Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday search challenge (7/25/12): What's the connection between President McKinley and "free love"?

While doing a bit of reading the other day, I ran across a connection between two topics that I never thought I'd see in any kind of close relation.  That leads me to today's quick Search Challenge: 
(medium) What is the connection between William McKinley’s assassin and the person who coined the phrase “free love”?
What I'm curious about is how you'd follow the thread of connections from one idea (the guy who assassinated McKinley) to another idea that's pretty far afield (or so you'd think).  The links between the ideas are fairly interesting... and surprising!  Think like an investigative reporter and you shouldn't have too much trouble.  

As usual, let us know how long it took you, and what searches you did to find the links from A to B.  

Extra!  Extra! 

I'm looking for a few people who'd like to be volunteers to help do a few studies every now and then.  As you know, my primary research interest is on the topic of "how people search and use information."  And every so often I run online studies with volunteers.  You don't have to come into our lab, just answer a few questions, maybe do a simple search task, things like that.  

If that sounds like something you might like to do (you can do as many, or as little, as you like), please sign up here to become part of Dan's SearchResearch Cadre (DSRC).  There will even be opportunities to get very rare t-shirts! 

Search on!


  1. President McKinley (not McKinkly) was assassinated by Leon Czolgosz, who said: “McKinley was going around the country shouting prosperity when there was no prosperity for the poor man. I don’t believe we should have any rulers.... I don’t believe in voting. It is against my principles. I am an anarchist. I don’t believe in marriage. I believe in free love.”

  2. Easy once you figure out the names: [john humphrey noyes and leon czolgosz]

    The logic was in knowing who each person was separately.

  3. Socialist / leftist philosophy is the connection.

    Leon Czolgosz, President McKinley's assassin was inspired by Emma Goldman, who was a socialist.

    John Humphrey Noyes (who coined the term "free love") was a utopian socialist.

    First searched for 'President McKinley's assassin'; got the name as Leon Czolgosz.
    Then searched for 'coined term "free love"'; got John Humphrey Noyes' name.

    Then searched for 'John Humphrey Noyes AND Leon Czolgosz'; clicked on these links to get the gist of their connection:

    ~ KV

  4. 'Free Love' was touted by Emma Goldman as was also an anarchist as was Leon Czolgosz the assassin who shot Mckinley. About 5 minutes with Leon's name and "free Love".

  5. A: They were part of the Oneida Community.

    First search: [President McKinley assassin "free love"] got me to a page that had the assassin's name: Leon Czolgosz and that in his confession(?) he mentioned the phrase free love.
    Second search: [Leon Czolgosz "free love"] got me to an Askville answer that mentioned the Oneida commune.
    Third search: [Oneida Commune] got me to the Wikipedia entry for Oneida Community.
    Fourth search: [Oneida Community "free love"] got me to a Yahoo page that stated Oneida's founder, John Humphrey Noyes, was who coined the phrase.
    In the spirit of "one more search" I googled [John Humphrey Noyes "free love"] and got to the Wikipedia page that confirmed he was the author.

    Time it took me to go through it all: about 5 minutes.

  6. The term "free love" was coined by John Humphrey Noyes.

    John Humphrey Noyes also founded the The Oneida Community in 1848.

    Leon Czolgosz assinated William McKinley at the Temple of Music in 1901.

    Leon was a member of The Oneida Community for a brief time.

  7. Time: 10 min.


    Found Leon Czolgosz and John Humphrey Noyes, then searched for their names together. John Noyes was the founder of the Oneida Community that Leon Czolgosz joined for a while.

    1. This is exactly what I did, except then I read about the Oneida Community for a lot longer (got sidetracked reading about how it became the Oneida Silver company)

  8. Searched "William McKinley's Assassin" to find leon czolgosz
    Then searched "coined term free love" to find John Humphrey Noyes
    Finally searched John Humphrey Noyes leon czolgosz to find that Noyes started a commune called the Oneida community, which Czolgosz was a member of along with Charles Guiteau who assasinated James A. Garfield.

