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Some thoughts on President McKinkley's life and times

While looking through my books recently, I happened to see a book titled The Authentic Life of William McKinley. That book was published in 1901 not long after McKinley’s death. I knew I had the book but I had not taken time to read it.

Upon examining the book, I found that it traced President McKinley’s life from birth to his untimely death from an assassin’s bullet. I haven’t finished reading the book yet, but from what I have already read it appears to extol McKinley as a dignified, kind, sincere and honest man and I noticed that other references took the same tone.

He was born January 29, 1843, in a small village called Niles, Ohio and died on September 14, 1901.On September 5, 1901 he gave a speech at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. The next day, he was shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz and on September 14 he died from his wounds. It has been 112 years since that fateful day. McKinley, a Republican, succeeded Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, to the high office of president. McKinley was re-elected in 1900 with a greater electoral majority than in his first run for the office.

President McKinley was the last of presidents who had served in the Civil War. He served in the Union Army before coming back home to practice law.

He was the 25th president. Under his administration the United States acquired Puerto Rico, Guam, the Philippine Islands and the Hawaiian Islands. Garret Augustus Hobart was Vice-President in his first term. Theodore Roosevelt served as Vice-President during his second short-lived term. He initiated plans to build the Panama Canal to link the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans through Central America. He was the third president to be assassinated, and the fifth to die in office. Up to President McKinley’s death, Abraham Lincoln and James A. Garfield had been assassinated. President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed November 22, 1963.

The U. S. presidents who have died in office includes: William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. William Henry Harrison had the shortest term: Thirty-one days before his death.

As I look at the book that brought about this particular column, I see that it is in pretty good shape considering that it is 112 years old. The type is clear and the front cover is embossed with a picture of McKinley. The book is a Memorial Edition and it was published in the same year as President McKinley was killed. The book has quite a few pictures and they are very clear and interesting.

After working in the newspaper business for over thirty years, it is always interesting to me how such nice printing was done in times gone by. Even in old magazines, the print is usually good. There have been several kinds of print methods over the years but I understand that the offset method is the main method now. With the Letterpress method, the type actually is raised above the surface of the plate. With offset, it is not. In printing terms, a plate is what transfers the type to paper.