Alicia Patterson (October 15, 1906 – July 2, 1963) was the founder and editor of Newsday, which became a respected and Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper. With Neysa McMein, she created the Deathless Deer comic strip in 1943.
|Born||October 15, 1906|
|Died||July 2, 1963(aged 56)|
James Simpson, Jr.
(m. 1929; div. 1930)
Joseph W. Brooks
(m. 1931; div. 1939)
Harry Frank Guggenheim
|Parent(s)||Joseph Medill Patterson (father)|
Alice Higinbotham (mother)
Alicia was the middle daughter of Alice (née Higinbotham) and Joseph Medill Patterson, the founder of the New York Daily News, and the great-granddaughter of Joseph Medill, owner of the Chicago Tribune.[a] Her mother's father was Harlow Higinbotham, partner of Marshall Field's Department Store in Chicago. Patterson's sisters were Elinor (1904–1984) and Josephine (1913–1963).
The family lived on a farm in Libertyville, Illinois in her earliest years, during a period when her father eschewed capitalism. He returned to the publishing world in 1910, as editor of the Chicago Tribune. He sent Patterson to Germany to live with a family and learn German when she was four years old. During her childhood, Patterson was raised by her father as if she were his son. He taught her daring sports, like high diving and jumping while horseback riding, to test her courage.
Patterson attended the Francis Parker School and University School for Girls in Chicago. She was then sent to finishing schools in Maryland and Lausanne, Switzerland, from which she was expelled for violating the rules. She attended the Foxcroft School in Virginia, where she finished second in her class, and was then sent to a school in Rome where she was expelled for behavior issues.
|Ancestors of Alicia Patterson|
Patterson married James Simpson, Jr., the son of Marshall Field's chairman of the board, according to her father's bidding. The couple lived together only one year and were divorced in 1930. During that period, she learned how to fly a plane with her father and hunted game in Indochina.. In 1931 she married Joseph W. Brooks and was divorced in 1939.
In 1939, she married her third husband, Harry Guggenheim, who had been a United States ambassador to Cuba. Guggenheim was on active duty for the military during World War II, during which time Patterson ran Newsday. When Guggenheim returned, he ran the administrative aspects of the business.
She worked in the promotion department of her father's Daily News in 1927, before being assigned as a reporter. She socialized with other young reporters at speakeasies and misspelled the names of the parties involved in a high-profile divorce case, for which the newspaper was sued for libel. She returned to Chicago after she was fired, then married Harry Frank Guggenheim, who was Jewish.
Harry Guggenheim used a portion of the Guggenheim family's fortune to help his wife purchase a newspaper in Hempstead and found Newsday in 1940. Guggenheim awarded 49% of the paper's stock to his wife, and retained 51% for himself. Newsday's use of investigative journalism, "lively style", and coverage of liberal and international politics led it to become a respected newspaper. In 1954, it won the Pulitzer Prize and became the country's largest suburban magazine. Patterson used the paper as a vehicle to create an identity for Long Island.
John Steinbeck, Patterson's friend since 1956, wrote a series of articles in the form of "Letters to Alicia" for Newsday following her death. In them he expressed his controversial views, such as his support for President Lyndon B. Johnson's handling of the Vietnam War and his perception of moral decline within the United States. The series was written at the request of Harry Guggenheim, who became the editor of the newspaper following Patterson's death, with Patterson's nephew, Joseph Medill Patterson Albright, working as his assistant editor.[b]
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