September 07, 1901

Extraordinary Eyewitness Account of the Assassination of President McKinley – Dated One Day After

Typed Manuscript Signed
8 pages
SMC 183
Socially distinguished, a confidant of presidents, and a veteran Washington reporter, De Benneville Randolph Keim was, literally and figuratively, perfectly positioned to record the assassination of William McKinley at the Pan American Exposition on September 6, 1901, in Buffalo, New York. Standing near the President, he heard the shots, saw the smoke from the pistol, watched the President fall into George Cortelyou’s arms. He helped the President into a chair and fanned him; saw the assassin dragged away; heard, distinctly, exactly what McKinley said about informing Mrs. McKinley – a recollection at variance, as it happens, with the known historical record. He helped carry the stricken president into the ambulance, shielding his face with a hat; rode on the back of the ambulance and flung open its doors at the hospital. Standing guard at the door of the operating room, he was privy to the doctors’ conversations, and the President’s praying. The Secret Service agent showed him the bullet. After the operation, he helped to carry McKinley into the Milburn mansion, re-arranged the furniture in the sickroom, and was the last to leave him prior to the advent of the nurses. He was even the last of the “assistants” to leave the house. Every word McKinley spoke, everything that was done or said from the moment of the first shot to the end of the President’s day – Keim heard and recorded here.
 
It is generally accepted that upon being shot, McKinley said, “My wife, be careful, Cortelyou, how you tell her – oh be careful.” Keim’s account is otherwise, and insistent. “The President remarked: ‘Let no exaggerated reports reach Mrs. McKinley.’ (This is exactly as given, all other reports are incorrect.)” 
Typed Manuscript Signed (“De B. Randolph Keim”), annotated in autograph pencil throughout with numerous additions, entitled “Personal Notes of the Shooting of President of President McKinley At Buffalo, N.Y. Sept. 7. 1901”; 8 pages, quarto, Buffalo, New York, September 7, 1901.
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