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Hazel MacDonald papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-MacDonald

Scope and Content of the Collection

Works, including clippings, foreign dispatches, and drafts, some correspondence, and biographical materials.

Correspondence is limited to a few folders of business related letters to editors and publishers. There are extensive clippings covering most of MacDonald's newspaper career from The Chicago American, The Chicago Times, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The collection contains both manuscript and clipping versions of MacDonald's foreign dispatches for the Chicago Times which are of particular interest. The dispatches are full of finely observed detail on the living conditions of French soldiers and civilians, prison camps, and Polish refugees as war breaks in France. The collection also contains some biographical material, including the transcript of a revealing interview with MacDonald broadcast on WMAQ during the 1950s.


  • Creation: 1928-1967



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

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

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Hazel MacDonald 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 Hazel MacDonald

Chicago-based journalist and foreign correspondent in Europe during World War II.

Hazel MacDonald was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 28, 1891, the daughter of Ashley MacDonald and Ida Bersbach MacDonald. She received a B.S. degree from Northwestern University in 1913, and was determined, against her mother’s wishes and the odds of the time period, to pursue a career in journalism.

She began her writing career on the staff of Photoplay magazine where she was employed from 1916-1918. She worked for three weeks at the Salt Lake City Telegram, but returned to Chicago at the insistence of her mother, who had misgivings about her daughter, “galloping around the country,” according to MacDonald in a 1950s interview. In Chicago, MacDonald found work writing movie reviews for the Chicago American which led to an interview with Cecil B. De Mille. De Mille dared Hazel to take a writing job in Hollywood. She took him up on it and landed a position writing scenarios at Lasky Studios for a year and a half. She received only one screen credit on an unmemorable picture called After The Show in 1921. MacDonald quickly tired of the movie business and took a job at the Los Angeles Herald in 1922 writing the “woman’s angle” on crime and special interest stories.

MacDonald moved back and forth between Chicago and the West during the 1920s, writing for the Chicago American from 1923-1925, then the Seattle Post-Intelligencer from 1925-1926. She returned to the Chicago American in 1931 as a reporter covering some of Chicago’s most notorious crimes, including the trials of Sam Insull and Dr. Alice Wynecoop.

MacDonald lost her position at the American when she joined a picket line in the 1938 Newspaper Guild strike. She then went to the Chicago Times and proposed that they send her to Europe as a foreign correspondent. MacDonald was sent to Europe at the end of 1939, and she became the first accredited woman reporter in the French Army. She traveled with a group of reporters (including Chicago Daily reporter Robert J. Casey) throughout France, Italy, England sending back vivid and insightful dispatches as German troops entered France and reported from the Maginot Line. She returned to the U.S. in July of 1940 and continued to write for the Chicago Times, contributing feature and series articles until 1946.

She met Robert J. Casey while both were covering the same trial in 1933 and their paths continued to cross over the following decade. They married in 1946 and were together until Casey's death in 1962. Hazel attempted to write a biography of Casey, but it was never completed. She passed away on February 18, 1971 in the Evanston Convalescent Home at the age of 79.


1.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes and 1 oversize folder)


This collection consists of a small amount of correspondence, biographical materials, newspaper clippings, foreign dispatches, and other works by Chicago reporter and foreign correspondent Hazel MacDonald.


Arranged alphabetically by type of material. Works are alphabetized by type of writing first, followed by larger clippings of published articles.

Collection Stack Location

1 24 5


Gift of Hazel MacDonald, 1963.

Processed by

Lisa Janssen, 2007.


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 Hazel MacDonald papers 1928-1967
Lisa Janssen
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