Category Archives: News

Miss New Jersey to Play First Lady Cleveland at Presidential Ball

We are thrilled to have Miss New Jersey Jaime Gialloreto joining us on November 10th. She will play First Lady Frances Folsom Cleveland at the 1893 Inaugural Ball

Article Submitted by Jessica Levin

Jaime Gialloreto joins Grover Cleveland’s Grandson and Great-Grandson  in Historical Reenactment
Caldwell, NJ  — The Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial Association and The Montclair Orchestra are pleased to announce that Miss New Jersey, Jaime Gialloreto will assume the role of First Lady Frances Cleveland at her husband’s inaugural ball at the Women’s Club of Upper Montclair on Saturday, November 10th, 2018.  Adorned in a 19th Century ballgown, Miss Gialloreto will represent the grandeur and splendor of the 1893 inauguration of the Nation’s 22nd and 24th President.

“I am excited for the ball because it is giving me an opportunity to step into some of not only New Jersey’s history, but the history of this country as well,” noted the reigning Miss New Jersey. Playing the part of the President himself will be George Cleveland, Grover’s grandson who bears a striking resemblance to the historical figure who was born in Caldwell, NJ in 1837.A history buff himself, Cleveland had the honor of playing his grandfather during the reenactment of his wedding to Frances.   “The key to a bright future is learning from the past.  The Grover Cleveland Birthplace is the only repository for information and memorabilia specific to my grandfather.  It provides a physical, tactile learning experience that you can’t get on the internet.  Supporting its existence and growth through an interactive and experiential fundraiser that evokes the emotions of the time period makes perfect sense.  I love that I have the opportunity to be a part of teaching history to others and can contribute to the ongoing education that the Birthplace provides.” Joining George will be his nephew and Grover Cleveland’s great-grandson US Ambassador Thomas Robertson IV playing Vice President Adlai Stevenson. Other celebrity participants include Masters of Ceremonies John Elliott of CBS Morning News along with former White House pastry chef to five presidents, Chef Roland Mesnier.    Mesnier’s appearance will include a book signing, the sharing of humorous stories about his life and time in our nation’s presidential residence. Elliott’s wife, Mary Ellen will also be part of the festivities assuming the role of Mrs. Adlai Stevenson. Mary Jean Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower will also be in attendance at the historic fundraiser to benefit The Grover Cleveland Birthplace and the Montclair Orchestra. The evening will feature the actual Inauguration of President Cleveland. The guests will take part in an enchanting and historical evening complete with a musical interlude by the Montclair Orchestra under the direction of Maestro David Chan. It will include dinner and dancing and a live auction conducted by Chef Roland Mesnier.  An exhibition of historic memorabilia from the Grover Cleveland Birthplace will be on display highlighting various elements of the President’s early life. The evening’s menu has been carefully selected to reflect culinary trends reminiscent of the time Cleveland was in office.

Relive the romance of the late 19th Century and support the Grover Cleveland Birthplace and The Montclair Orchestra and the education they provide. Purchase tickets for $300 per person or $500 for Patrons who receive a copy of Chef Mesnier’s book and preferred ballroom seating.  Sponsorship opportunities are also available and all proceeds benefit the Grover Cleveland Birthplace and The Montclair Orchestra. To purchase tickets or for more information, Click Here For more information contact 973-226-0001.

 

About the Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial Association

The Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial Association (GCBMA) is a conservancy and advocacy group dedicated to preserving the home and legacy of President Cleveland, the only U.S. President born in New Jersey. Through volunteer-based initiatives, our goal is to increase awareness and support of the Grover Cleveland birthplace and its heritage. The GCBMA activities include fundraising in support of educational programs and lectures, interpretation and preservation of the birthplace and its collection of historic objects, and history-themed social activities which engage the public. Working in partnership with the State of New Jersey, we look forward to implementation of our plan to build a Visitor Center on site, providing state of the art space for educational and programming activities, as well as to display historically significant artifacts and exhibitions related to Grover Cleveland and his Presidency.

