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Biographies Unit Biographies

Katharine Graham 1917–2001
Newspaper Publisher

Katharine Graham grew up in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. She was one of five children. Her father owned a newspaper, “The Washington Post”. When Graham became an adult, she worked for the newspaper before leaving to raise a family.

Graham worked at home for almost 20 years. Then her husband, who was publishing the newspaper, died. Graham took over the newspaper. At first she was scared. She was afraid of making mistakes. Slowly, she gained confidence.

In the 1970s, reporters at the paper learned of wrongdoing by the President of the United States and other government officials. They wrote articles about the wrongdoing, which was known as Watergate. Graham made the decision to print the reporters' articles, even though some people warned her not to. “The Washington Post” later won an award for the articles about Watergate. Graham was praised for her leadership. She went on to build the Washington Post Company into a very successful business.

Comprehension Check

Why was Graham scared when she first took over the paper?

Critical Thinking

What character traits would you use to describe Katharine Graham?