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Field Enterprises records

 Collection
Identifier: Midwest-MS-Field Enterprises

Scope and Content of the Collection

The collection is primarily the work of longtime Field employee Herman Kogan, who in the capacity of Field Enterprises Corporate Historian salvaged much of the material. The collection is not a complete record of the companies and newspapers that were owned by Field Enterprises, but rather a patchwork of materials that Kogan found relevant and interesting.

The collection includes administrative, promotional, and legal materials, correspondence, photographs, and artifacts from the Chicago Daily News, the Sun and Times Company, the Chicago Sun-Times, Field Communications, and other miscellaneous holdings owned by Field Enterprises. The collection contains correspondence from the Field Enterprises executive branch, including Marshall Field III, Marshall Field IV, and Marshall Field V, as well as Milburn (Pete) Akers, Emmett Dedmon, Larry Fanning, Larry Sizer, and Walter Strong. Correspondence from various Chicago Daily News and Chicago Sun Times employees is also present, including Keyes Beech, Jacob Burck, Milt Caniff, John Drury, Georgie Anne Geyer, Smith Hempstone, James Hoge, Herman Kogan, Irv Kupcinet, Ann Landers, Baker Marsh, Paul Scott Mowrer, Richard Scott Mowrer, Lou Pryor, Sterling Quinlan, Mike Royko, Nick Shuman, George Weller, and Lois Wille.

Due to preservation concerns, some audio materials are not available for patron use at this time. See series description for more details.

Dates

  • 1858-2007
  • Majority of material found within 1950 - 1975

Creator

Language

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Field Enterprises records are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Conditions Governing Audiovisual Access

Some audiovisual recordings in this collection have been digitized. Researchers may access materials in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Field Enterprises records are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

History of Field Enterprises (including the Chicago Daily News, the Sun & Times Company, the Chicago Sun-Times, and Field Communications)

Chicago media conglomerate founded by Marshall Field III. The company was dissolved in 1984.

Field Enterprises, Inc. was incorporated on August 9, 1944, and initially consisted of the Chicago Sun newspaper, founded by Marshall Field III in 1942. In December 1945 the company acquired the Quarrie Corporation, publisher of World Book Encyclopedia and Childcraft. In 1948 Quarrie was merged into Field Enterprises and operated as Educational Corporation.

In 1947 Field Enterprises bought the Daily Times, a popular evening tabloid. Both papers published daily out of the Times' building at 211 W. Wacker Dr., the Sun in the morning and the Times in the afternoon, but less than a year later combined to form the morning newspaper the Chicago Sun-Times. Daily Times sportswriter Irv Kupcinet debuted Kup's Column in 1948 for the new Sun-Times. The popular column, which chronicled Chicago nightlife and gossip, would remain a fixture in the Sun-Times until Kupcinet's death in 2003. During the next 10 years, Field Enterprises expanded into a major media company with the acquisition of radio stations in Chicago, Cincinnati, Seattle, and Portland, publishing companies Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, and Parade Publications, and the background music businesses Air Music and Functional Music.

Marshall Field III died in 1956, and Field Enterprises experienced a period of considerable expansion under Marshall Field IV. Educational Corporation's World Book instituted a science service which provided newspapers with information on NASA and American astronauts. Field's Newspaper Publisher's Syndicate offered services to newspapers in the United States, Canada and Europe, including advice columnist Ann Landers, Milt Caniff's comic Steve Canyon, and political cartoonist Bill Mauldin. The Sun-Times had begun construction on a new, modern building at 401 N. Wabash St. on the Chicago River, and the newspaper moved operations there with much fanfare in 1957. In 1959 Field Enterprises acquired the Chicago Daily News, an evening paper with a long and celebrated history in Chicago. Founded by Melville Stone in 1875, then bought by Victor Lawson in 1876, the Chicago Daily News maintained a consistently influential position in the Chicago newspaper market. The Daily News' Foreign Service was founded in 1898 to cover the Spanish-American war, and was the forerunner of the modern worldwide wire services. The paper won numerous Pulitzer Prizes over the years, and foreign correspondents including Edward Price Bell, Paul Scott Mowrer, George Weller, and Keyes Beech elevated its reputation with their dispatches from around the world. In 1961 the Daily News moved from its building at 400 W. Madison St. into the Sun-Times building at 401 N. Wabash, and the two papers shared equipment and resources but continued to publish separately. During the Field years, the Daily News carried on under the leadership of executive Larry Fanning, who worked with editor Herman Kogan to develop the sophisticated arts and politics supplement Panorama.

