June 05, 1901
President William McKinley's Last Tour: Cortelyou Thanks the Mayor of San Francisco for His Help
The plan was that the McKinley’s grand six week victory lap around the country to inaugurate his second term would begin in Washington at the end of April, head west by the southern route, and return home via the Northwest. San Francisco, on the Pacific Coast, and Buffalo, on the East, were to be the highlights of the trip. But by the second week in May, Mrs. McKinley took ill, and the official touring party of 43 – cabinet members, executive staff, friends, servants and newspapermen – came to a screeching halt in San Francisco. For days, Ida McKinley hovered between life and death, and, when she finally regained consciousness, not only the president, but the City of San Francisco – whose citizens had closely followed her ordeal - were greatly relieved. When the McKinleys, cutting short the tour, returned to Washington at the beginning of June, Cortelyou immediately wrote to Mayor Phelan:
I write at the request of the President to convey to you the cordial thanks of Mrs. McKinley and himself for all the courtesies at your hands during their stay in San Francisco and the kindly attentions shown for their comfort.
All the members of the party were fully appreciative of the considerate care taken for their convenience and enjoyment: and I beg to convey to you also my personal thanks for your valuable assistance and cooperation.
Cortelyou was like a member of the McKinley family. He not only ran the president's office, but pushed Mrs. McKinley's wheelchair; entertained the couple by playing the piano; and worried, terribly, about the president's safety. He was standing, as usual, by McKinley's side in Buffalo, when the president was shot.
Typed Letter Signed, as secretary to President McKinley, 1 page, octavo, on Executive Mansion letterhead, Washington, D.C., June 5, 1901. To San Francisco Mayor James D. Phelan.