Portraits: Grover Cleveland   Leave a comment

The painter of this portrait, Swedish artist Anders Zorn, drew his loose brushwork and preference for natural lighting from French impressionism. Cleveland was quite pleased with Zorn's likeness, declaring to a correspondent, "As for my ugly mug, I think the artist has 'struck it off' in great shape."

The painter of this portrait, Swedish artist Anders Zorn, drew his loose brushwork and preference for natural lighting from French impressionism. Cleveland was quite pleased with Zorn’s likeness, declaring to a correspondent, “As for my ugly mug, I think the artist has ‘struck it off’ in great shape.”

Grover Cleveland (1837 – 1908)

The 22nd President of the United States, 1885 – 1889

The 24th President of the United States, 1893 – 1897

AKA: His Obstinancy,  The Stuffed Prophet, The Elephantine Economist, Uncle Jumbo, The Guardian President

From: New Jersey, New York

College: One of 8 US Presidents that did not attend college

Married to: Frances Folsom

Children: Ruth, Esther, Marion, Richard, Francis

Party: Democratic

Previous Jobs: Clerk, teacher, assistant district attorney, county sheriff, lawyer, Mayor of Buffalo, Governor of New York

In His Words:  “The laboring classes constitute the main part of our population. They should be protected in their efforts peaceably to assert their rights when endangered by aggregated capital, and all statutes on this subject should recognize the care of the State for honest toil, and be framed with a view of improving the condition of the workingman.”

“I have tried so hard to do the right.”

“The wants and needs of the employers and the employed shall alike be subserved and the prosperity of the country, the common heritage of both, be advanced.”

“He mocks the people who proposes that the Government shall protect the rich and that they in turn will care for the laboring poor.”

“The United States, in aiming to maintain itself as one of the most enlightened nations, would do its citizens gross injustice if it applied to its international relations any other than a high standard of honor and morality.”

“What is the use of being elected or re-elected unless you stand for something?”

Not true: Charles Lachman wrote A Secret Life, chronicling the events surrounding a child that may, or may not, have been the product of Grover Cleveland’s so-called date rape of Maria Halpin, a 38-year old sales clerk and mother of 2. This affair was a smarmy sex scandal involving a bachelor … who would later run for governor, and then for President. At the time, newspapers pounced on the scandal, and Cleveland steadfastly clung to “the truth:” that Halpin had affairs with more than one man, including Cleveland’s law partner.  Cleveland took responsibility for the boy … and had the mother committed to an asylum when her drinking became a problem.

What’s true here? We don’t know. But can an author in 2011 really know definitively what happened in 1873? I think not. It is true the scandal was investigated in its day, and that Cleveland won two elections to the highest office in the land after the affair was widely known and investigated while the participants were all still living.

True: He is also the only President to have had his wedding inside the White House. He married his law partner’s ward, 24 years his junior, that he claimed to have fallen in love with when he first saw her as a baby.

Grover Cleveland is the only president to serve 2 terms separated by another President.

Utah was admitted as the 45th state during Cleveland’s Presidency.

He kept a mockingbird and several canaries as pets while President.

Cleveland paid a man $150 to serve in the Civil War in his stead (which was legal at the time).

He believed the President should be the executor of the nation’s laws … and not the creator of public policy. He believed that it was Congress’ job to make the laws, and he sought to avoid that task.

The Official Portrait: Eastman Johnson painted Grover Cleveland’s portrait in 1891; he also painted Benjamin Harrison’s portrait. Those two are the last portraits officially painted for the White House collection in the 19th century.

Grover Cleveland, Official White House Portrait

Grover Cleveland Signature

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Big Mo

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