Today in History: September 5 – President McKinley’s Last Speech

Pan-American Exposition

Thomas Edison filmed President William McKinley’s last public speech, given at the Pan-American Exposition on September 5, 1901. The Edison film company catalog describes the film:

“In this picture we present a wonderful and life-like likeness of President McKinley. He first walks upon the platform, escorting Mrs. McKinley, whom he very reverently shows to a seat. The President is next introduced to the audience by President Milburn, of the Pan-American Exposition, and, amid hand-clapping, cheering, and waving of hats, he at once begins his memorable speech. He is close to our camera and we secured an absolutely perfect photograph”

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“President McKinley’s Speech at the Pan-American Exposition” – Thomas Edison, Inc.

John G. Milburn, a prominent Buffalo lawyer and President of the Pan-American Exposition, introduces President McKinley at the beginning of the film. The next day, President McKinley was shot and fatally wounded in the exposition’s Temple of Music building. The wounded McKinley was taken to Milburn’s house on Delaware Avenue and died there on September 14, 1901.


Source: Library of Congress

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