About The Montclair Orchestra

The Montclair Orchestra is a unique training orchestra that offers fellowship playing positions to students from some of the most recognizable music schools in the world, including The Juilliard School, Cali School of Music, Mannes School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and Mason-Gross School for the Arts. Playing alongside the student fellows are professional ‘mentors’, including some of the world’s best orchestral musicians. Players from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St Luke’s, and other NYC-area orchestras play alongside the student fellows for an unforgettable experience for both musicians and audience. Leading the orchestra in its second season is Music Director David Chan, the concertmaster for the prestigious Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

 

 

 

Grover Cleveland Inaugural Ball Celebrates New Jersey History on November 10, 2018

 

Playing the President during the reenactment of the inauguration will be Grover Cleveland’s grandson, George Cleveland.

Article Submitted by Jessica Levin

Experiential Fundraiser Features Celebrity Chef and The Montclair Orchestra
August 10, 2018 – Caldwell, New Jersey — The Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial Association and The Montclair Orchestra are pleased to invite the public to an interactive and opulent ball celebrating the 1883 Inauguration of President Grover Cleveland at the Upper Montclair Women’s Club in Upper Montclair, New Jersey on Saturday, November 10th, 2018 at 6:30pm.

Designed to be an immersive experience, the black-tie affair pays tribute to the life and accomplishments of New Jersey’s only native-born President, Grover Cleveland. All money raised will go to increase awareness of Cleveland’s birthplace located in Caldwell, New Jersey and his historical significance.

Playing the President during the reenactment of the inauguration will be his grandson, George Cleveland and playing Vice President Adlai Stevenson, will be his great-grandson, US Ambassador Thomas Robertson IV.  John Elliott of CBS Morning News along with former White House pastry chef to five presidents, Chef Roland Mesnier will serve as Masters of Ceremonies.  Mesnier’s appearance will include a book signing, the sharing of humorous stories about his life and time in our nation’s presidential residence.

A formal and upscale gathering, guests will take part in an enchanting and historical evening complete with dinner and dancing to the music of the Montclair Orchestra, directed by David Chan, the Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera.  An exhibition of historic memorabilia from the Grover Cleveland Birthplace will be on display highlighting various elements of the President’s early life. Transporting attendees back in time will be a display of elegant ballgowns and formal men’s attire including a gorgeous1890’s gown, courtesy of the Morris Museum.  The evening’s cuisine will feature delicacies reminiscent of the time Cleveland was in office.

Inaugural Gala Chair, Alice W. Gibson notes “It’s important to remember history and teach the next generation about the past. We are fortunate to have a presidential birthplace in our state; fundraisers like this support its mission. We’ve planned an evening that will feel like you are stepping back into a moment in time and I am personally very excited to witness this historic event.”

To relive the romance of the late 19th Century, guests may purchase tickets for $300 per person and $500 for Patrons, who will receive a copy of Chef Mesnier’s book and preferred ballroom seating.  Sponsorship opportunities are also available and all proceeds benefit the Grover Cleveland Birthplace and The Montclair Orchestra. To purchase tickets or for more information, Click Here or contact 973-226-0001.

 

About The Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial Association

The Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial Association (GCBMA) is a conservancy and advocacy group dedicated to preserving the home and legacy of President Cleveland, the only U.S. President born in New Jersey. Through volunteer-based initiatives, our goal is to increase awareness and support of the Grover Cleveland birthplace and its heritage. The GCBMA activities include fundraising in support of educational programs and lectures, interpretation and preservation of the birthplace and its collection of historic objects, and history-themed social activities which engage the public. Working in partnership with the State of New Jersey, we look forward to implementation of our plan to build a Visitor Center on site, providing state of the art space for educational and programming activities, as well as to display historically significant artifacts and exhibitions related to Grover Cleveland and his Presidency.

 

About the Montclair Orchestra

The Montclair Orchestra is a unique training orchestra that offers fellowship playing positions to students from some of the most recognizable music schools in the world, including The Juilliard School, Cali School of Music, Mannes School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and Mason-Gross School for the Arts. Playing alongside the student fellows are professional ‘mentors’, including some of the world’s best orchestral musicians. Players from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St Luke’s, and other NYC-area orchestras play alongside the student fellows for an unforgettable experience for both musicians and audience. Leading the orchestra in its second season is Music Director David Chan, the concertmaster for the prestigious Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

 

 

