Publication information
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Source: Woman’s Journal
Source type: newspaper
Document type: letter to the editor
Document title: “A Reminiscence of the Pan-American”
Author(s): Hall, Alice Crossette
City of publication: Boston, Massachusetts
Date of publication: 26 October 1901
Volume number: 32
Issue number: 43
Pagination: 342

Hall, Alice Crossette. “A Reminiscence of the Pan-American.” Woman’s Journal 26 Oct. 1901 v32n43: p. 342.
full text
Alice Crossette Hall; William McKinley; McKinley assassination; McKinley assassination (persons present on exposition grounds); McKinley assassination (public response: Buffalo, NY); McKinley assassination (personal response); William McKinley (surgery).
Named persons
Alice Crossette Hall; William McKinley.


A Reminiscence of the Pan-American

Editors Woman’s Journal:
     I was speeding Eastward by rail along the shore of Lake Erie, after a visit among the famous vineyards of that region—bound for Buffalo and my first visit to the Exposition, where I had engaged to meet a friend at a certain hour.
     It was during the latter part of the day following the President’s memorable visit, which had been in all respects so satisfactory. I was improving my first opportunity to read the speech given by him on that occasion, which proved to be the text of a conversation between myself and the gentleman occupying the same seat—a citizen of Buffalo, and an ardent admirer of the President. Indeed, so compelling was his eulogy that it would have won the acquiescence of the most indifferent of listeners, which, in fact, I was. For, from holding a once apathetic attitude toward Mr. McKinley as a magistrate and a man, I had, in spite of an inability to endorse all of his policy, come to feel confidence in his sincerity, goodness of heart, and determination to do his duty at any cost. As to his personality, I had only to take a look into his kindly eyes, and feel the cordial grasp of his hand, to be conscious of an allegiance which had grown into an article of faith by the time I saw him going up to the Capitol through throngs of enthusiastic fellow-citizens, to take his second oath of office. Therefore I was not far behind my companion in expressions of loyalty.
     With our minds still full of the subject, we alighted at the station in Buffalo, and boarded a trolley car—he bound for his residence and I for the appointed meeting with my friend at the Exposition. It was then that the staring head-lines of the “Extras” in the hands of the newsboys and the excited talk of the passengers acquainted me with the treachery committed upon the man whose character we had just been discussing. Still ignorant of the particulars, knowing nothing as to the condition and whereabouts of the victim, I entered the Exposition at the West Amherst gate, to find myself confronted by a crowd of people silent, motionless, with eager, strained faces turned in one direction.
     “What is the matter?” I asked of a bystander. “What are the people doing here?”
     “Waiting for bulletins,” was the reply.
     Then the whole situation thrust itself upon me. In the emergency hospital close at hand, undergoing that dreadful operation, the results of which that stilled throng so anxiously awaited, lay the stricken ruler of the country.
     Sore at heart and half dazed, I walked on up the broad mall to the point where it takes a rise over the canal, and, turning back, saw a sight which burnt itself into my memory with a distinctness which can never be effaced. Below me was that mass of awe-stricken humanity. Beyond it, back of the square towers of the gate through which I had just entered, and the more picturesque roofs and turrets of Alt Nürnberg, was the flush of a wonderful sunset, beautiful yet sinister, which made a weird background for so impressive a scene.
     In a softly tinted sky the sun, a great rose-hued ball, seemed to be struggling with an upheaval of ominous-looking clouds, which thrust themselves aggressively across its flaming disk as if trying to swallow it, or at least hide its splendor from mortal eyes. To my excited imagination, the scene seemed to typify that which was taking place within the hospital—the struggle of a great soul in the grasp of a fate which was drawing its sinister shadows around it, trying to eclipse if not extinguish it altogether. “How would the struggle end?” I asked myself, as I turned shudderingly away.
     How sad has been the answer!


     Cambridge, Mass.



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