Images of President William McKinley
at the Pan-American Exposition
bye, all. It's God's way. His will, not ours, be done.
Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee.
reported last words]
William McKinley attended the Pan-American Exposition on September
5, 1901, the day set aside in his honor as President's Day.
The schedule of his events published in the daily program for
the day shows that he was scheduled to be at the Exposition
from 10:00 a.m. until after 8:00 p.m.
The following photographs
illustrate a few of the events on President McKinley's schedule
for September 5th & 6th, as well as the public mourning
upon his death September 14th, 1901.
McKinley riding on the Great Gorge
Railway at Niagara Falls, Sept. 5, 1901.
are images of President McKinley's President's Day Speech on the grounds
of the Pan-American Exposition, Sept. 5, 1901. President's Day had originally
been scheduled for June 13, 1901, during McKinley's extensive tour of
the country in response to his re-election. However, Mrs. McKinley fell
gravely ill during the tour and President's Day was rescheduled.1
always so sweet and kind and gentle," Frances [Johnston] remembered,
"and so anxious to pose just the way you wanted him to, but
always a little self-conscious before the camera, and so never at
his best. But I finally caught him at the climax of a great speech,
when he had wholly forgotten himself, and it proved his best portrait,
and sadly enough, his last."
This picture, which became known as the "Buffalo pose,"
was the model used to construct the statue of the President at the
McKinley Monument in Canton, Ohio.2
Above: View the
text of McKinley's Pan-American Address. Left: President
McKinley shaking hands at the Government Building, sometime between
3:15 and 4 p.m. Sept. 5, 1901.
films of McKinley's final days were produced by the Edison company.
They include "President McKinley's speech at the Pan-American
Exposition" / "President McKinley reviewing the troops
at the Pan-American Exposition" / "The mob outside the
Temple of Music at the Pan-American Exposition" / "President
McKinley's funeral cortege at Buffalo, N.Y.," etc.
and more information about McKinley's final days are are available
on the American Memory web site The
Last Days of a President: Films of McKinley and the Pan-American
troops in the Exposition Stadium, Sept. 5, 1901.
posed photograph" of President McKinley, in the Government Building
on 5 September 1901. Left to right: Mrs. John Miller Horton,
Chairwoman of the Entertainment Committee of the Woman's Board
of Managers; John G. Milburn; Senor Asperoz, the Mexican Ambassador;
the President; George B. Courtelyou, the President's secretary;
Col. John H. Bingham of the Government Board.
did not care for the use of bodyguards and secret service agents, but
relented to the wishes of the Chief of the Secret Service, John
E. Wilkie, and the influential Republican "Boss," Senator
Mark Hanna. Although the Secret Service had
empowerment to protect the President, Wilkie exceeded his authority and
assigned operative George E. Foster as McKinley's
President and Mrs. McKinley touring the Exposition in carriage,
probably after 7 p.m. on way to see the illumination of the Electric
Tower and evening fireworks.
close to McKinley had reason to be concerned for his safety. A. Wesley
Johns asserts that while fears for the president's life began at the time
of the Spanish-American conflict, other factors contributed to this hightened
The growth of Anarchism and the recognition that this school of
thought could be dangerous. While the Haymarket Square Riots were fresh
on minds of many political leaders, the recent assassinations and threats
on the lives of European leaders were especially disturbing. Empress
Elizabeth of Austria was assassinated in 1898; Edward VII, then Prince
of Wales, was fired upon in April 1900 and King Humbert of Italy was
assassinated in July of 1900.
class divisions. While the country was experiencing
relative prosperity, there was a widening gap between the rich and the
poor. The conspicuous consumption of wealthy industrialists constrasted
greatly with the struggles of sweatshop workers and tenement dwellers.
This provided fertile ground for labor disputes and the spreading of
journalism. As Johns
points out, McKinley was "flayed relentlessly" by William
Randolph Hearst, whose publications described him as a "puppet"
of wealthy industrialists. An editorial printed in the April 10, 1901
Journal asserted that "If bad institutions and bad men can
be got rid of only by killing, then the killing must be done."
