Katharine Graham Timeline

As chairman of The Washington Post Co. for two decades, Katharine Graham built the paper her father had purchased at bankruptcy auction into a media empire that ranked 271st on the Fortune 500 list by the time she turned it over to her son in 1991. Along the way, she became a force both respected and feared. Graham guided the Post through the 1970s, overseeing the publishing of the Pentagon Papers and the investigation into the Watergate scandal.

June 1, 1933: Graham's father, Eugene Meyer, buys the failing newspaper, The Washington Post, at public auction for $825,000.

1939-45: Katharine Graham works at the Washington Post, beginning in the letters to the editor department.

1963: Mrs. Graham becomes president of the Washington Post Co., which now includes Newsweek, Gazette newspapers, TV stations, cable TV systems and Kaplan Inc., among others.

August 3, 1963: Philip Graham, Katharine's husband of 20 years and then-publisher of the Post, commits suicide after receiving treatment for his manic-depression.

1965: Mrs.Graham brings Benjamin C. Bradlee, formerly Newsweek's Washington bureau chief, to the Post as a deputy managing editor.

1969: Mrs.Graham becomes publisher of the Post and now with Bradlee as executive editor, the paper launches its "Style" section, which replaces the "For and About Women" section.

Early 1970s: The Post becomes the second newspaper nationwide to employ an ombudsman -- a liaison between readers and reporters -- who fields reader's complaints and serves as an independent, in-house critic who reports on the Post. Mrs. Graham also works during this time to achieve a more diversified newsroom by hiring more women and blacks, and works with Bradlee to confront biases against women that regularly appear in print.

June 17, 1971: The Post prints a story detailing the Pentagon Papers -- top-secret government documents outlining U.S. involvement in Indochina from World War II to 1968 -- despite a court injunction against The New York Times prohibiting them from continuing to publish the papers.

1973: The Post investigates and reports on a break-in at the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, and uncovers the Nixon administration's involvement in the scandal. As a result, the paper received a Pulitzer Prize for public service and Nixon resigned the following year.

1979: After 10 years, Mrs. Graham steps down as publisher of the Post and puts the paper in the hands of her son, Donald, the current publisher.

1983: The Post begins circulating a National Weekly edition, aimed at disseminating political, economic and diplomatic news out of Washington to the rest of the nation.

1985: The paper begins publishing the nation's first "Health" section, devoted entirely to topics such as medicine, fitness, and psychology.

June 1987:Mrs. Graham is one of three women on Forbes, Inc.'s list of the 800 most-powerful men and women in corporate America, and she is the only woman listed in the Top 25.

May 1991: Donald Graham succeeds his mother as chief executive officer of the Washington Post Co., a position she held for 18 years.

September 1993: Mrs.Graham was the chairman of the company's executive committee and passes to Donald her 20-year position as the company's chairman of the board.

1998: Mrs. Graham wins a Pulitzer Prize for her 1997 autobiography, "Personal History".

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