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    [Benjamin Harrison]. Manuscript Ledger of Visitors to the White House Kept by Charles D. Loeffler, doorkeeper to the President's private office. A total of 39 sheets, 5.5" x 9", some with entries on both sides, logging all visitors for the days March 7 through April 24, 1889. Together with a page and a half notation dated September 11, 1889.

    Benjamin Harrison had been inaugurated on March 4, and the entries record all of the activity from the very start of his administration. The very second page records visits by cabinet members; and March 12th records the first full Cabinet meeting. On that same page, Loeffler records that "The President went walking with Mr. Beecher."

    Entries include all Cabinet meetings, and visits from political notables likely calling with appeals for patronage. Entries of note include: On March 15, a visit from the Georgia delegation that includes General Longstreet is recorded. That very sheet cites a visit from a Virginia delegation that includes John S. Wise (son of Confederate general Henry A. Wise), as well as Dakota Territory Governor Arthur C. Mellette.

    Loeffler periodically makes notes about events. While the influence of the Civil War is present throughout the many pages, the profound impact that the war continued to have can be seen in an note written on September 11, 1889. Loeffler writes: "Executive Mansion... This has been a very busy day for yesterday and today the Prest. was almost in hourly consultation with The Secy of the Int. Genl Noble - The Secy of the Navy Mr. Tracey - The Atty Genl Mr Miller & U.S. Marshal Col Ransdale concerning the controversy existing Bet. The Secy of the Int. and Corporal Tanner, Comd. Of Pensions..." Loeffler's notes continue recording the comings and goings of all the players, finishing on the verso: "late yesterday afternoon The Secy of the Navy, The Atty Genl and Secy Noble and Senator Hiscock were in consultation until 6:30 in regard to Couns. Tanners Case."

    James W. Tanner had been an avid advocate for benefits for Civil War veterans. He was wounded at Second Manassas, and had both legs amputated; and after the war worked diligently to help found services for soldiers. He was a strong supporter of Harrison's during his campaign for president and was rewarded with the post of Commissioner of Pensions. Perhaps in response to the previous administration's policies on granting benefits, Tanner's office was quick to approve all claims. Unfortunately, the result was that many fraudulent claims were granted, and Tanner soon was embroiled in a scandal. Loeffler's notes record the behind the scenes activities at the White House to resolve the issue. Interior Secretary Noble, who oversaw Tanner's post, soon forced his resignation.

    A fantastic behind the scenes view into the early days of President Harrison's administration. From the Estate of Malcolm S. Forbes.

    Condition: Gentle toning throughout. Written in ink, with a few added annotations in pencil.


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    October, 2016
    19th Wednesday
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