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American Women: Resources from the Manuscript Collections

Washington Post

Several collections relate to women's involvement with the Washington Post. Evalyn Walsh McLean (1886-1947), the daughter of millionaire Thomas F. Walsh, married into the McLean family, which owned the newspaper. She became the grande dame of Washington society in the first half of the twentieth century. Her papers (45,000 items; 1874-1948) document her much-publicized divorce, various libel suits, her involvement in the Lindbergh kidnapping case and Teapot Dome scandal, and her ownership of the Hope diamond. They also concern the Walsh family's Colorado mining interests and the McLean family's publishing operations.

An interview and other materials about McLean appear in the papers of Washington Post society editor Hope Ridings Miller (800 items; 1887-1998; bulk 1934-90), who worked for the newspaper in the 1940s, edited Diplomat magazine in the 1950s and 1960s, and wrote several books on the architecture and social life of the capital city.

In 1933, the Meyer family purchased the Washington Post, and aspects of the newspaper business may be traced in the papers of both Agnes Elizabeth Ernst Meyer (1887-1970) and her husband Eugene Meyer (78,500 items; 1819-1970). Agnes's papers (70,000 items; 1907-70) document her life as an author, literary and art critic, social reformer, and philanthropist. Included are notes from her student days at Barnard College, diaries detailing life in Washington, D.C., in the 1920s, and family correspondence with her parents, husband, and children, including daughter Katharine Meyer Graham. Agnes was instrumental in lobbying for the creation of a cabinet-level department of health, education, and welfare, and her papers contain materials on that topic and on her work with the President's Commission on the Status of Women and the National Citizens Commission for the Support of the Public Schools.

The Washington Post Historical Collection (45,000 items and 6,209 digital files; 1880-2015; bulk 1942-2007) contains correspondence and subject files spanning the long history of the newspaper and includes materials related to Agnes E. Meyer, Katharine Graham, Meg Greenfield, and countless other women involved with newspaper.

Additional correspondence with Agnes Meyer, Helen Rogers Reid, and other newspaperwomen may also be found in the papers of St. Louis Post-Dispatch publisher Joseph Pulitzer (67,500 items; 1897-1958; bulk 1925-55).

Evalyn Walsh McLean, 1886-1947. Circa 1914. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Marion S. Trikosko. Katharine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, half-length portrait, seated at desk. Circa April 7, 1976. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Manuscript Resources Referenced

The following collection titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content, including finding aids for the collections, are included when available.