Historic Fence Rehab Takes Place at the Birthplace

Written by Bruce White

A flurry of activity took place at the Grover Cleveland Birthplace in June when Gateway Fence of Cedar Grove, NJ arrived on site. Their mission was to stabilize and rehab the elegant wooden fence that defines the Birthplace property along Bloomfield Avenue. The historically accurate fence has enhanced the Birthplace over the past three decades but was showing signs of age, so plans went into action to save it for the future. Michael Brown, owner of Gateway Fence generously agreed to donate time and expertise to make the fence shipshape, just in time for the Annual 4th of July Ice Cream Social. After consultation with Sharon Farrell, Caretaker of the Birthplace and with officials from the NJ State Department of Environmental Protection, approval was given for Gateway to perform stabilization work on the fence. On June 18 Mike’s crew of technicians repacked or set into concrete the upright posts making them plumb and reattached the various wooden elements of the fence that had come loose. As a result, the fence is now in stable condition and ready for a fresh coat of stain, which will further safeguard it.

Photographs from the 19th century showed a fence in place along Bloomfield Avenue, but by the late 20th century the fence was gone. In 2001 the GCBMA decided to create a historically accurate reproduction of a fence typical to Caldwell in the 19th century and commissioned Walpole Woodworkers to produce and install one. At that time, Dorothy Budd Bartle, GCBMA President donated the majority of the approx. $38,000 needed to purchase the fence; upon installation the GCBMA donated the fence to the State of NJ. In May 2018, GCBMA Board Member Bruce White reached out to Michael Brown, owner of Gateway Fence of Cedar Grove, NJ to ask for his expertise and advice on how best to save the fence which was visibly deteriorating. Mike offered to assess the fence and make the repairs necessary to stabilize it, doing so as a charitable contribution. During his initial site visit, Mike quickly determined that many of the upright posts were leaning and showed signs of wood rot; he noted that many of the other fence elements showed signs of rot and were starting to fail as well.

The GCBMA is committed to further preserving this very visible element of the Birthplace site, so additional planning is ongoing, in concert with plans to construct a new Visitor Center on site later this year. In the meantime, we can all rest easier knowing that the fence is stable and looking better than it has in years. Thanks again to Michael Brown and Gateway Fence!

It Ain’t Over With “Grover”: Baseball, Grover Cleveland, and Presidents

 At the Grover Cleveland Birthplace 4th of July Ice Cream Social this year (2018), the educator “Traveling Trunks” will be spotlighting “Baseball” and the connection to Grover Cleveland and other Presidents.  Young (and older) attendees at the “Social” will be encouraged to see our display and take “first pitches” with red, white, and blue wiffle balls.  Attendees will also be treated to our previous displays, “The Origins of Basketball” and “The History of the Frisbee”.  You might also see a few people recite “Casey At the Bat” and sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at our annual event.

 

President Grover Cleveland and Baseball

In the recent book, The Presidents and the Pastime: The History of Baseball and the White House by Curt Smith, Smith discusses a 1885 meeting with the championship Chicago White Stockings and President Grover Cleveland at the White House.  Cleveland was a long time baseball fan.  When meeting “Cap” Anson, Captain of the White Stockings, Cleveland asked how his old friend, Jimmy “Pud” Galvin was.  When Cleveland was sheriff and mayor of Buffalo, he and Galvin were good friends.

Cleveland was a fan but certainly not in playing shape when President.  In the book Baseball, The Presidents’ Game by William B. Mead and Paul Dickson, the authors also write of this White House meeting.  When greeting the rest of the team, Cleveland had difficulty shaking the hands of the physically fit White Stockings players.  Player Mike “King” Kelly wrote, “There wasn’t a man in the crowd that wasn’t six feet in height and were all in lovely condition.  Their hands were as hard as iron.  The president’s hand was fat and soft”.  When Kelly shook Cleveland’s hand, he  “….squeezed so hard that he winced”.  As a result, Kelly reported that Cleveland’s hand was in pain and very swollen.  Kelly added, “…he would rather shake hands with 1,000 people than a bad nine after that day” and did not shake hands with the team when they left.  Cleveland’s hand nearly “doubled in size”.  (Mead and Dickson point out that Cleveland was our second heaviest President and weighed 250 pounds.  Cleveland once said, “bodily movement is among the dreary and unsatisfactory things of life”.)  Although Cleveland had challenges with the handshaking, Kelly concluded, “He impressed me as being a charming, courteous gentleman who had considerable backbone, and democratic enough to be a Democratic president of our glorious country”.

