Source: Buffalo Enquirer
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Sketch of Secretary Cortelyou”
City of publication: Buffalo, New York
Date of publication: 16 September 1901
Volume number: 58
Issue number: 41
|“Sketch of Secretary Cortelyou.” Buffalo Enquirer 16 Sept. 1901 v58n41: p. 10.|
|George B. Cortelyou.|
|Grover Cleveland; George B. Cortelyou; Daniel S. Lamont; Robert A. Maxwell; Robert L. O’Brien; John Addison Porter.|
|The “Mr. Lamont” identified below (second paragraph) appears to be an error. Presumably it should instead be “Mr. Cortelyou.”|
Sketch of Secretary Cortelyou
Entered the Government Service Some Years Ago as Mere Clerk.
It will be six years October 31, 1901, since
George B. Cortelyou, through the kind offices of Secretary Lamont and Fourth
Assistant Postmaster-General Maxwell, entered the Executive Mansion at Washington
as a stenographer at $1,600 per year. Now he is next to the President of the
United States in the most confidential relations, having succeeded the late
John Addison Porter of Connecticut as Private Secretary.
Prior to his entrance into the White House, Mr. Cortelyou had occupied a minor position in the Postoffice Department, his first appointment being at the compensation of $900 per annum. His executive qualities, however, attracted the attention of the Fourth Assistant Postmaster-General, and he was quickly promoted as confidential secretary to that official. Secretary Lamont had been sponsor for Mr. Lamont, who had been a resident of Duchess County, N. Y., and he kept an eye upon his protege with a view to advancing him just as rapidly as circumstances would permit.
Transferred to White House.
An opportunity occurred to transfer Mr. Cortelyou
to the White House when Mr. Robert L. O’Brien resigned as stenographer to President
Cleveland to become a newspaper correspondent in Washington. Mr. Cortelyou was
chosen to fill the vacancy, and when President Cleveland retired the protege
of Secretary Lamont was still as his post. During the regime of Private Secretary
Porter a great deal of attention was paid to social obligations at the White
House, and the President was compelled to rely more and more upon his stenographer
in order to keep in touch with public affairs.
When failing health necessitated the retirement of Mr. Porter there was no hesitation on the part of the President about choosing his successor and the mantle fell upon the shoulders of Stenographer Cortelyou. How well he has justified this choice has been demonstrated from the beginning of the Spanish War down to the hour when the President was stricken, at Buffalo, September 6th, 1901.
Reliance in Him.
Callers at the White House upon official or other
business will recall the reliance that the President felt in his private secretary
for whenever a mooted question arose his unvarying request was: “Send for Cortelyou
and see what he has to say on this subject.”
Always alert and faithful in the discharge of his duty, it is no wonder to those who know the intimate relations between the President and his private secretary that in the crucial moment before undergoing the operation at the hands of the surgeons that the stricken President enquired of Cortelyou “Are these surgeons?” receiving an affirmative answer and confident that Cortelyou knew what he was saying, the President submitted without further questioning or anxiety as to the result.