Wednesday, August 21, 2019

McKinley and First Ladies Libraries

We made another day trip to Canton to check out the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum and the National First Ladies' Library.  
There are thirteen presidential libraries that are recognized by the National Archives Foundation. We have visited eight of them. There are others that are part of local libraries or museums that are independent. The McKinley Museum is one of those. It is a small part of a science and local history museum in Canton, Ohio. 
William McKinley was born in Niles, Ohio on January 29, 1843.  He was active in Ohio politics serving in the US House for six years and then governor for four years. In 1896 he was elected president. He was the last Civil War veteran elected to the highest office. Six months into his second term he was assassinated in 1901.  
McKinley's wife Ida Saxton was born in Canton in 1847. She married William in January 1871 in the First Presbyterian Church which was still under construction. The church still stands in Canton. 
William McKinley's run for the presidency was a front porch campaign. People would travel to Canton to see him while his opponent William Jennings Bryan traveled hundreds of miles giving over 600 speeches. 
The McKinley Gallery contains many artifacts of his time in Canton and as president.
There are several exhibits showing his life, from growing up in Canton through his time as president and his untimely death by assassination. This one is about his campaigns and inaugurations.
This one is about his four and a half years in office. The less than four month Spanish American War was fought during his first term. During that war Teddy Roosevelt became famous for his charge up San Juan Hill. This led to McKinley picking Teddy as his vice-presidential running mate in the 1900 election and Roosevelt becoming president when McKinley was assassinated.  
After his death, his many friends formed an association to raise money to build an appropriate memorial in Canton. The McKinley National Memorial was dedicated in September 1907. 
The nine and a half foot bronze statue depicts McKinley delivering his final public address at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo the day before he was assassinated.
The coffins of William and Ida are entombed in a green granite sarcophagi inside the memorial. Although not nearly as impressive as the others we have visited, the McKinley Library is well worth a visit.
The National First Ladies Library includes a research center to promote, preserve and educate about the important role of first ladies on American history. Part of it includes the family home of Ida Saxton McKinley that was the long time residence of William and Ida.
The home that had once been used as a boarding house after the McKinleys lived there has been restored to its original appearance.
While many of the furnishings are just from the period, the piano was owned by Ida.
The library was a gathering place where many famous visitors came to meet McKinley. No pictures are allowed in the research center, but the home was well worth the visit.

We are still way behind in the blog. We have been having a great time in WashPa and have several entries to write about what we have been up to.

1 comment:

Doing It On the Road(Part II) said...

How lucky we are that he picked Teddy for Vice President!