Chicago Boy Becomes Broadcasting Legend: Quin Augustus Ryan (1898-1978)

Quin Augustus Ryan (1898-1978) is the most famous relative I have written about to date in my #52Ancestors genealogy blogging challenge for 2018. He is my 2nd cousin 2x removed. Quin's maternal grandmother, Margaret Sullivan (1838-1925), was the older sister of my 2nd great grandmother, Ellen Sullivan Kelly/Hanley (1850-1938).

My 3rd great grandparents, Dennis Uonhi Green/Sullivan (abt. 1810 - unk.) and Margaret Lowney (1815-1865), were Quin's great grandparents. Dennis and Margaret lived in the village of Ballydonegan in County Cork, Ireland. 

I connected with a Timothy Ryan on Timothy is a descendent of Quin's father's older brother, James W. Ryan (1863-1937). Tim provided a great deal of information about this family in his family tree. He graciously gave me permission to use the photos in this post.

Here is a photograph of Quin as a young boy.

Quin A. Ryan (1898-1978)

Quin A. Ryan (1898-1978)

Quin was the oldest of three siblings. Here he is with them (left to right): Joseph E. Ryan, Dorothy (Ryan) Denvir, and Quin.

Joseph, Dorothy and Quin Ryan.jpg

A search for "Quin Ryan" on, filtered for just Chicago, IL gives close to five thousand articles! Though I haven't evaluated them all, it seems likely that most of these are related to the Quin profiled here. 

Quin was a prolific and pioneering broadcasting legend in Chicago. Tim wrote a very nice write-up about his life and career. Here are a few of the highlights about Quin's life:

  • His father was prominent Chicago area attorney and judge, Joseph Ryan (1870-1915).
  • He attended Northwestern University (Evanston, IL).
  • In college Quin was active in writing and producing theatrical performances.
  • Quin's first journalism job was at The Chicago Tribune.
  • He becoming a pioneering voice in radio broadcasting.
  • On April 14, 1925 Quin became the first ever to do a live radio broadcast of a baseball game (Opening Day for the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field).
  • Also in 1925, Quin did a radio broadcast of the Scopes Monkey Trial.
  • He was the first to broadcast a circus.
  • He wrote a children's book, "Joey the Littlest Clown". 
  • Quin's live radio broadcasts included the Indianapolis 500 and both Republican and Democrat National Conventions in the 1930s.
  • MANY other projects, endeavors, and accomplishments!

I am not sure what publication this is from, but here is a biography and photo spread of Quin's life and career. 

Quin A. Ryan (1898-1978)

Quin A. Ryan (1898-1978)

Quin married Roberta Nangle (1908-1944). They did not have any children. He died on October 7, 1978. Here is his obituary in the next day's Chicago Tribune:

I love finding interesting stories like this in the lesser known branches of my family tree. This one, in particular, is a doozie! There is a lot more to learn and explore here. For instance, I am trying to find any archived audio files of Quin's broadcasts. I also have on order a copy of his children's book.

Lastly, and mostly of interest to my immediate family, here is a a chart that depicts the relationship between Quin and myself.

Quin Ryan relationship to me.png

This is the 23rd of 52 weekly posts planned for 2018. It was inspired by the #52Ancestors writing challenge issued by professional genealogist, Amy Crow Johnson. The challenge: once a week, for all 52 weeks of the year, write about a relative in your family tree.