Cleveland’s Victorian work ethic is spotlighted in this meeting with the White Stockings.  When leaving, Anson asked Cleveland if he would come to a White Stockings game but the President turned him down.  Cleveland stated, “What do you imagine the American people would think of me if I wasted my time going to the ball game?”.   Smith writes how Cleveland understood how Victorian America would “applaud” him for his work ethic..

Presidents attending baseball games didn’t end with Cleveland’s decision not to go to a game.  In between Cleveland’s two terms, Benjamin Harrison became the first president to attend a major league game (June 6, 1892) when he saw the Cincinnati Reds beat the Washington Senators, 7-4 at the Swampoodle Grounds, which was located on the grounds of the present Union Station.

By Cleveland’s second term, he had John Geydler, a government clerk recite the poem Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888, by Ernest Lawrence Thayer when delivering a document to the White House.  In later years, Geydler became President of the National Baseball League.  A copy of Casey at the Bat was recently donated to the Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial Association 1880’s/1890’s “traveling trunk” for educators.

The website of the National Baseball League mentions the following “tidbits” about Presidents and their connections to baseball.

—  George Washington:  At Valley Forge, an unidentified soldier mentioned in his diary the game of “base”.  He writes, “He [Washington] sometimes throws and catches a ball for hours with his aide-de-camp.”.

—  Abraham Lincoln:  A Currier and Ives editorial cartoon shows Lincoln in a baseball themed drawing running against Stephen Douglas, John Breckenridge, and John Bell.  (The PBS series Abraham and Mary Lincoln discusses how Lincoln was playing handball when waiting for the results of the Republican Convention.  Mead and Dickson state there are various accounts saying he was playing baseball when waiting for the results.  The authors also mention how he often walked out behind the White House to watch baseball being played on the “White Lot”, which is where the “Ellipse” is now located.)

—  Andrew Johnson:  A big baseball fan, Johnson also watched baseball being played on the “White Lot”.  (Mead and Dickson report that when there was a Washington city match between the Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Athletics, and Brooklyn Atlantics, Johnson have government employees time off to watch).

— Ulysses Grant:  Grant was the first to have a professional team (the Cincinnati Red Stockings) to visit the White House.

— Chester A. Arthur:  Arthur brought the Cleveland Forest Citys of the National League to the White House.

— William F. McKinley:  McKinley brought the Washington Senators to the White House.

—  William H. Taft:  In 1910, Taft started the traditional “first pitches” of the season by throwing to Washington Senators pitcher Walter Johnson.

— Franklin D. Roosevelt:  FDR choose not to “suspend” playing during World War II.

— John F. Kennedy:  JFK threw three “ceremonial” first pitches for the Washington Senators and at the 1962 All Star Game,  Although he was a Red Sox fan, he never attended a game at Fenway Park in his years as President.

— Richard Nixon:  Even when living and working in Washington, D.C., President Nixon always called the California Angels his “hometown” team.  In 1972 (as President) and 1992 (post Presidency), Nixon published his “pick” for historical dream teams from 1925-1992, (Smith).

— Ronald Reagan:  In his early years as a Chicago Cubs radio broadcaster for WHO, Reagan “re-created” accounts of major league games from telegraph reports.  In 1937, while joining the Cubs at spring training in Los Angeles, he got his first break as a actor by getting a Hollywood screen test.  His acting career eventually led to politics as Governor of California and President.  (Smith discusses how after Reagan was inaugurated in 1981, he used Speaker of the House Tip O’ Neill’s office to change his clothes.  The Speaker pointed out that a desk the new President was using belonged to Grover Cleveland.  O’Neill wrote that Reagan was thrilled and stated, “Hey, Grover Cleveland!  I played him in the movies!”.  Reagan was referring to Grover Cleveland Alexander in 1952’s The Winning Team.  O’ Neill stated, “No, no, Mr. President.  You played Grover Cleveland Alexander, the baseball player”.  O’ Neill felt that Reagan was “a good, lovable guy”.)

— George H.W. Bush:  A former Yale first baseman, Bush gave the “first pitch” at the first “new old park”, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, (Smith).

— George W. Bush:  On October 11, 2001, Bush gave the “first pitch” at the World Series following the attacks on 9/11.  In front of a crowd at Yankee Stadium, the President threw a perfect strike.  Bush was also a managing partner of the Texas Rangers before becoming Governor of Texas and President.