    Search took about 2 mins total, and all of it was from wikipedia.

  9. William Mckinley's, assassin, Leon Czolgosz, was an anarchist and was, for a brief period, a member of the Oneida Community. This community was founded by John Humphrey Noyes, who also coined the term "free love". Interestingly, Charles Guiteau, who assassinated president Garfield, was also a member of this community for a period of time.

    Took about 10 minutes... Googled:
    -Mckinley Assassin
    -Leon Czolgosz
    -Free Love
    -Oneida Community
    -John Humphrey Noyes

  10. 6 minutes.

    I used Bing and first searched on '"McKinley assassin' which brought back McKinley's wikipedia page. Then I searched on 'origin of phrase "free love"' which didn't produce any page 1 results. Searching on 'who coined the phrase "free love"' produced the answer in the 5th result. Now with those two pieces, I finally searched on '"John Humphrey Noyes" Czolgosz' to get the Wikipedia page on the Oneida Community as the first result.

  11. Looked up who coined "free love" term, then searched [William McKinley’s assassin OR John Humphrey Noyes] which brought up the Leon Czolgosz/
    Oneida community connection. Maybe 5 minutes, then down other rabbit holes...
    In looking at that saw the Noyes/Oneida community, noted that Charles Julius Guiteau (assassin of Garfield) was also a member. Czolgosz & Guiteau also both spent time in Michigan - the former born there & the latter attempted to attend the U of M, Ann Arbor.
    While looking at these, I ran across a discrepancy that was curious related to the Guiteau/Garfield assassination: note the Ivory grips reference, from Wikipedia -
    "Borrowing $15 from Mr. Maynard,[12] he went out to purchase a revolver. He knew little about firearms, but did know that he would need a large caliber gun. He had to choose between a .442 Webley caliber British Bulldog revolver[12] with wooden grips or one with ivory grips. He chose the one with the ivory handle because he wanted it to look good as a museum exhibit after the assassination. Though he could not afford the extra dollar, the store owner dropped the price for him.[13] (The revolver was recovered and even photographed by the Smithsonian in the early 20th century but has since been lost)."
    note grips are wood:
    Photo of the British Bull Dog revolver used to assassinate President Garfield in 1881
    any thoughts?

    1. elsewhere on Wikipedia:
      "A .44 caliber Belgian-made British Bulldog revolver was used to assassinate US President James Garfield on July 2, 1881 by disgruntled lawyer Charles Guiteau, who was angry that Garfield had not appointed him to a Federal post. Guiteau reportedly wanted to purchase a British Bulldog revolver with ivory grips instead of wooden ones (as he believed they would look nicer when the gun was displayed in a museum[4]) but decided not to spend the extra dollar that the ivory-gripped model would have cost.[4] In all, he paid $10 for the revolver, a box of cartridges, and a penknife,[5] before spending the next day familiarising himself with the revolver's operation and firing 10 practice shots with it into trees along the banks of the Potomac River.[4] He eventually used the revolver to shoot Garfield a week or so later in the Sixth Street Railway Station in Washington, D.C. After Guiteau's trial, the revolver was placed in the Smithsonian Institution but some time later the revolver disappeared.[4]
      The large caliber British Bulldogs are now considered collector's pieces, since their ammunition is no longer commercially manufactured."

      ivory Bulldog

      All this ties in with the earlier search challenge regarding the insanity defense - U.S. Congressman Daniel Sickles.
      Leon Czolgosz's execution (Auburn Prison on October 29, 1901) was one of the early uses of the electric chair, the first being William Kemmler, also in New York's Auburn Prison on August 6, 1890.

  12. I knew the assassin of McKinley was Leon Czolgosz and I mistakenly thought the originator of the term 'free love' was Victoria Woodhull. So I entered in both full names as search terms.

