William Howard Taft

1909 - 1913


William Howard Taft, born in 1857, was a son of a distinguished judge, a graduate of Yale, a news reporter, a lawyer, a professor and a Dean of the University of Cincinnati. He is the only President to also serve as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.


His route to the White House was via administrative posts. President McKinley sent him to the Philippines in 1900 as chief civil administrator. Sympathetic toward the Filipinos, he improved the economy, built roads and schools, and gave the people at least some participation in government. President Roosevelt made him Secretary of War, and by 1907 had decided that Taft should be his successor. The Republican Convention nominated him the next year.


Taft, free of the Presidency, served as Professor of Law at Yale until President Harding made him Chief Justice of the United States, a position he held until just before his death in 1930. To Taft, the appointment was his greatest honor; he wrote: "I don't remember that I ever was President."


Items on display in the Taft Room include:

  • Cane Head, rubber, probably made for one of Taft's presidential campaigns in 1908 or 1912.
  • Bill the Beamer figurine, plaster, made in 1909, William H. Taft was the first American President to throw out the first pitch at a professional baseball game. The figurine's popularity could be compared to a present day "bobble-head."
  • Watch fob made for the Taft campaign in 1908.
  • Watch fob made for the Taft campaign in 1912.
  • Commemorative plate made in 1908 by the Meek Company of Coshocton, Ohio to honor the Republican nominees for President from Fremont in 1856 to Taft in 1908.
  • Round glossy blue ware commemorative plate made in 1908. Center has pictures of important U.S. buildings, including Mount Vernon, Washington Monument, and the U.S. Capitol Building. This plate was donated by the Governor and Mrs. Taft to the Taft Birthplace for loan to the Statehouse.