Stanley Robert McCormick (1874-1947)

Stanley McCormick, of Brookline, Massachusetts & Riven Rock, California

Associated Houses

Andrew Mellon Building

Washington D.C.

He was born in Chicago, the youngest son of the founder of the International Harvester Company and brother-in-law of Mrs Edith (Rockefeller) McCormick. On paper, life started promisingly: he was handsome; a natural athlete; and, graduated cum laude from Princeton University. He became comptroller of the family firm and building the McCormick Apartments (also known as the Andrew Mellon Building) in Washington D.C. was one of several successful real estate projects. 

In 1904, at Geneva in Switzerland, he married Katharine Dexter, who had just graduated from MIT. However, the marriage was never consummated as his mental health rapidly declined and just two years later he was diagnosed with what we would now call schizophrenia - a condition shared by his sister. Declared incompetent by doctors in 1908, his $36 million fortune was now to be administered by the Cook County (Illinois) Probate Court. He spent the rest of his years at Riven Rock, the McCormick family estate in California being seen by various doctors. His wife stuck by him and funded research into his condition while also trying to protect him from the more radical psychologists. She became a prominent pioneer of women's rights and used the McCormick millions to almost single-handedly fund the research necessary to develop the first birth control pill. They died without children. 
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 04/09/2020 and last updated on 11/01/2022.