Graham was the subject of one of the most famous threats in modern American political history. It occurred in 1972, when Nixon's Attorney General, John Mitchell, warned reporter Carl Bernstein about a forthcoming article: "Katie Graham's gonna get her tit caught in a big fat wringer if that's published."
Graham's father, Eugene Meyer, was a publisher who bought The Washington Post in 1933. She began working for the Post five years later but left in 1945 to raise a family. Her husband, Philip Graham, became publisher of the Post, but she had to abruptly take it over after his suicide in 1963. Despite having little management experience, she was publisher of the newspaper from 1969 to 1979, and chairman of the board from 1973 to 1991. Her son, Donald Graham, was publisher from 1979 to 2000.
In 1997, Graham published her memoirs, Personal History. The book, praised for its honest portrayal of Philip Graham's mental illness as well as Katharine Graham's struggles to cope in a male-dominated business world, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1998.