Graham, Katharine Meyer

Graham, Katharine Meyer,

1917–2001, American publisher, b. New York City, grad. Univ. of Chicago (1938). She first worked as a copy girl at the Washington Post, which was owned by her father, Eugene MeyerMeyer, Eugene,
1875–1959, American financier and newspaper publisher, b. Los Angeles. He was a successful broker and a director of many corporations. In 1917 he was appointed to guide American war production and finance, serving in many government agencies.
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; after college, she joined the San Francisco News. After she returned to the Post, she met and married (1940) Philip GrahamGraham, Philip Leslie,
1915–63, American publisher, b. S.Dak. After editing the Harvard Law Review, he served as a law clerk to his mentor, Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter.
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, who joined the paper and later became publisher; she soon became a well-known Washington socialite. After her husband's suicide (1963), she took over The Washington Post Company and over the years greatly expanded it; the organization came to include television stations and cable systems among its holdings. As publisher (1969–79) of the Post, she transformed the newspaper, which had improved during her husband's tenure but was still relatively mediocre, into one of the country's finest and most influential journals. Concurrently, she transformed herself into one of Washington's most powerful figures. Graham became particularly well known for withstanding political pressure from the Nixon administration when she approved the printing of the Pentagon PapersPentagon Papers,
government study of U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. Commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara in June, 1967, the 47-volume, top secret study covered the period from World War II to May, 1968.
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 and when she supported the Post's active pursuit of the WatergateWatergate affair,
in U.S. history, series of scandals involving the administration of President Richard M. Nixon; more specifically, the burglarizing of the Democratic party national headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, D.C.
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 story, for which it won a 1973 Pulitzer Prize. Her son, Donald E. Graham, succeeded her as publisher in 1979 (serving until 2008) and as chair of the board in 1993. He oversaw the sale of newspaper to Jeffrey Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, in 2013.

Bibliography

See her autobiography, Personal History (1997; Pulitzer Prize); H. Bray, Pillars of the Post (1980); C. M. Roberts, In the Shadow of Power (1989); C. Felsenthal, Power, Privilege, and the Post: The Katharine Graham Story (1993).

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