Public spaces for entertaining and the family’s private spaces occupy this floor. The central core dates to 1896 while wings on the east and west sides were added during a massive expansion in the early 1930s. The McCormick family spent most of their time on this floor once the additions were completed.
Named for Joseph Medill who built this house in 1896, this space interprets the home’s early years and occupants. After Medill’s death in 1899, the home passed to his daughter Katherine and then to her son Robert R. McCormick. During Medill’s era, this room served as a welcoming space for visitors, today it showcases Medill’s connections to the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln.
Visitors enter the Robert R. McCormick Museum through this space where Robert’s butler once greeted his guest. This centrally located room opens into the dining room, drawing room and long hall and boasts a three-story tall main staircase featuring four spindle designs.
A seventy-foot long hand-painted mural adorns the walls. Maryland McCormick purchased it during a trip to China. When she moved to Washington DC after Robert died, she had the painting removed and transported to her new home. Upon her return to Chicago 20 years later, she donated the painting to the Robert R. McCormick Museum and it was returned to the dining room walls.
Serving staff required space to organize food service for meals. Created during the 1930s remodeling, this room includes cabinet and drawer space for dozens of plates, serving pieces and glassware plus a small refrigerator to keep cold foods chilled. An electric dumbwaiter leads to the dish pantry in the basement.
Colonel’s Dressing Room
The Museum’s West Wing includes private spaces for Robert and his wife. Each person got a dressing room, bedroom and private bath.
This room was used by Robert R. McCormick as a home office and a quiet place to read. You might also notice the 1947 radio, a gift from his WGN employees, by the desk.
Today we have staged this room to create a greater focus on McCormick’s career with the Chicago Tribune and his extreme interest in the First Amendment.
Robert R. McCormick’s Bedroom
This space focuses on McCormick’s military career and connection to the First Infantry Division. He was passionate about his service and renamed his estate Cantigny after the WWI battle that his division fought in. McCormick helped veterans during his lifetime and asked that the McCormick Foundation carry on that legacy.
Many of the pictures and paintings in the room are from McCormick’s office at the Chicago Tribune. They are displayed at Cantigny by his request.
Maryland McCormick’s Bedroom
This room was primarily used as a bedroom by McCormick’s second wife, Maryland. You will still find her desk and TV, along with the custom-built TV remote Robert had made.
We have also used this space to create an exhibit about Amy McCormick, Robert’s first wife, in order to honor her service in WWI as an ambulance driver and nurse. You will also find a small collection of WWI posters in this space to honor the efforts of women in the Great War.
Household servants used this passage to move from the entry hall to the West Wing. They could access the bedrooms and sitting rooms without disturbing Colonel or Mrs. McCormick who might be using adjacent rooms.
Build as part of the original 1896 house, the McCormicks entertained guests in this comfortable room. Robert and Maryland posed here for one of their Christmas card photographs.
Robert added this room during the home’s 1930s remodeling. With twenty-two foot high ceilings, imported Brazilian butternut wood-paneled walls and a striking Art Deco bar, this room reflects Robert’s personality. Here he installed one of the house’s two elevators; this one delivers firewood from a basement access room to the fireplaces on the north and south walls. In 1937, Robert returned to Cantigny, France at the request of General Pershing and delivered a speech dedicating the 1st Division’s monument there. His will requested the speech be preserved here.
Robert McCormick collected handguns, long guns and edge weapons from all over the world. Many pieces from his sword collection line the wood paneled hallway between Freedom Hall and the Drawing Room.