Portraits: Rutherford B Hayes   5 comments

Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1822 – 1893)

The 19th President of the United States, 1877 – 1881

AKA: Rutherfraud or His Fraudulency

From: Ohio

College: Kenyon College, class of 1842 and Harvard Law, class of 1845

Married to: Lucy Ware Webb (the first wife of a President to graduate from college)

Children: Birchard, Webb, Rutherford, Joseph, George, Fanny, Scott and Manning

Party: Republican

Previous Jobs: businessman, lawyer, soldier, congressman, governor

In His Words: “He serves his party best who serves his country best.”

“Fighting battles is like courting girls: those who make the most pretensions and are boldest usually win.”

“In avoiding the appearance of evil, I am not sure but I have sometimes unnecessarily deprived myself and others of innocent enjoyments.”

“Lemonade Lucy” Hayes was the first Presidential wife called “First Lady” in the national press.

Not true: President Obama invoked Hayes in the 2012 Presidential campaign, saying,

“One of my predecessors, Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone, ‘It’s a great invention, but who would ever want to use one?’ That’s why he’s not on Mount Rushmore because he’s looking backwards.  he’s not looking forwards.”

There is no proof that this ever happened.  Indeed, Hayes installed the first telephone in the White House, given the number of 1, when there were only 190 telephones in all of Washington, DC.

True: Hayes was the first President to travel to the west coast while in office.

Hayes is the only President whose election was decided by a congressional commission.  The 1876 election was rife with fraud by both parties.  Eventually both sides agreed to have a non-partisan congressional commission appointed, with 5 from the House, 5 from the Senate, and 5 from Supreme Court Justices.  Affiliations were to be 7 Republicans, 7 Democrats, and a well-respected independent Supreme Court Justice, David Davis.  The Democrats attempted to influence even this process, with the Illinois legislature electing Davis to the Senate.  Davis then declined the nomination to the congressional commission due to the conflict, further muddling the process.  Eventually, a compromise was worked out, with Hayes agreeing to end Reconstruction, withdrawing the Army from the South, and the Democrats agreeing to support his Presidency.

Hayes was the first President to have a typewriter in the White House.

Banned alcohol from the White House, perhaps in support of his wife who was a staunch supporter of the temperance movement.

The Official Portrait:

Daniel Huntington was one of the most fashionable portraitists of his generation.  He accepted Lucy Hayes’ invitation  to paint her portrait after the National Women’s Christian Temperance Union offered to fund this memorial for her.  After her husband retired from the Presidency, Huntington was selected by the President to paint a companion piece, which was to be his official portrait.  It was completed in 1884, three years after Hayes left office.

5 responses to “Portraits: Rutherford B Hayes

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  1. She was known as “lemonade Lucy” because of her Temperance movement involvement – grins g

    • Yes. I love the juxtaposition of her husband’s quote that “In avoiding the appearance of evil, I am not sure but I have sometimes unnecessarily deprived myself and others of innocent enjoyments.” Methinks he may not have been 100% supportive of the temperance movement. Maybe only 90%.

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