    First result: Oneida Community on wkpd. I glanced through it and found that Leon Czolgosz was briefly a member of the Oneida Community (as was Garfield's assassin, Charles Guiteau? History is so weird sometimes.)

    I then checked Victoria Woodhull's wkpd page and did not see any reference to her coining the term 'free love', and bounced from there to the wkpd page on 'free love'. There I found that John Humphrey Noyes, the founder of the Oneida Community in which Czolgosz was briefly a resident, coined the term.

    I'm still looking for a reputable source citing Noyes' coining of the term. Also looking for a reputable source for Czolgosz' membership in Oneida.

    1. Sarah Vowell writes about Czolgosz time in Onieda in her book Assassination Vacation. Not sure if the text is available online, but I saw a reference to the book on wikipedia's Oneida page and having read her book (which I recommend), I know understand why this story line is familiar.
      And if I remember correctly, he was kicked out.

  13. Less than a minute:

    1: Google [William McKinley assassin] -> Wikipedia {Assassination of William McKinley} -> Wikipedia {Leon Czolgosz}

    2: Google [phrase “free love”] -> Wikipedia {Free love} CTRL-F “coined” -> Wikipedia {Oneida Community} CTRL-F “Czolgosz” -> Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of President William McKinley, was also a member of Oneida for a brief time.
    Charles Guiteau was for more than five years a member of this community; Guiteau later assassinated President James A. Garfield.

    Q: In 1848, John Humphrey Noyes established a religious community in Oneida, New York, which believed that Jesus Christ had already returned in 70 CE, meaning they could establish the millennial kingdom on earth, without needing to anticipate any heavenly existence. What two assassins of American presidents spent time in this community?
    A : Charles Guiteau and Leon Czolgosz. Charles Guiteau, who shot President James Garfield on July 2, 1881, and Leon Czolgosz, who shot President William McKinley on September 6, 1901, both spent time in the Oneida Community. Guiteau was a member for around five years, Czolgosz only briefly.

  14. -[Mckinley Assassin] link to Wikipedia article for Leon Czolgosz.
    -Quick scan showed that Anarchism figured prominently
    -Ctrl-F for [free love] revealed no hits
    -started typing search ["free love"] and let Google Search suggest coined term "free love"
    -clicked on Free Love link on Wikipedia.
    -Ctrl-F [anarchism] and found that free love was part of the Anarchism movement of the 19th Century
    -Ctrl-F [coin] and find John Humphrey Noyes is credited with coining the term.
    -click on link to John Humphrey Noyes article on Wikipedia.
    -Didn't looked to see if there were any associates in common using Ctrl-F
    -Followed the suggestion of one of the replies and searched [john humphrey noyes and leon czolgosz] and came up with Wikipedia article for the Oneida Community. Saw that Noyes founded the community and Ctrl-F Leon showed that Czolgosz was a member briefly.

    Another very interesting fact about the Oneida Community and the link between Noyes and Presidential Assassins was that Charles Guiteau, who assassinated President Garfield, had also been a member of the Oneida Community for five years.

  15. Took about five minutes
    Used "phrase free love coined" to find John Humphrey Noyes entry in Wikipedia
    Searching for his name and that of Leon Czologsz returned an enyty on John's community; Oneida of which Leon was a member.
    So was Charles Guiteau another presidential assasin.

  16. I have this tough challenge that is annoying me. I can't find a monthly series (index or total number) of google total search queries. Can anyone help me?

    This is a very difficult one.

  17. They were both socialists... Leon Czolgosz and John Humphry Noyes.

    I first searched who was the assassin and then who coined the free love phrase. I then looked over both of their wikipedia profiles. When reading both it was obvious.