Of course, journalists of the period would refute this. The editor of
(published by the New York Evening Post Company) wrote in the September
19, 1901 issue that "[t]he theory, which has been seriously advanced,
that Czolgosz was led to assassinate President McKinley by reading a
certain daily newspaper, is without a particle of evidence, and is an
affront to common sense."
president's secretary, George B. Courtelyou,
(seen here to the right of MicKinley) was uneasy about the president's
prolonged appearance at the Pan-American Exposition. Of specific concern
was the reception to be held in the Temple of Music, September 6, 1901,
the day after McKinley's speech. Courtelyou thought this unnecessary and
twice attempted to cancel the engagement, only to have it reinstated by
the President. 5
Bull was the Superintendent
of Police in Buffalo. During his visit to the Pan-American Exposition,
four detectives were assigned to the President, with Foster and two other
secret service men, Al Gallagher and Sam
Ireland. In addition, seventy-five policemen were added to the
Buffalo force, augmented by Pan-American Guards, Coast Artillerymen, Pinkerton
men and Railroad detectives.6
men feared for his safety, there did not appear to be any public concern.
In the September 6, 1901 morning edition of the Buffalo
Courier, there appeared an anonymous, "slightly burlesqued"
account of the President's appearance and speech the day before.7
[See an image of the actual
FROM RAINBOW CITY.
A Day With the President.
PLACE The Exposition grounds.
CHARACTERS The President and others as needed.
the main squeeze,
Take care not to sneeze,
President McKinley has come to the Fair;
Shake out in the breeze
Your handkerchiefs, please,
To President McKinley now make
your heads bare!
Hail to the chief!
Thanks for relief
We've been squshed and squoze
Our corns have been trod on
And also our toes,
But the President is here
So this push will soon clear;
All hail to McKinley!
The nation's great chief,
Thank goodness he's got here
And brought us relief.
(bowing from carriage)
The honors due to a President
I'm glad to see so freely lent.
I'm glad to be here at your Fair
And pleased with all I've seen, I swear;
I thank the fates which rule below
That I could come to see your show.
It's charming here and you should know
I'm pleased to be in Buffalo.
CROWD (in chorus)
He's pleased to be in Buffalo,
Of dollar beds he does not know,
Their springless hardships eke untried
It should not tax him to decide,
He likes to visit our big show
And jolly us in Buffalo.
carriage and cavalcade
moves forward to the Triumphal Causeway.
Solos by members
of the crowd while passing:
Boost me up.
I want to see
President Bill McKin-a-lee;
Is that him riding over there,
The fat man what ain't got much hair?
Hush, hush, my child,
Don't speak so loud,
The President's he
Who has just bowed;
It's not polite for you to stare
And you should not speak of missing hair.
I should tell,
Why, I know Bill McKinley well;
I spent three months in Washington
When the last campaign had just been won.
I talked with Mac most every day
About a job with good, big pay,
And let him understand I would
Take something else, if just as good
But 'stead a smile Mac wore a frown
And he had the nerve to throw me down.
CROWD (in chorus)
Oh, he knows Bill McKinley well,
He haunted his office for a spell,
At last Bill spoke and said, "Pooh, pooh,
It's all night with a job for you."
arrives at the speakers' stand. He is introduced to the assembled
thousands by the Hon. John G. Milburn.
One in the
is the man who introduces the speaker like a deaf and dumb man?
Another Because he does not speak himself, not allowed (aloud).
(what he might have said)
Fellow citizens, have a look,
That's what you came for, why forsook
Your business stunts and household toils
To stand beneath the sun which broils;
I would not tire you with a speech,
Ten paces [ ? ] would not reach,
And delivered now I might design
'Twould be but merest pantomime;
I will not have you strain an ear
For words you cannot hope to hear,
The press my speech with clarion throat
Will spiel to regions most remote,
'Tis easiest heard in type by eyes,
And those who are near I would advise
The daily papers have it played
As I'm supposed to speak it on the Esplanade;
Your glad huzzahs let Heaven reach,
I forbear to bore you with my speech.
in Crowd Silence is golden and they say gold is what they
use in making McKinley votes.
CROWD (in chorus)
Hip, hip, hurrah!
The President Uses brevity and we're content,
We've had our look and he's a peach,
Though we'd not have stayed to hear his speech;
But we're glad he's got so quickly done,
And now for the Midway and for fun.
Adieu, adieu, kind friends, adieu,
I'd like to do that Midway, too.
