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This Century-Old Ohio Footage Is The First Time A President Was Caught On Film

When people think of Ohio, they may not realize how innovative we’ve been in the past.

We were the first to do so many things. In fact, the first film footage of a president was shot right here in Ohio.

William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States won his first election in 1896. When he received the Republican Nomination earlier that year, there weren’t any cameras rolling.

But just a few weeks later, McKinley and his secretary, George Cortelyou, recreated the moment for a two-man crew from American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. The recreation was shot on 68 mm film and shows McKinley and Cortelyou emerging from the soon-to-be president’s Canton home where Mrs. Ida McKinley can be seen on a rocking chair on the front porch.

“This view was taken upon Mr. McKinley’s lawn at his home in Canton, Ohio. Mr. McKinley appears walking across the lawn in company with his Secretary, who hands him a telegram, which he reads with apparent satisfaction. The characteristic walk and gestures of Mr. McKinley will be noted with interest by his friends.”AMB Picture Catalogue

McKinley served as president from March 4, 1897, through September 14, 1901. His road to the White House began in Ohio, where he was elected to Congress at just 34. He served in the House of Representatives for 14 years, before returning to Ohio full-time to serve as Governor for two terms.

His presidential tenure brought the tail end of a recession, as well as a war. Although he was highly regarded, he was assassinated just months into his second term.

McKinley is one of 8 presidents produced by the state of Ohio, the most recent being Warren G. Harding, who served as president from 1921 to 1923.

In fact, more U.S. presidents come from Ohio than from any other state in the union. That’s how we’ve earned the nickname “the Mother of Presidents.”