  18. I'm tracing "Free Love," used in much the same sense, back to 1705:

    (Found via the Oxford English Dictionary)

  19. Both were members of the Oneida Community.

    I first identified the name of McKinley's assassin: Leon Czolgosz
    Then I searched for the name of the person that coined "free love": John Humphrey Noyes
    A search for both of those names ["Leon Czolgosz" "John Humphrey Noyes"] directed me to an article about the Oneida Community which listed them both as members.

    Didn't take long...maybe 10 minutes...but I didn't do any deep digging to see if there was more to the connection. If I was intending to use or pass on this info, I would have needed to dig and find multiple or more reputable resources...which would have taken more time.

    I also imagine the hunt would have been much different if I didn't know there was a link between the two. I wasn't doing research on one of the men and then following a tangent that led me to a surprising connection...I was expecting a connection.

  20. Leon Czolgosz (Assassinator) was briefly a part of a commune that John Humphrey Noyes (coiner) started.

    Found by searching google for "William McKinley’s assassin" --> wikipedia page for event.
    searching google for "coined the phrase “free love”" --> free love wikipedia page.
    found the names on each page, and did a google search for "Leon Czolgosz John Humphrey Noyes" --> , which is the name of the commune.

    2-3 minutes. Definitely an easy one.

  21. I got to the second search result (the first result referred to this blog post), when I typed the following in Google web Search: [william mckinley assassination "free love" connection origin]. The second search result was a newspaper report from "San Francisco Call" in the following website:, and I found this in the title, "Free Love Colony Under Surveillance", and the report had other connections including names of Leon Czolgosz, Emma Goldman and others; a second search on Leon Czolgosz revealed his connection with Oneida Colony and how he was influenced by Emma Goldman.
    The entire process took around 5 minutes, including reading of the webpages and framing the search.

  22. John Humphrey Noyes Founded the Oneida Community in 1848 which Leon Czolgosz was a member of it for a brief time.

  23. First, tried "william mckinley" and "free love," didn't get anything helpful on first page. Then looked a little more carefully at the challenge (blush) and did the same search adding the word coined. Long shot, to be sure, but the ninth hit was for a blog by someone named Kevin Dincher, who sure enough cited John Humphrey Noyes as the coiner, and went on to note that Czolgosz had been a member of the Oneida community.

    The next step, as Lee Eddy notes, would be to find sources for both those facts.

  24. 5 minutes... a Google search for "who coined the phrase free love" leads you to Wikipedia entry identifying John Humphrey Noyes. The Wikipedia article for Noyes leads you to an article on the Oneida Community founded by Noyes, and references a book that identifies the assassin of McKinley as a one-time member of the community. Turns out that the assassin of Garfield was also a member of Oneida.

  25. Francis Barry and the term "McKinley Assassin" show up in the same book on the same page:

    Anarchist Periodicals in English Published in the United States

    2 queries
    < 1 minute

    "free love"
    ""Francis Barry" "William McKinley" assassin

  26. I had recently read Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell which outlines the history of many of the assassinations of presidents (Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley’s). Because of a mention in the book of the link between several assassins (Garfield and McKinley's) to the Oneida Community. This led me to search 'Oneida Community McKinley' leading me to a wikipedia article which describes the link between the two.

  27. Same as above but Wikipedia does not give source for its attribution to Noyes. On the "one more search" principle, I did ["free love"] in Books, which led to the book "Free Love in Utopia". An in book search of the same phrase led to a March 4, 1850 letter from Noyes to E. H. Hamilton, on p. 234. This confirms the Noyes attribution and the date and seems to be the earliest attributed use of the phrase.

  28. 2 min. Answer: the link is Oneida community.
    1) ["free love coined by"]-
    2)[ oneida community assassin William McKinley]
    snippet:.. the assassin of President William McKinley, was also a member of Oneida for a brief

  29. Leon Czolgosz (the assassin) and John Humphrey (who coined the terms "free love") were the member of Oneida Community

  30. Took me 3 minutes- First searched for [William McKinley Assassin] to get the name, then for ["Free Love" coined] then [John Humphrey Noyes Leon Czolgosz] and quickly got to the page which discusses Oneida. Very interesting facts!

