Publication information

Evening Herald
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Assassin in the Chair”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Syracuse, New York
Date of publication: 11 April 1903
Volume number: 27
Issue number: 8069
Pagination: 8

“Assassin in the Chair.” Evening Herald 11 Apr. 1903 v27n8069: p. 8.
full text
Leon Czolgosz (execution: popular culture); Leon Czolgosz (waxworks).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley; Charles R. Wright.

Assassin in the Chair


Phonograph Purports to Give Czolgosz’s Last Words and Screeches of
Negro Being Burned at the Stake—Pictures Show Scenes of Electrocution.

     The exhibit in the Wieting block has among its features, which are in general purely amusing, a few that have been exciting unfavorable comment.
     Chief among these objectionable features are a phonograph purporting to give the last words of the assassin of the late President McKinley, a moving picture reproduction of the execution of Czolgosz, and a phonographic reproduction of the cries and groans of a negro burned at the stake.
     The phonograph giving the last words of Czolgosz has over it a large placard showing a crazed man peering from behind bars, an allurement for the many children who frequent the place.
     Czolgosz—by phonograph—relates in boastful tones the reasons why he shot McKinley and states that he believed it a duty to murder to rid the country of what he in his madness called a tyrant.
     On the other side of the hall, marked by a placard larger than those on the picture machines around it, are the pictures showing Czolgosz in the death chair. It pictures the prison officials bringing the man from his cell to the death chair, fastening on his head the death cap, binding his arm [sic] and ankles, fastening the electrode to his leg, and then the electrician throwing the switch. The sharp contortions of the body as the current is turned on and the features twisted into a leering smile are too poisonous for the eyes of the children who are the patrons of the place.
     But more hideous than either of the others is the phonographic reproduction of the groans and pleadings of a negro being burned at the stake. The negro pleads and begs with the mob only to be greeted by fiendish yells of “Roast him,” “Shoot him,” “Make it warm for him.” One hears the order to pour oil over the body of the victim and apply the torch. Then the agonized cries of the wretch and his final cry of defiance, “I done it. I’m glad I done it.” The very young believe that Czolgosz or the negro at the stake said these things into a phonograph.
     Chief of Police Wright interfered several months ago when a wax statue of Czolgosz was brought to this city for purposes of exhibition and the thing was never shown. It is to be hoped that he may find some way of suppressing these objectionable features of this exhibition.