George B. Cortelyou

George B. Cortelyou Education American History American Presidents Biographies Disasters Famous Historical Events Famous People

George B. Cortelyou was William McKinley's personal secretary on the day the President was shot.  In this photo, we see Cortelyou (with a moustache) standing just behind McKinley.

This image is a detail from McKinley's last-known posed photograph.  It was taken by Frances Johnston on September 5, 1901 (the day before the President was assassinated).

According to A. Wesley Johns, in The Man Who Shot McKinley, Courtelyou was worried about the President’s safety at the Pan-Am Exhibition.  He was particularly concerned about the reception at the Temple of Music.  

Twice Courtelyou tried to cancel the September 6th reception, but the President reinstated it. (See Johns, at page 20.)

In the morning edition of the Buffalo Courier - published on September 6, 1901 (the day the President was shot) - this note appears at page 4 of the newspaper:

The 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 entirely proper.

We are left to wonder how the writer of those words reacted upon hearing the news of the President’s assassination at the Temple of Music reception during the afternoon of September 6, 1901.

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Library of Congress.




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