September 04, 1901
One of the Last Things Signed by William McKinley: An Autographed Souvenir Booklet from the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo
On his third day visiting the spectacular Pan-American Exposition, President William McKinley stood in the late afternoon at the head of a receiving line, shaking hands. At seven minutes past four, the man next in line to meet McKinley’s grasp stepped forward and shot him, point blank, in the chest and stomach. Eight days later, McKinley died of his wounds, becoming the third president in United States history to be assassinated.
This booklet, certainly autographed during McKinley’s ill-fated visit, may well have been one of the very last things he signed. As such, it is a poignant reminder of an act that stunned the nation and the world. “That his life should be sacrificed at such a time,” a contemporary biographer noted, “just when there was an abundant peace, when all the Americans were rejoicing together, is one of the inscrutable mysteries of Providence.”
Booklet Signed (in full), as President, being a souvenir pamphlet entitled “The Pan-American Exposition – Buffalo N.Y., USA," 16 pages in all, octavo, Buffalo, New York, dated in print May 1 to November 1, 1901 but apparently signed during McKinley’s visit to the Exposition, September 4th, 5th or 6th,1901.