CORNELIUS N. BLISS
He signed this letter, typed on Department of the Interior stationery in 1897, 11 days
after he became Secretary of the Interior. He thanks the recipient for a letter and
apologizes for not replying sooner: "you can understand the pressure upon me and that
my private correspondence has been compelled to wait upon public service."
Typed Letter Signed: "C.N. Bliss". Pencil notations in top right corner. 1 page, 8x5¼, on
Department of the Interior stationery, with 2 binder holes at left edge. March 16, 1897.
Addressed to James S. Lehmaier, New York City. In full: "My dear Sir: Thank you very
heartily, Mr. Lehmaier, for your favor of March 4th. The answer has been delayed, but you
can understand the pressure upon me and that my private correspondence has been com-pelled
to wait upon public service. With kindest regards, Yours very truly,". American businessman
Bliss (1833-1911) was Secretary of the Interior (1897-1899) under President William
McKinley. Bliss was a partner in Bliss, Fabyan & Co., one of the largest wholesale
dry-goods firms in the nation around the turn of the century. He was also active the New
York State Republican party and served as Treasurer of the Republican National Committee at
a time when the Republicans were in the ascendancy. With his business ties and his political
connections, he should have had his pick of political jobs. However, Bliss was famous for
turning down political nominations; he even turned down a nomination for the New
York governorship in 1885 and 1891 and an offer to become McKinley's vice president in
1900 (McKinley was later assassinated, and Theodore Roosevelt, who did accept the job,
became President). His turn as Secretary of the Interior was the only public office he ever held.
Lightly toned. Typewriting, but not signature, is lightly smeared in places but legible. Folded
twice and unfolded. Otherwise, fine condition.