Thursday, October 05, 2006

The assassination of President William McKinley ....The scrapbook that was a great discovery in 1977

I was visiting a friend of mine in Boonton, New Jersey in the spring of 1977. His name was Theodore Spangenberg. I would always spend my Saturdays there...A good bunch of us would get together and talk, restore phonographs, look for cool books, and have a few beers. Ted had a shop called Player Piano Headquarters...Where he restored all kinds of old player pianos. I worked on a few of them and have promised myself I would never do it again as it was very difficult work.

I had come there on a spring day in 1977 and we were all talking about a new antique book store opening across the street. I was very curious, so I was over there in a heartbeat. There was a really neat guy named Richard who ran the place. He was very much the hippy...Long hair a beard and glasses. I was very impressed and interested in this different fellow and his girlfriend.

They both wore beads and bell bottoms as did I...Bell bottoms that is...I started to buy books from him.... But it seemed that Boonton, New Jersey was not the place to have an antique book store...

By this time we had become friendly and he told me he was going to close...But he was going to cut down on some of his inventory. It was then that he showed me the William McKinley Memorial Scrapbook. It was 18 inches by 14 inches and about 5 inches thick. It weighed around 20 pounds.
It was a commercially made scrapbook made for a certain Mr. William Whiting. It was given to him by Charles Locke. It was heavy leather and filled with just about every clipping dealing with the McKinley assassination.

He wanted $40.00 for it. That was a lot of money in those days for me...But in a few weeks I had it. When I paid it off Richard told me that it was really a unique piece. I read it from cover to cover....It amazed me how great the out pouring of grief was for McKinley, and yet no one seems to remember. So that is why this story is here. I wanted to share the book with I do not think there are many others quite like it.

The McKinley assassination was shocking in the fact that it was the 3rd Presidential assassination in only 36 years!!!! Lincoln in 1865. Garfield in 1881, and McKinley in 1901.
I will in time write more on the book. But for now, I just wanted to share a few pictures and some highlights of that awful event. With a piece of the history that makes it possible...This amazing book from late 1901. The next few stories will have many pictures and stories from this scrapbook.

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