The Chicago Tribune was among the leading newspapers in Chicago, Illinois, and the Midwest during the mid to late nineteenth century. Joseph K. C. Forrest, James J. Kelly, and John E. Wheeler established the paper in July 1847. The Tribune soon absorbed the Gem of the Prairie, which became the Sunday edition of the Tribune. The Tribune experienced various ownership changes in its early existence. In June 1853, Joseph Medill became a partner in the venture, and in July 1855, Charles H. Ray, John C. Vaughan, and Alfred Cowles joined the partnership. Vaughan and Ray became editors, and under Ray's influence, the paper became one of the most important in the city, state, and region. The Tribune was one of the first papers to endorse the formation of the Republican Party in Illinois, and Ray contributed much to the ascendancy of the party and the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency in 1860. In 1857, Vaughan withdrew from the partnership, and the partnership name became Ray, Medill, and Company. In 1858, the Tribune consolidated with the Daily Democratic Press, and Ray subsequently published it as the Press and Tribune. In 1861, the publishers dropped the name Press from the title and formed the Tribune Company, with Medill, Cowles, and Ray among the principal stockholders. In that same year, the Tribune absorbed the Democrat.
A. T. Andreas, History of Chicago
(Chicago: A. T. Andreas, 1884), 1:401-2; Franklin William Scott, Newspapers and Periodicals of Illinois, 1814-1879, vol. 6 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library
(Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1910), 59-60.