Skip to main content

Melville E. Stone papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Stone

Scope and Content of the Collection

Stone’s papers include considerable correspondence concerning national and Illinois politics, the Associated Press and how it opened up the European market to America before and during World War I, the Chicago Daily News, and Stone’s active social life. Among the correspondents are eight presidents, Samuel Clemens [a.k.a. Mark Twain], Richard Harding Davis, Carter Harrison IV, Harry Houdini, Thomas Nelson Page, Joseph Pulitzer, Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, and many other notable figures. Also included are works, photographs, memorabilia, scrapbooks, and other personal documents.


  • Creation: 1815-1954
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1890-1929



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Melville E. Stone papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Melville E. Stone papers 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 at

Biography of Melville E. Stone

Founder and editor of Chicago Daily News, and general manager of the Associated Press.

Melville Elijah Stone was born in Hudson, Illinois on August 22, 1848. His father, Reverend Elijah Stone, was a Methodist minister, and his mother was Sophia Creighton. In 1860, the family moved to Chicago where Stone attended high school and began his journalism career.

From 1864 to 1875, Stone held various journalistic positions, working at different times as a reporter, correspondent, editor, and publisher for various Chicago newspapers. During some of these years Stone was the proprietor of an iron foundry that was destroyed by the 1871 Chicago fire, and he studied law. On November 25, 1869, he married Martha J. McFarland.

On Christmas day, 1875 Stone founded the Chicago Daily News, the original Chicago penny daily, which was well received—within a week the paper had to turn down advertisers because of lack of space. Soon after, Stone became associated with Victor F. Lawson, who contributed capital to the venture and became publisher of the paper while Stone retained editorship. In 1888, Stone sold his interests in the Chicago Daily News to Lawson and set off to travel with his family in Europe for several years.

In 1890, Stone returned to Chicago, becoming vice-president and then president of Globe National Bank. He held this position until 1898 when he consolidated the bank with the Continental Bank of Chicago. During this time, Stone was elected treasurer of Chicago Sanitary Department drainage board.

In 1893, Stone became the general manager of the Associated Press of Illinois, which later became the national association, the Associated Press, in New York after absorbing the United Press. Stone extended the foreign service of the Associated Press by established bureaus in the European capitals and speaking with foreign heads of state to secure adequate news and telegraphic facilities and services, even convincing the Czar of Russia to abolish censorship of the foreign press.

Stone resigned from the AP in 1918, after 25 years of service. Until his death in February, 1929, he held the honorary position of counselor to the association. Stone penned an autobiography in 1921, titled, Fifty Years a Journalist.

Stone was survived by his wife Martha McFarland Stone and daughter, Elizabeth Creighton Stone. Stone was predeceased by his two sons: Herbert Stuart Stone died in 1915 when the Lusitania was sunk by German torpedoes and Melville E. Stone Jr. died of tuberculosis in 1917.


13.5 Linear Feet (24 boxes and 1 oversize folder)


Correspondence and other materials pertaining to the life and work of Melville E. Stone, founder and editor of the Chicago Daily News and general manager of the Associated Press.


Papers are organized in the following series:

Series 1: General Correspondence, 1856-1928
Boxes 1-5
Series 2: Family Papers, 1869-1954
Box 6
Series 3: Works, 1905-1929
Box 7
Series 4: Subject Files, 1815-1928
Box 8-9
Series 5: Photographs, approximately 1860-1930
Box 9
Series 6: Memorabilia and Personal Documents, 1875-1929
Boxes 9-12
Series 7: Scrapbooks, 1863-1933
Box 13-24

Collection Stack Location

1 33 7; 1 41 4


Gift of Susanna Stone Doyle, 1992-1995; Herbert S. Stone III, 1990; Harry L. Mooney Jr., 1976; some material extracted from Stone & Kimball Publishing Company archives, 1978

Processed by

Shannon Yule, 2006 and Emily Richardson, 2018


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.

Inventory of the Melville E. Stone papers, 1815-1954, bulk 1890-1929
Finding aid prepared by Melville E. Stone
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States