I'd like to do that street with you,
But I've got other things in view,
To the Midway I must say adieu.
CROWD (in chorus)
For he's the President, he's the President,
It would never, never do, he's not like me and you;
We can go from sun to sun to do it and get done,
But the nation would be shocked to hear McKinley went
And fortunate for him he's the nation's President.
The crowd breaks
up and the President is driven to the Stadium, where he takes his
seat in the reviewing stand to review troops at the Fair.
Right foot, left foot, don't bat an eye
As President McKinley you pass by;
Attention! Shoulder arms! Present!
Salute your chief, the President.
Hay foot, straw foot, right dress, there,
That's what we call pretty fair;
Better than we sometimes do,
But now we're passing in review.
bows his approval.
CROWD (in chorus)
See that salute.
Oh, ain't that a beaut?
From none could come but him;
These troops are the flower
Of a great world power
And he's their commander, grim.
walks to the Canadian Building, where the Canadian Commissioner
meets him on the steps and sings.
President McKinley, here's my hand.
Don't touch that thistle on the stand,
I brought it over, don't you know.
A Canadian staple just to show.
But this is not your only crop.
There are one or two other things you raise;
We live in hopes the American flag
Will be raised there, too, in future days.
passes from here through the foreign buildings' site and views the
buildings and exhibits of the foreign nations.
(at the conclusion of his inspection)
Here's my thanks to all the nations which I've visited at the Pan,
You're the glory of two continents and I'm the very man
Who should give the hand of fellowship to each one as I go,
For I'm the main exhibitor of the doctrine of Monroe.
CHORUS OF FOREIGN
Oh, he's the main exhibitor of the doctrine of Monroe.
He had it out to show us about three years ago,
And if he has to swallow us to do it, why, we know
He'll give us all protection by the doctrine of Monroe.
From here the
President passes to the New York State Building, where he is to
take lunch as the guest of the New York State Commission.
CHORUS OF NEW
The great can't live on praise alone,
It won't grow muscle on the bone.
And we New Yorkers have agreed
That even you, sir, have to feed.
Quite right you are, I'm famished, too.
Bring on your clams and Irish stew,
Your President is a man like you,
We'll all take seats and fall right to.
eats, then is hurried in his carriage to the Government Building.
Great Scott! I'm nearly tired to death.
I'd like a chance to draw my breath,
I've shook hands till my hands are sore,
And now I'm in for shakes some more;
But I'll cut this bunch on the run,
I've seen them all in Washington.
Late at night;
after the fireworks.
This day and a night's enough for me.
And, bless me, what a lot to see!
What a lot of bows to make
And what a lot of hands to shake;
And so a day and night are spent-
And many of them for the President.
CROWD tin chorus)
Tired, so tired, we hardly can get home.
Tired, so tired, why did we ever roam?
Tired, so tired, why was it that we went?
Tired, so tired, but we saw the President.
Despite the light-hearted burlesque
above, a strangely
"prophetic" observation appeared on the same page:
surrounding of President McKinley by a body-guard of detectives when
he appears in public, is probably as distasteful to himself as it
is to abstract American sentiment, but as long as the earth is infested
by malevolent cranks and unreasoning Anarchists, the precaution is
One can only wonder what the author(s) of these passages may
have thought as the events of September 6, 1901 unfolded
McKinley and his entourage visit Goat Island,
at Niagara Falls on the morning of Sept.
McKinley in carriage on way to the Sept. 6 afternoon reception at
the Temple of Music, with John G. Milburn (left) and George B. Cortelyou
picture was taken only minutes before the President was shot, as he
greeted well-wishers in a reception line at the Temple of Music. A
letter to The Nation would later criticize the practice of "Presidential
shooting of President McKinley on the stage of the Temple of Music.
Illustration by T. Dart Walker for the cover of the September
21, 1901 issue of Leslie's Weekly.
wounded president was taken by the electric ambulance to the Exposition's
Emergency Hospital, located on the west side of the grounds near the
Elmwood Avenue gate. Hospital staff included University of Buffalo medical
school sophomores Burton T. Simpson and
Burt J. Bixby and third year student T.
Frederick Ellis. In addition to a more seasoned group of doctors,
the resident physician was senior medical student Edward
D. Mann, son of Dr. Matthew D. Mann,
the surgeon who would operate on the president, since Dr.
