Source: Morning Telegraph
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Posed ‘Sam the Bootblack’ for Real Assassin”
City of publication: New York, New York
Date of publication: 13 September 1901
Volume number: 63
Issue number: 220
|“Posed ‘Sam the Bootblack’ for Real Assassin.” Morning Telegraph 13 Sept. 1901 v63n220: p. 12.|
|Sam the Bootblack; McKinley assassination (news coverage); Leon Czolgosz (photographs).|
|Leon Czolgosz [misspelled below]; Sam the Bootblack.|
Posed “Sam the Bootblack” for Real Assassin
Picture Appeared in Illustrated Weekly As the Only Genuine Gzolgosz.
GAVE BOY A SUDDEN SHOCK
He Had Consented to Be Photographed As a Murderer, but Not
As an Anarchist.
There is one person in this city
whose ideas of illustrated journalism received a sudden shock yesterday. He
is known in police circles as “Sam the [B]ootblack.” It may be, it doubtless
is, that he possesses a patronymic and perchance a Christian name given him
at the baptismal font in far off Italy. But so far as the West Thirtieth street
[sic] police station is concerned he has no other name. As “Sam the Bootblack”
he has been known for years. There were signs yesterday that a new name might
be applied to him—a name which is being often printed in the newspapers of the
land—but a certain wicked look in Sam’s eyes makes it look as if the attempt
to do so might be resented.
He is a most obliging little son of Italy, is Sam, and when two men with a camera walked into the West Thirtieth street [sic] house of discomfort last Saturday, saying they were photographers from an illustrated weekly in search of a subject who would kindly pose for them as a murderer, the bootblack came not unwillingly into the breach.
Told Him He Would Be Famous.
“Just the thing,” cried the artsts
[sic], slapping him on the back. “You will make a fine picture for our
paper. Why, man, you will be famous. Every one who sees your picture will want
to have his shoes blacked by the original. You will make a fortune, Sam.” Which
language would seem to indicate that the confidence men are not all selling
bricks of brass, nor packages of greengoods.
“We must first fix you up a bit so you will look like the real thing,” said the men of art, who had come prepared for the worst.
They pasted a big strip of plaster across the bootblack’s nose, and marked his face to indicate cuts and bruises without number. They placed an old slouch hat upon his head and a soiled handkerchief about his neck and posed him behind a cell door which had been carefully locked upon him.
Told Him to Look Desperate.
“Now, look as desperate as you
can,” they said.
Whether Sam looked desperate or frightened it would be hard to say. He said afterward that he began to think he was a murderer. And just then the flashlight was burned and the picture taken.
The two men with the camera were generous fellows. After washing the plaster and the blacking off Sam’s face they shook him warmly by the hand and told him he was a noble fellow. Then they went away, leaving him perplexed and wondering and a good deal disturbed by the experience. It was the first time he ever had been locked up in a cell and he did not like it.
“I thought I was in there for good,” said Sam, shaking his head dolefully.
The Mystery Was Solved.
The mystery was solved yesterday
when on the news stands appeared copies of the illustrated weekly. Among the
truthful pictures which illustrated its valuable columns was one which persons
who have seen Sam and a photograph of him are certain he posed for. And underneath
the picture was a caption to this effect:
“The Only Genuine Picture, Taken at Buffalo, of President McKinley’s Assassin.”
As such the poor little bootblack will go wherever the illustrated weekly circulates.
If the two men with the camera were to show up again in Sam’s domain there is reason to fear that he may pose as a real murderer, but it will not be under the name and supposed identity of the Buffalo Anarchist.