What the President's Private Secretary has to do


The position of secretary to the President of the United States is an arduous one. In the rendering of its multitudinous services, it calls for the business qualifications of a methodical and systematic clerk in the performance of the daily routine of official work, and the finesse of a practiced diplomat in meeting and satisfactorily adjusting situations which naturally come before him as an intermediary between the President and an assorted public, each individual of which believes himself entitled to a portion of the time and interest of the Chief Executive.

The task of handling and answering the White House mail is in itself no small one, the President receiving from two hundred to twelve hundred letters a day. Important or not, each of these communications receives due attention, the secretary carefully sorting and classifying them; presenting some to the personal attention of the President, referring others to the department or person to which each properly belongs, while all receive courteous acknowledgment from the President's representative.

The secretary is also required to meet and dispose of the numerous visitors who call on the President at times not set aside for his public receptions, and whose business ranges all the way from that relative to the appointment of a supreme court judge or the governor of a turbulent territory, to the obtaining of the presidential autograph for a schoolgirl's album.

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The Lectures
December 26, 1901

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