Roswell Park, the Exposition Medical Director, was in Niagara
Crowds gather outside the Exposition's Emergency Hospital,
where President McKinley was taken for treatment.
McKinley's surgery began at 5:20 p.m., one hour and 20 minutes after the
President was shot. Dr. Matthew D. Mann, however, was an obstetrician
and gynecologist, with no experience treating gunshot wounds. Yet he was
recommended by Board President John G. Milburn and performed the surgery
that would remove one of the two bullets lodged in McKinley's body. The
other attending physicians were P.M. Rixey, Eugene Wasdin, and Herman
Mynter. Roswell Park would arrive later.
surgery, the President was taken by ambulance (driven by medical students
Ellis and Simpson) from the Exposition Hospital to the home of John Milburn
in Buffalo for further treatment and recuperation. An anxious public and
press awaited the daily
medical bulletins issued by McKinley's physicians. During the eight
days following the shooting, the President first seemed to rally but then
and Elizabeth Sholes echo the prevailing observation with regard to McKinley's
Park was a leader in Buffalo medicine, especially antiseptic practice.
Dr. Mann and the others were neither trained trauma surgeons nor did
they bother with disinfection, not even wearing gloves. The first
bullet had done little harm; the second entered McKinley's abdomen.
The physicians used improperly sanitized probes and when Mann could
not find the bullet, he closed the incision without draining the wound.
It was a fateful decision.
However, Jack C. Fisher, M.D., in his recent book Stolen Glory : The
McKinley Assassination (Alamar Books, 2001) argues that it was severe
fluid buildup and not gangrene that was the cause of death. Given the
medical knowlege of the time, the President would likely have died, even
if Roswell Park had performed the surgery.10
The Press on
Anxious citizens await word of the President
it was gangrene or a lethal build-up of body fluid, President William
McKinley died at the Milburn home on September 14, 1901. A
small funeral service
was held there on Sunday morning, September 15th. McKinley's casket was
taken by horse-drawn carriage through the streets of Buffalo to the City
Hall, where the body lay in state from 1:30 to 11:00 p.m. Early on the
morning of Monday September 16th, the President's remains began a journey
first to Washington D.C. and then on to Canton, Ohio, where he would lay
in state and then be buried in the city's Westlawn Cemetary.
of Mourning in Buffalo
funeral train bearing McKinley's casket leaving Buffalo.
casket enters the Capitol grounds in Washington, D.C.
the Capitol Building
September 18-19, 1901
funeral train arrives in Ohio
home - under military guard
from the train station
to the Stark County Court House.
services at the First Methodist
Episcopal Church in Canton.
A. Wesley Johns. The Man Who Shot McKinley. South Brunswick, N.J.
: A. S. Barnes and Co., Inc., 1970, pp. 27-28.
2. This photograph of McKinley was taken by photographer
Frances Benjamin Johnston (1964-1952) and is held in the Johnston Collection
of the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress (lot
2967). It also appears in Pete Daniel and Raymond Smock. A
Talent For Detail : The Photographs of Miss Frances Benjamin Johnston,
1889-1910. New York : Harmony Books, , p. 68.
Wesley Johns, The Man Who Shot McKinley., p. 18.
(morning edition), September 6, 1901, p. 4.
Johns, The Man Who Shot McKinley,
Thomas E. Leary and Elizabeth C. Sholes. Buffalo's
Pan-American Exposition. Charleston, S.C. : Arcadia Press,
1998. p. 118.
10. Jack C. Fisher, M.D.
Stolen Glory : The McKinley Assassination. La Jolla, CA : Alamar
Assassination of President McKinley : Bibliography on Medical Aspects,
compiled by staff of the University at Buffalo's History of Medicine Collection.
Erie County Bar Association.
Trial Re-Creation : The Trial of Leon Czolgosz, Assassin of President
McKinley, on September 22, 2001. This site describes the recreation
of the Czolgosz trial held in Buffalo as part of the Pan-American Exposition's
Centenial Celebration. Included is background information on the assassination
of President McKinley and the original trial of his assassin.
Birth to Death at the Pan-American Exposition"
At the Expo: The Assassination of President William McKinley",
by Mark Gado
For information about
the life and career of William McKinley:
Return to The Legal Aftermath ...