William and Ida McKinley
William McKinley Jr was 25th US President, from 1897 until his assassination in 1901. His wife Ida was the daughter of a prominent Ohio banker, but her health was unstable. After the deaths of her mother and the couple's two small daughters, Ida developed epilepsy and began to have inconvenient fits in public. Naturally needy, and jealous of other people's claims on her husband, she demanded that he devote huge amounts of time and affection to her. To his credit, McKinley did. He performed daily rituals at her side, cut back his working hours and contrived to run the country from his home. When he became President, he adapted his White House schedules to suit her. During the Inaugural Ball, she fainted and he went home with her. At state dinners, he seated her beside him (rather than at the end of the table, as protocol demanded) and, if she had a fit, gently placed a handkerchief over her face to conceal her facial contortions. "President McKinley has made it pretty hard for the rest of us husbands here in Washington," remarked a friend. Ida spent many silent hours sitting in her bedroom, crocheting bedroom slippers, which she gave to charity. When William was fatally wounded in 1901, Ida stayed by his side, nursing and comforting him for eight days, until he died. They were a strange, but undoubtedly a loving, couple.