Trove of McKinley's books donated to library
Books from William McKinley’s White House library are seeing the light of day more than a century after the 25th president’s death.
The William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum in Canton, Ohio, has received 46 books from a descendant of the president.
Karl Ash, the museum’s librarian, said most of titles were published toward the end of the 19th century and mirror the events dominating the headlines of the day. For instance, several books are about the history, inhabitants and military campaigns of the Philippines. (The Philippines were ceded to the United States at the end of Spanish-American War in 1898. A year later war broke out as Filipinos fought for their independence.)
“You can imagine him consulting one of these and using it in some matter of importance,” Ash said.
Other titles include a bulletin by the U.S. Fish Commission, a history of the16th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry and the collected works of Henry Clay. Many of the volumes were personally presented to McKinley by the authors and feature signed dedications to him. There were no works of fiction.
“The books themselves are works of art. The binding is just beautiful on many of them,” Ash said. However, he described several as being “very brittle and desiccated.”
Ash is looking for funding to help restore the books.
“I have the time to do it and I want to do it right,” he said. “There's no rush."
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