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The preparation of the material upon which the following account of Marcus Alonzo Hanna's life and work is based was attended with many difficulties. No political leader of similar prominence in modern times has left such a slim public record of his characteristic achievements. He began his career as a political manager whose work consisted, not in the advocacy of legislative policies or in acts of public administration, but in political planning and negotiation, which only incidentally became a matter of public record. Throughout his career this aspect of his work remained of decisive importance. To give a full and accurate account of such plans and negotiations is almost an impossibility, and it is impossible, not merely because many of these negotiations were essentially confidential, but because subsequent accounts of them, even when given in good faith, can scarcely avoid some inaccuracy and partiality. Mr. Hanna's correspondence also throws comparatively little light upon the critical decisions and moments of his career. The really decisive negotiations were never committed to paper, and Mr. Hanna did not keep copies of many of the most important letters which he wrote and received.
In order to supplement the necessary scarcity of documentary material bearing on Mr. Hanna's life and work, all of his political and business associates were asked to contribute full and careful statements covering those phases of his career with which they were familiar. The task of taking these statements was confided to Mr. James B. Morrow, who had been for many years editor of the Cleveland Leader, and who brought to the work unusually high qualifications. Not only had he long been personally acquainted with Mr. Hauna and familiar with the unwritten political history of the period, but he had an unusually accurate knowledge of the complications and personalities of Ohio politics. In taking the statements of Mr. Hanna's friends and associates, he was met for the most part with a very cordial desire to cooperate. There were not more than two or three men who might have contributed anything essential to our knowledge of Mr. Hanna's life who refused or neglected to add their testimony. Besides taking these personal statements, Mr. Morrow also made an exhaustive collection of all the available documents and public records which would throw light upon any aspect of Mr. Hanna's life and work. The material so collected was placed in my hands, and has been worked over into a consecutive account of Mr. Hanna's career. Wherever it seemed necessary, I have supplemented and confirmed the material furnished by Mr. Morrow, but by far the most important part of the preparatory division of the work was done by him and done conscientiously, intelligently and impartially. Although Mr. Morrow is not responsible for a word of the text, he has, in a very real sense, collaborated in the preparation of this biography. His contribution to it has been indispensable and invaluable.