Robert R. McCormick (1880-1955) led an exciting life. His interests ranged from journalism to fox-hunting to aviation. He believed in public service and was elected Alderman of Chicago’s 21st Ward in 1904 and President of the Chicago Sanitary District in 1905. He became a citizen-soldier, serving in the Illinois National Guard in 1915 and in the First Infantry Division during World War I. Here he achieved the rank of Colonel, an honor he acknowledged the rest of his life.
In 1911 he was elected President of Tribune Company and devoted the next 44 years to publishing and editing the Chicago Tribune. He created an important media empire, Tribune Company which grew from a single newspaper to a media giant because Colonel McCormick created radio and television stations and built newsprint factories and printing plants.He enjoyed the life of a gentleman-farmer, operating the Tribune Experimental Farms in Wheaton and Yorkville, Illinois and influenced the creation of Meigs Field, an airport in Chicago.
He married twice, first to Amy Irwin Adams, who lived at Cantigny until her death in 1939, and later to Maryland Mathison Hooper, with whom he traveled the world.
Upon his death, his will established the Robert R. McCormick Charitable Trust, known today as the McCormick Foundation, which established Cantigny as a public park and created a charitable trust to fund programs to foster communities of educated, informed and engaged citizens.