Vance C. McCormick

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Vance C. McCormick
Vance McCormick wi th Woodrow Wilson, 1916.jpg
McCormick (left) with President Woodrow Wilson in 1916
Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
In office
June 18, 1916 – January 15, 1919
Preceded by William McCombs
Succeeded by Homer Cummings
Mayor of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
In office
January 6, 1902 – June 30, 1905
Preceded by John Fritchey
Succeeded by Edward Gross
Personal details
Born Vance Criswell McCormick
(1872-06-19)June 19, 1872
Died Script error: The function "death_date_and_age" does not exist.
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Gertrude
Alma mater Yale University
Profession Businessman

Vance Criswell McCormick (June 19, 1872 – June 16, 1946) was an American politician and prominent businessman from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He served as mayor of Harrisburg from 1902 to 1905 and as United States Democratic National Committee chairman from 1916 to 1919. He was appointed chair of the American delegation at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, under President Woodrow Wilson.


McCormick was born in 1872 to Henry McCormick and Annie Criswell. He attended Harrisburg Academy and Phillips Andover before completing a civil engineering course at Yale University. McCormick graduated from Yale's Sheffield Scientific School in 1893, and was given an honorary MA degree by the university in 1907. While at Yale he was a member of St. Anthony Hall. A born athlete and leader, he became captain of the class football and baseball teams his freshman year and was on the university football team his junior and senior years. Vance was named to Walter Camp's All American Team as the first team quarterback. He served as president of Intercollegiate Football Association his senior year and garnered other university honors and awards, as well, including class deacon.[1] He was also student body president of Yale in 1893. Following graduation, he visited the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania to help organize their first team.[2]

Business and politics

In 1902, McCormick began his career as journalist and publisher. He was president of The Patriot Company, publishers of several area newspapers including The Patriot (1902 to 1946), The Evening News (1917 to 1946), and Harrisburg Common Council (1900 to 1902). He was also president of the Pinkey Mining Company, located in Harrisburg.[1]

In 1902, McCormick was elected mayor of Harrisburg and as part of the growing City Beautiful movement he immediately set about to improve the city. Today, he is credited with expanding the city park system (which eventually included 1,100 acres), built steps along the Susquehanna River (which still exist today), paved seventy miles of roads, and improved the city water system. During this time, the population of Harrisburg increased from 51,000 to 73,000.

In 1912, he served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania. McCormick was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Pennsylvania in 1914, finishing second in a seven-candidate field. Republican nominee Martin Brumbaugh, Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, defeated McCormick on the strength of a strong performance in Philadelphia and Allegheny counties.[3] From 1916 to 1919,[4] McCormick served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee and went on to be appointed chair of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace (1919) at Versailles, under President Woodrow Wilson, heading up numerous clubs and organizations along the way. He also served as Wilson's 1916 campaign manager, as chair of the War Trade Board (1916 to 1919) and as a member of many local, state, national and international organizations throughout the later years.[5]

Later life

McCormick remained a bachelor until the age of 52, when he married the widow of Martin Olmsted, an eight-term Republican Congressman. They announced their engagement on December 29, 1924.[6] Vance died at his country estate (Cedar Cliff Farms), June 16, 1946, near Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. He was buried at Harrisburg Cemetery.[2] Mrs. McCormick died in 1953.[1][7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Center for Pennsylvania Culture Studies (2006). "About Vance C. McCormick". Penn State Harrisburg. Retrieved 2007-01-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Burial of Vance C. McCormick". April 13, 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "PA Governor". Election Results. Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 11, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Vance M'Cormick Resigns As Head of Committee". The Herald-Journal. January 15, 1919. Retrieved January 2, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Descriptions of the Edward M. House Papers and Associated Collections in Manuscripts and Archives". Yale University Library. 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-12-11. Retrieved 2007-01-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Engaged". Time magazine. December 29, 1924. Retrieved 2007-01-04. Vance C. McCormick, onetime chairman of the Democratic National Committee, to Mrs. Gertrude Olmsted. widow of Representative Marlin E. Olmsted of Pennsylvania.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Vance McCormick, Publisher, 73, Dies. Harrisburg Ex-Mayor, Head of Wilson campaign in 'l6. On All America '11 in '92 Directed Wilson Campaign Elected Mayor at 30 Futile Plea to Wilson League of Nations Advocate". Associated Press. June 17, 1946. Retrieved 2010-10-30. Vance C. McCormick, Harrisburg publisher and industrialist, died today at his home in nearby Cumberland County after a brief illness.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
John Fritchey
Mayor of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Edward Gross
Party political offices
Preceded by
William McCombs
Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
Succeeded by
Homer Cummings
Preceded by
Webster Grimm
Democratic nominee for Governor of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Eugene Bonniwell

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