Suffering In Secrecy

Past leaders hid illnesses

As the 75-ton yacht Oneida sailed up New York City's East River in early July 1893, almost no one in the country was aware that on board, President Grover Cleveland lay unconscious under general anesthetic. Cleveland's life and possibly, the future of the nation rested that day in the hands of a few surgeons. Even his pretty young wife Frances had not been informed of the President's illness.

When told he would have to undergo surgery for a cancer of the mouth, Cleveland, the 24th President of the U.S., insisted on secrecy. It was he who thought up the idea of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!