—  Barack Obama:  In addition to the MLB website, Smith reports that in 2011, Obama was set to throw out the first ball for the Washington Nationals’ season.  He hid his “hometown” White Sox cap when going to the mound, put it on, and pitched.

Sources:

Mead, William B. and Paul Dickson, Baseball, The President’s Game.
Farragut  Publishing Company, Washington, D.C.  1993.

Smith, Curt, The Presidents and the Pastime:  The History of Baseball and the White House.  Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press.  2018.

Spencer, Lyle, “Baseball, Presidents Go Back A Long Way”, Major League Baseball website, accessed June 25, 2018.

Councilman Jonathan Lace speaks at Grover Cleveland’s Birthday celebration

Jonathon Lace holding the proclamation declaring the week of March 18, 2018 Grover Cleveland week in the borough of Caldwell. Photograph by Janet Markman

Caldwell Councilman Jonathan Lace presents a proclamation and speaks at Grover Cleveland’s birthday celebration on March 18, 2018, which was Grover Cleveland’s 181 birthday.  To see the proclamation click here.  For those who could not attend below is the transcript of Jonathan Lace’s speech.

 

Thank you to the Board of the Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial Association for inviting me to say a few words today about the significance of President Cleveland for Caldwell. Today, at the beginning of Grover Cleveland Week as we celebrate his 181st birthday, I want to briefly mention two aspects of his legacy that I believe can serve as an example for us: his belief in political responsibility and his commitment to people before party.

Political Responsibility

I first became fascinated by the figure of Grover Cleveland 3 years ago, on my first visit to this historic site. I had lived in Caldwell for about 4 years, but never had visited the birth house. So, I brought my oldest daughter, Aubrey, with me, and we were given a wonderful tour by Sharon Farrell that included time to play with early 19th century toys in the parlor and the opportunity to see how people at that time lived day to day. On our way out of the house, we stopped by the gift shop where we purchased a parasol and a small book with the title “Good Citizenship.” The book is actually a collection of two speeches by Grover in Chicago, the first being from October of 1903, to the Commercial Club, and the second being from 1907, to the Union League Club. In the first, he lays out his vision of what politics is all about. After decrying those whose blind faith in seemingly “inevitable” American prosperity dulls their sense of duty and who distance themselves from political involvement by stating “I am not a politician”, President Cleveland states:

“Every citizen should be ‘politician enough’ to bring himself within the true meaning of the term, as one who concerns himself with ‘the regulation or government of a nation or state for the preservation of its safety, peace, and prosperity.’ This is politics in the best sense, and this is good citizenship.”

 This quote grabbed my attention that day and has made quite an impact on me. It is an attempt to redeem a term that has become synonymous with corruption and to reclaim its actual meaning. It is a reminder to all of us that we should all be “politician enough” to get involved in issues of government at every level: local, county, state, and federal. We may not all decide to run for office, but we all can educate ourselves about public policy; we can all talk to a neighbor, we can all write a letter to the editor, we can all volunteer to serve on a municipal committee or at the food bank. We can all serve the public in some capacity. We can share our talents, our time, and our creativity with the world around us, starting right here in the Caldwells.

 And all of us need the benefit of each other’s ideas. There are significant policy questions facing our local communities that urgently need all of our input. For example, should Caldwell merge its police department with West Caldwell? Should Caldwell sell its public water utility to a private company or bond the roughly 4.5 million dollars necessary to repair its hydraulic infrastructure? Should Caldwell repair the parking deck of the Community Center piecemeal or begin from scratch? These questions, that have already been touched on in Council meetings this year, need public input so that local officials can be held accountable to the people. In his first Inaugural Address, President Cleveland said that every American owed to the country a “close scrutiny” of public officials with a “fair and reasonable estimate” of their performance and that this was the “price of our liberty.” To continue the analogy, if we do not become aware of what is happening in government, we become guilty of stealing our liberty by not paying our fair share of attention to it. Given the availability of meeting records and the ability to watch meetings from the comfort of our homes, it is a relatively small price to pay. If you’ve never attended or watched a Council or other public meeting, this week would be a great time to begin.