  31. About 5 minutes. Googled "coined phrase 'free love'" to find John Humphrey Noyes (
    Googled "assassinated William McKinley" to find Leon Czolgosz (
    Googled "'John Humphrey Noyes' + 'Leon Czolgosz'" to find Oneida Community (, where I learned that John Humphrey Noyes founded the Oneida Community of which Czolgosz was later a member.

  32. First I found out the names of the assassin and who coined the phrase. Leon Czolgosz and John Humphrey Noyes, respectively. After that I search for both names together. I got thT Leon was a member of the Oneida Society which was founded by Mr. Noyes. Both are related by their religious ideas

  33. -[William McKinley’s assassin] Wikipedia link to Leon Czolgosz
    -["free love"] references to John Humphrey Noyes and Emma Goldman and Oneida Community
    -[Oneida Community]
    -[leon czolgosz emma goldman oneida community] led to The President and The Assassin ..
    -Searched Google Books, Ctrl F Emma Goldman

    Read a lot!

    Conclusion; Leon Czolgosz member, for a short time, of Oneida Community.

  34. Searched [ "free love" ] to

    cmd+f for [coin] took me to "Christian socialist writer John Humphrey Noyes has been credited with coining the term 'free love' in the mid-19th century," This gave me "The Oneida Community, as it came to be known, survived until 1879. It grew to have a membership of over 300" so I thought the chance of linking to a member leading me to a solution might be good.

    Went to and got " Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of President William McKinley, was also a member of Oneida for a brief time."

    So I guess I did it in reverse Free Love > John Humphrey Noyes > Oneida Community > Leon Czolgosz

  35. 2 steps:
    William McKinley assasin yield Leon Czolgosz.
    Leon Czolgosz "free love" yield Oneida and free love.

    Thanks for the challenge.

  36. John Humphrey Noyes founded the Oneida Community, which Leon Czolgosz was later a member of. Took about 15 minutes, because I got distracted by reading about the ONeida Community, which because the Oneida Cutlery company! Interesting!

  37. I took another route that didn't come anywhere near the Oneida Community answer but was revealing about US society in late 1800s and early 1900s. Found assassin's name leon czolgosz and looked for connection with "free love". Came upon Abraham Isaak whom Czolgosz visited in Chicago before the assassination. Isaak was an Russian Mennonite turned anarchist who espoused free love, published the Firebrand in Portland Oregon (bringing free love there among other views) and Free Society in Chicago. Isaak thought Czolgosz was a spy and refused to help him. Because of the one meeting Isaak was arrested for aiding Czolgosz - and was cleared. All to say - those were interesting times.

  38. John Humphrey Hughes, inventor of the phrase "free love" founde3d the Oneida Community, of which the Leon Czogolsz, McKinley's assassin was briefly a member. Time: 4 min. Strategy: google search for coined "free love"; google search William McKinley's assassin; google search "John Humphrey Hughes" "Leon Czogolsz"

  39. Here's the process that I took, and was taking my time today enjoying the reading and did not time it.

    - Highlighted the text and right click Google search [William McKinley’s assassin].
    - Read Wikipedia entry and found Czolgosz, and read through his entry
    - Clicked through Anarchists and Emma Goldman Wikipedia entries and learned he was ostracized from the Anarchists group and they had little connection
    - Highlighted text and right click Google search [coined phrase free love] and learned it was John Humphrey Noyes
    - Clicked on Wikipedia entry of Oneida Community and CTRL-F [czo] and saw that Leon Czogolsz was a member briefly

    Therefore, the connection between William McKinley's assassin Leon Czolgosz and John Humphrey Noyes who coined the term "free love" is that Czolgosz was briefly a member of the Oneida Community which Noyes helped form.