Alfred Cowles, Sr. (1832–1889) was an American businessperson and newspaper publisher. During the 1860s to 1880s he was bookkeeper, treasurer and business manager of the Chicago Tribune of which he was part owner.
His parents were Edwin Weed and Almira Mills Cowles. Another son, Edwin, Jr. (1825–1890), became publisher of the Cleveland Leader newspaper. Edwin married Elizabeth Hutchinson and had two sons: Alfred Hutchinson Cowles and Eugene Hutchinson Cowles (1855–1892).
Alfred Cowles married Sarah Frances Hutchinson, who was born in 1837 in Cayuga, New York. She was the daughter of Moseley and Elizabeth Hutchinson. They had four children: Edwin (1861–1861); Alfred, Jr. (1865–1939); Sarah Frances (1862–1920); and William Hutchinson (1866–1920). William Hutchinson Cowles, Sr., who was married to Harriet Bowen Cheney, became a newspaper publisher in Spokane.
Vassar College has a scholarship named for Sarah Frances Hutchinson Cowles, and the University of Chicago may still have a fellowship named for her.