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Lucius and Agnes Nieman




A devoted couple, Agnes and Lucius Nieman shared many common interests despite sharply different backgrounds. Schooled in Chicago and Europe, Agnes Wahl and her sisters were at home in Milwaukee’s high society where cotillions were the norm, famous musicians performed at private parties and the finer things in life were appreciated. Newspaperman Lucius Nieman was a welcome addition to that world, becoming Agnes’ life’s partner and ultimately the inspiration for her $1 million bequest to Harvard.

Unlike his wife, Lucius had a hardscrabble youth. He lost both parents as a boy and was raised by his grandparents. Attracted to journalism at an early age, he started work as a printer’s devil when he was just 12 and rose quickly through the ranks to become managing editor of The Milwaukee Sentinel only six year later. By 25, he owned his own paper, The Milwaukee Journal, which he ran for half a century.

Lucius’s lifelong commitment to telling the news fully and truthfully won the respect and loyalty of his readership and eventually, the Pulitzer Prize for the Journal in 1919.