Last photos of President McKinley — who are those people?


Chamblee 54 carried this photo of President McKinley, the “last portrait” before his assassination the following day (there were other, later photos, but no later portraits).  The picture was taken on the afternoon of September 5, 1901, in Buffalo, New York.

The photo comes from the American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress.  It was taken by Francis Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952).

I am curious:  Who are the other people in the photo, especially that tall guy?

Last portrait of President William McKinley

Last portrait of President William McKinley

To the left of the photo, the fellow peeking out from between the dignified-looking woman and the guy with the really droopy, white walrus moustache, is the president of the Buffalo Exposition, John Milburn.  Who is the woman?  Who is the guy with the white moustache?  Is there any chance the guy with the dark moustache to the right could be McKinley’s vice president, Theodore Roosevelt?  (We should be able to figure out where Roosevelt was that day.)  More likely, he’s George B. Cortelyou, later the first Secretary of Commerce and Labor.

People in the picture are:  Left to right: Mrs. John Miller Horton, Chairwoman of the Entertainment Committee of the Woman’s Board of Managers; John G. Milburn; Senor Asperoz, the Mexican Ambassador; the President; George B. Courtelyou, the President’s secretary; Col. John H. Bingham of the Government Board.

More, including a larger version of the photo, below the fold.

One may purchase a copy of the photo from Robert McMahan Photography:

McKinley's last formal portrait, from Robert McMahan Photography

McKinley's last formal portrait, available for purchase (cheap!) from Robert McMahan Photography

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10 Responses to Last photos of President McKinley — who are those people?

  1. [...] “Last Photos of President McKinley:  Who are those people?“ [...]

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  2. [...] Last photos of President McKinley – who are those people? (timpanogos.wordpress.com) [...]

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  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Wonderful, Mr. Higginbotham! I’ve been looking for that information for a couple of weeks. Tin Eye can’t find the photo. Good catch!

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  4. Ed Darrell says:

    1. I think Roosevelt had nothing to gain, personally, from being thrust into the presidency too early. I think Roosevelt wasn’t ready. I think the circumstances of his getting the nomination clearly show it wasn’t his pursuit at that time. So implicating TR in the assassination of McKinley doesn’t cut it. (After McKinley was shot, TR sought the advice of McKinley’s physicians, who said McKinley would recover well — and TR headed off into the Adirondack wilderness on a hunting trip. It was difficult to track him down to tell him McKinley had died — not a behavior of a conspirator.)

    Roosevelt, the guy who captured Mike Fink and his fellow bandits, the guy known as a square shooter by all the cowboys in South Dakota and all the lawyers from Harvard, the guy who could handle a gun well, does not seem like a likely assassin.

    2. Millard Fillmore conspire to murder Zachary Taylor? You know the exhumation showed no poison or any other hanky-panky, right? Assassin? Not the founder of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.

    3. There was an epidemic of respiratory disease sweeping Buffalo at the time. Everybody standing in line had a handkerchief.

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  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Got a source, Mr. Higginbotham, or is this your best guess?

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  6. j a higginbotham says:

    The “last posed photograph” of President McKinley, in the Government Building on 5 September 1901. Left to right: Mrs. John Miller Horton, Chairwoman of the Entertainment Committee of the Woman’s Board of Managers; John G. Milburn; Senor Asperoz, the Mexican Ambassador; the President; George B. Courtelyou, the President’s secretary; Col. John H. Bingham of the Government Board.

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  7. Jim Stanley says:

    The tall gent to the President’s left might be Lerch. From the Addams’ family.

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  8. chamblee54 says:

    I feel a post coming on. When you google “assassination of william mckinley conspiracy”, the first of 20k results is this article:”http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard67.html” ( Do comments here support enabled links ?
    Anyway, the article looks at the history of Presidents who died in office, with a suspicious eye at the vice president…who had the most to gain.
    One of the people he looked at was your buddy Millard Fillmore.

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  9. chamblee54 says:


    The McKinley shooting, like Kennedy and Lincoln (and probably Garfield) is surrounded in mystery.
    How did the lone gunman get go through a reception line, with a pistol wrapped up in a handkerchief, unnoticed?
    McKinley is largely forgotten today, but was President during the Spanish American War. At the time of his death, America was involved in a nasty undeclared war in The Philippines.
    Ted Roosevelt, who is much more popular in history, has only been Vice President a few months. He cannot be ignored in any conspiracy talk.

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