In the late 1950s Field Enterprises also bought Paper Flotation, Inc., and the Manistique Paper Company to supply the growing newspaper empire. By 1966 Field Enterprises had expanded into television with the acquisition of WFLD-TV, followed by other stations in Boston, San Francisco, Detroit and Philadelphia. The company had also acquired several radio stations including KOIN, WJJD, and WFMF, and these along with WFLD-TV made up much of the Field Communications branch of Field Enterprises.

Marshall Field IV died in 1965, and Field Enterprises assets were split between his sons Marshall Field V and Frederick Woodruff (Ted) Field. Having no prior newspaper experience, Marshall Field V apprenticed in every department of the newspaper division and in 1969 ascended to publisher of the Sun-Times and Daily News. The 1970s saw an increase in popularity for the Sun-Times under editor James Hoge, who recruited film critic Roger Ebert, emphasized lifestyle stories and established a tradition of tough investigative reporting. Concurrently, the Chicago Daily News was experiencing a decline. Though the paper featured popular columnist Mike Royko and pioneering female foreign correspondent Georgie Anne Geyer, circulation for the afternoon paper dropped steadily due to the rise of television and a loss of readership from relocated suburban residents. In 1977 the paper unveiled a new design in an attempt to attract younger readers, but the Daily News finally folded after ninety-one years in 1978.

In 1982, Field Enterprises co-owner Ted Field, who did not reside in Chicago and felt disconnected from the company, decided to concentrate his resources on business interests in the entertainment industry. Under the terms of Marshall IV's will, the brothers could either buy each other out or force a liquidation of the company. Marshall Field V declined to buy his brother out, and the dismantling of Field Enterprises began with the sale of WFLD-TV, followed by the other television stations. In an unpopular decision, the Chicago Sun-Times was sold to Australian businessman Rupert Murdoch's News Corp in 1984. The paper's style changed abruptly, and its tone became more sensational and its politics more Republican. Many longtime employees, among them columnist Mike Royko and editorial writer Lois Wille, both former Daily News employees who stayed on at the Sun-Times, defected to the rival Chicago Tribune. Murdoch later sold the Sun-Times to Hollinger International, which was renamed the Sun-Times Media Company in 2006, after a scandal involving Hollinger board member Conrad Black.

Extent

163 Linear Feet (154 boxes, 17 oversize boxes, and 12 bound volumes, and 107 scrapbooks)

Abstract

Administrative, promotional, and legal materials, correspondence, photographs, and artifacts of Field Enterprises, the umbrella conglomerate under which the Chicago Daily News, the Chicago Sun and Times company, the Chicago Sun-Times, and Field Communications Corporation eventually fell.

Organization

Papers are organized in the following series:
Series 1: Chicago Daily News, 1882-2007
Boxes 1-34
Series 2: Sun & Times Company, 1917-1979
Boxes 35-42
Series 3: Chicago Sun-Times, 1934-1984
Boxes 43-79
Series 4: Newspaper Division, 1943-1980
Boxes 80-109
Series 5: Field Communications, 1932-1977
Boxes 110-121
Series 6: Other Holdings, 1945-1981
Boxes 122-127
Series 7: Photographs, 1858-1975
Boxes 128-151
Series 8: Artifacts and Audiovisual, 1955-1983
Boxes 152-154
Series 9: Scrapbooks, 1950-1982
Volumes 1-107

Collection Stack Location

1 17 1-7, 1 18 1-2, 1 16 5-7

Provenance

Gift of Field Enterprises via Herman Kogan, 1984.

Processed by

Lisa Janssen and Kelly Kress, 2008.

Acknowledgements

This inventory was created with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Creator

Title
Inventory of the Field Enterprises records, 1858-2007, bulk 1950-1975
Status
Completed
Author
Lisa Janssen and Kelly Kress
Date
©2008.
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2011-08-02: Revisions, additions, and updates were made.

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts Repository

Contact:
60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States
312-255-3512