female characters, films examined female subject matters that would not be revisited until decades later in US films. Nefarious characters were seen to profit from their deeds, in some cases without significant repercussions, and drug use was a topic of several films. Many of Hollywood's biggest stars such as Clark Gable, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Blondell, and Edward G. Robinson got their start in the era. Other stars who excelled during this period, however, like Ruth Chatterton (who decamped to England) and Warren William (the so-called "king of Pre-Code", who died in 1948), would wind up essentially forgotten by the general public within a generation.Beginning in late 1933 and escalating throughout the first half of 1934, American Roman Catholics launched a campaign against what they deemed the immorality of American cinema. This, plus a potential government takeover of film censorship and social research seeming to indicate that movies which were seen to be immoral could promote bad behavior, was enough pressure to force the studios to capitulate to greater oversight.

Richard J. Finnegan

Richard J. Finnegan (1884-1955) was a prominent 20th century Chicago newspaper editor.

As a youngster, Finnegan worked as an office boy for the Chicago Chronicle. Covering the 1903 Iroquois Theatre fire was his first big story and was rewarded with a permanent reporter job. He later moved to the Chicago Inter Ocean, were he reported for two years, and studied law at night. He then moved to the evening Chicago Daily Journal, eventually rising to the role of managing editor of that paper in 1916.When owner Samuel Emory Thomason sold the Journal name and circulation to the Chicago Daily News in 1929 (but retaining the Journal building and equipment), he joined Thomason in founding Chicago's first tabloid newspaper, Chicago Daily Times. And in 1948, he helped merge that paper with the Chicago Sun to form the Chicago Sun-Times. He remained with the Sun-Times until he died in 1955.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.