Patterson, Alicia (1906–1963)

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Patterson, Alicia (1906–1963)

American newspaper editor and publisher who founded Newsday. Born Alicia Patterson in Chicago,Illinois, on October 15, 1906; died at age 56 of bleeding ulcers on July 2, 1963; second of three daughters of Joseph Medill Patterson (founder of the New York Daily News) and Alice (Higinbotham) Patterson; sister of Josephine Patterson Albright (who wrote a column for Newsday) andElinor Patterson Baker ; niece of Eleanor Medill Patterson (1881–1948); educated at Foxcroft in Middleburg, Virginia, and in Europe; married James Simpson, Jr. (director of Marshall Field & Company), in 1920s (divorced one year later); married Joseph W. Brooks, in 1931 (divorced 1939); married Harry F. Guggenheim, in 1939.

Alicia Patterson was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1906, the second of three daughters of Joseph Medill Patterson and Alice Higinbotham Patterson ; her paternal aunt was Eleanor Medill Patterson . Alicia came to prominence as founder, editor, and publisher of Long Island's successful tabloid Newsday. As a pilot, she also set the women's New York to Philadelphia air record.

Patterson grew up on a farm in Libertyville, Illinois, preferring athletic activities for recreation, such as riding and swimming. In 1927–28, she worked as a cub reporter on her father's newspaper, the New York Daily News; she then joined the staff of the family-owned Liberty magazine. In 1931, Patterson became a transport pilot, setting records and writing several articles about her experiences. She returned to the Daily News as literary critic in 1932, where she reviewed books until 1943.

In 1939, she married her third husband, the mining magnate Harry F. Guggenheim. When the two learned that the Nassau County Journal in Hempstead, Long Island, was for sale, they snatched it up, turned it into a tabloid against the advice of her father, and renamed it Newsday. In six years, it began to show a profit; four years later, it was moved to nearby Garden City. By 1955, Time magazine considered it "the fastest-growing and most profitable big daily paper started in the United States in the last twenty years," and it has remained in operation through the start of the 21st century. Unlike her isolationist relatives, Alicia Patterson was an internationalist. She also successfully campaigned to purchase Walt Whitman's birthplace in Huntington, Long Island, as a memorial to the poet.

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