Publication information
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Source: The Career of a Journalist
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “Chapter XXXI”
Author(s): Salisbury, William
Publisher: B. W. Dodge and Company
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: 1908
Pagination: 293-300 (excerpt below includes only pages 294-96)

Salisbury, William. “Chapter XXXI.” The Career of a Journalist. New York: B. W. Dodge, 1908: pp. 293-300.
excerpt of chapter
William Salisbury; Carl Browne; McKinley assassination (paintings); McKinley assassination (popular culture); McKinley memorialization; James F. McKinley; McKinley family (Chicago, IL).
Named persons
Carl Browne; Jacob S. Coxey; Jesus Christ; James F. McKinley (nephew); William McKinley.
From title page: Drawings by O. Theodore Jackman.
The events described below occur in Chicago, Illinois.


Chapter XXXI [excerpt]

     One day I saw on the Auditorium register the name “Carl Browne.” It recalled visions of tramping armies of ragged and hungry men. Carl Browne was the name of the chief lieutenant of the famous “General” Coxey, who, in 1894, led legions of the unemployed to Washington, fired with the belief that the Government should give them work or bread. After the Coxey movement fell to pieces Browne had become a socialistic lecturer. [294][295]
     I learned that it was the same Carl Browne who was now paying three dollars a day for a room, without meals, at the leading hotel of Chicago. And he was paying this out of money contributed to the cause of Socialism. For the present, however, he had turned aside from Socialism to woo the muse of art. He had painted a picture of the assassination of President McKinley.
     “You ought to see the picture,” the hotel clerk told me. “It’s a wonder. He’s not in his room now, and if you won’t tell anyone, I’ll let you look at it.”
     I promised. The clerk took me up to the room and unlocked the door. The painting was certainly unusual. “The people look like wooden images, don’t they?” asked the clerk. “There stands McKinley, with his hand out, as if he were saying, ‘Come on, now, and assassinate me. Here I am.’ And those angels who are swooping down to take the President’s soul away are like witches in a nightmare.”
     A half hour later Mr. Browne himself, bewhiskered and tired-looking, was showing me his picture, and I was looking at it as though I had never seen it before. “And just think,” he said, “I never took an art lesson, though I have painted signs. This whole work was inspired.”
     “Then you must believe in inspiration pretty strongly,” I remarked.
     “Sure,” he said. “Why, the whole Coxey army was inspired, you know. The spirit of Christ was with us. Each of us had a small piece of Christ’s soul, and that kept us marching onward.” [295][296]
     Mr. Browne was on the way to Columbus, Ohio, where he hoped the Legislature would appropriate about a hundred thousand dollars to buy his masterpiece. He showed me an indorsement [sic] from an art critic in Iowa, which read: “Mr. Browne’s painting is truly a wonderful work. It must be seen to be appreciated.”
     I never heard that the Ohio Legislature bought the picture, but I did hear, some time afterward, that Mr. Browne was exhibiting his picture and himself in a dime museum.
     A few days after this I met and talked with Lieutenant James McKinley. He told me he had served as a private soldier in the Spanish War. He was now a staff officer in the regular army. It made me feel more respect for him, and for the memory of his uncle, to learn that the Presidential power had not sooner been used to make him an officer.
     Some weeks later I had an experience which made me feel still more respect for the McKinley clan. I found a family of that name on the West Side of town. They were related to the Presidential family. None of them had ever held any public office, yet they all spoke highly of their famous dead relative. They were now living in poverty. They earnestly asked me not to publish anything about them. It was this request that made me feel sure that they were related to the family of the President.



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