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Title Ida Saxton McKinley
Collection First Lady Dolls
Catalog Number 2015.017.027
Description Ida Saxton McKinley
Wife of William McKinley - Served as First Lady from 1897-1901.

Ida Saxton was born June 8, 1847 in Caton, Ohio. Her physical appearance describes her as short with blue eyes and auburn hair.
Ida graduated from Brooke Hall Female Seminary in Media, Pennsylvania, in 1868. It was at this "finishing school" where Ida was taught to refine aspects of what elite women were socialized to believe as being necessary to their potential role as hostess of a prosperous household. She was employed by her father as a clerk in his Stark County Bank. She was soon promoted to cashier and then during the absence of her father, she was entrusted with managing the bank.
Ida Saxton was married on January 25, 1871 to William McKinley, Jr., a lawyer, Stark County's prosecuting attorney. She was 23 years old.
Radical and permanent change affected Ida's life within two and a half years of their marriage. Just prior to her wedding, her grandmother died and just after, she lost her grandfather John Saxton. Two weeks before Ida gave birth to her second child, her mother died in March of 1873. Their infant daughter then died only four months later in August of 1873.
In this period, she sustained a head and back injury of blunt force, which was likely the cause of late-onset epilepsy and neurological leg damage, which resulted in chronic immobility.
Two years after the death of "Little Ida", the remaining McKinley child, Katie, died from scarlet fever. This loss traumatized Ida McKinley and in many respects it was the death from which she never truly recovered.
Ida Saxton was 49 years old when she became First Lady. She participated in all of the 1901 inaugural events without incident. Rather than permit her various health conditions to limit her role as First Lady, Ida adapted them in fulfilling what she believed was her duty as a president's wife.
She received guests seated in a large armchair rather than stand alongside her husband at receptions. Seating protocol at formal dinners was changed to permit her to be placed beside her husband rather than across the table from him. She hosted weekly receptions for women upstairs in the oval sitting room, located in the family quarters, rather than downstairs in the public state rooms. Some occasions augmented her presence at public events in the White House with social aides who included one of several nieces, her sister and the wife of the Vice President.
There was no general criticism of these adaptations and she became a role model to many Americans with disabilities.
Ida McKinley supported a woman's right to equal higher education and a woman's right to vote.
Ida accompanied her husband to the Pan-American Exposition in September 1901. They visited Niagara Falls but avoided all of the Exposition venues due to the large numbers of crowds there. She was therefore, not with her husband when he was standing in a public receiving line at the Temple of Music and shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz on September 9, 1901.
Ida Saxton McKinley died May 26, 1907, 59 years old, in Caton, Ohio.
Event Bicentennial First Lady Doll Exhibit - Community Project
Creator Park, Phyllis Juhlin
Costume Costume by Virginia Daniels Rigby
Given Given by Isobel Dillman Batty
Source Uintah County Library