People Over Party

Another aspect of Grover’s legacy is his commitment to people before party. In today’s often hyper-partisan, personally destructive political climate, that we see frequently in the news, in our mail, and online, President Cleveland offers a vision of politics that is grounded in the highest ideals of patriotism which transcend any type of partisan or personal agenda. In 1883, Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, was the Governor of New York looking for ways to reform the civil service system of that state. His ideas caught the attention of a young a Republican, who had just been re-elected as a Representative in the New York legislature. His name was Theodore Roosevelt. Despite their different labels, they found a way to work together for civil service reform, much to the anger of both of their respective party’s leadership. Perhaps more importantly, they cultivated a friendly respect for each other’s desire for better government. In his 2nd term, President Cleveland would later re-appoint Theodore Roosevelt to the United States Civil Service Commission. This is just one example of how Grover was committed to people before party. In his first Inaugural Address, he stated:

 “…the best results in the operation of a government wherein every citizen has a share, largely depend upon a proper limitation of purely partisan zeal…and a correct appreciation of the time when the heat of the partisan should be merged in the patriotism of the citizen.”

Given the current political climate as reflected in national trends and social media, I believe that we can all agree that we live in such a time. Perhaps we should make a specific effort this week to remember that we are all Americans first and that parties are merely a means to a more perfect Union, knowing that we all want what’s best for our community, even if we may disagree on how to achieve it. Let the days be forever gone when we are criticized for extending (or even shaking) the hand across the aisle or acknowledging good ideas, regardless of which side or school of thought offers them. Let us emulate Grover’s commitment to people before party.

During this Grover Cleveland Week in Caldwell, the Borough encourages all residents who are able, to visit this birth house and learn more about his legacy. I hope you find his call to political responsibility and his commitment to people before party both motivational and inspiring. Perhaps President Grover Cleveland Week can become something more than encouraging residents to visit this birth house, as worthwhile as that always is. Perhaps it can become a week of celebration, education, and service for which Caldwell will also be known, enriching both our Borough and visitors from across the country.

In closing, I will leave you with a quote from President Cleveland’s speech in Chicago in 1907:

“…our nation lives in us – in our mind and consciences. There it must find nutriment or die. The land we live in is safe as long as we are dutifully careful of the land that lives in us.’”

Thank you.

 

GCBMA welcomes three new trustees to it’s board

GCBMA welcomes three new trustees to it’s board.

Adele E. Meyer – Verona – retired.  Worked in QC for several companies and teacher

Evan Mc Laughlin – West Caldwell – history teacher James Caldwell High School

Louis L. Picone – Succasunna – Express Scripts & author of several books on presidents their birthplaces & deaths, final days,burials and beyond. (Books available at birthplace at “Grover’s Corner Gift Shop” – For gift shop hours click here)

Labor Day

Photo Credit : National Archives and Records Administration

 

Submitted by Sharon Farrell

Happy Labor Day! The original Act of Congress pictured here, courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration, shows that Monday, September 3, 1894 would become our nation’s first federally observed Labor Day. The Act was passed by Congress seventy days earlier, on June 26th, and received President Cleveland’s signature on June 28th.

Since 2013 or so, several sources have been casting Cleveland’s signing of the bill as an attempt by him for a re-election bid, saying it was “election year politicking.”  Doubtful, since the next election year was 1896, not 1894. In addition, Cleveland was serving his second term, and had no intention of running for a third.

Some have reported that he signed it as an apology for “blood spilled” by strikers during the Pullman Strike of 1894. While it is true that blood was spilled, Cleveland would have to be psychic to know this when the bill was signed by him ten days prior to his order to send troops into Chicago.

At times too much credit has been given to Cleveland for enacting Labor Day. Prior to 2013 Labor Day had sometimes been credited as  the sole idea of Cleveland as a sort of executive order. In truth, multiple labor leaders, citizens, senators  and members of congress had  tried unsuccessfully for close to a dozen years to achieve the passage of a federal Labor Day Holiday bill.  It had been discussed, rehashed, crafted, and sponsored by numerous legislators over time. This successful 1894 version was introduced by Illinois Congressman, Lawrence McGann.

Cleveland may not have crafted the bill, but I think he heartily agreed that Americans deserved a “Labor’s Holiday” fully endorsed not just by Congress,  but by the President as well. It would be a proper tribute to the spirit of the original legislation to remember the day with thanks and best wishes to the American labor force this Labor Day.