Source: Philadelphia Medical Journal
Source type: journal
Document type: news column
Document title: “American News and Notes”
Date of publication: 5 October 1901
Volume number: 8
Issue number: 14
Pagination: 543-45 (excerpt below includes only pages 543 and 543-44)
|“American News and Notes.” Philadelphia Medical Journal 5 Oct. 1901 v8n14: pp. 543-45.|
|McKinley memorialization (Trenton, NJ); execution (by electrocution).|
|Leon Czolgosz; David Bennett Hill; William Kemmler; Alfred P. Southwick.|
|The following excerpt comprises two nonconsecutive portions of this news column (p. 543 and pp. 543-44). Omission of text within the excerpt is denoted with a bracketed indicator (e.g., [omit]).|
American News and Notes [excerpt]
McKinley’s Memorial Fund.—The people of Trenton are much interested in a McKinley memorial. A sum of money is to be raised by small popular subscriptions for the erection of a wing to the Mercer Hospital to be named in memory of the late president. Several hundred dollars have already been contributed.
Electrocution.—This method of exterminating criminals was first suggested by Dr. A. P. Southwick, of Buffalo, in 1875. It was only ten years later that Governor Hill of New York permitted the substitution of the electric chair for the gallows. In 1888 an act was passed directing the execution of capital criminals by the electric chair, and in 1890, electrocution was first attempted upon a murderer named Kemmler, at Auburn, N. Y. The chair consists of an adjustable head-rest, in which the head electrode is fixed, binding straps, and another electrode, which,  penetrating the back of the chair, is applied to the lower spine. The electrodes connect with a coil leading from the dynamo, the voltage reaching as high as 2000. The chair is fastened to the floor, its feet being well insulated. Death occurs in from 10 to 20 seconds, and is thus almost instantaneous. It is in this chair that Czolgosz will meet his death during the last days of October.