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William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft

27th President of the United States

Howard Taft was a distinguished jurist, effective administrator, but a poor politician. He never wanted to become President, yet he spent four uncomfortable years in the White House. What Howard Taft wanted to be since childhood, was a Supreme Court Justice. Large, jovial, conscientious, he was caught in the intense battles between Progressives and conservatives, and got scant credit for the achievements of his administration.

President Theodore 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.

William Howard Taft was the first president to submit a federal budget to Congress and the Panama Canal was completed during his presidency. He was also the first president to take up the game of golf and was also the first president to throw out the first pitch at a major league baseball game.

Once Taft became free of the Presidency, he 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."

His great grandson was Robert Taft, governor of Ohio from 1999 - 2007.

Howard Taft

Howard taft is shown in the above photo in front of his boyhood
home in Cincinnati (now the Taft Historical Site).
Taft is standing on the wall.

The early years

William Howard Taft was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on September 15, 1857. His father was Alphonso Taft, who had been President Ulysses S. Grant's secretary of war and then attorney general. His mother was Louisa Maria Torrey Taft. He attended Woodward High School, a local private school, before enrolling at Yale University in 1874. After graduation, Taft returned to Cincinnati, where he studied law at the University of Cincinnati Law School. Taft was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1880. Six years later, Taft married Helen “Nellie” Herron on June 19, 1886.

William Howard Taft Historic Site

William Howard Taft National Historic Site

Visitors to William Howard Taft National Historic Site will be exposed to the familial and social influences that shaped the character and ideals of the only American who ever served as both President and Chief Justice of the United States. Guided tours of the period rooms on the first floor and the exhibits on the second floor of the birthplace provide solid insight into William Howard Taft and glimpses into the lives of his parents, siblings and children.

Taft Historical Site Interior

The Taft Education Center exhibits and programs provide a greater understanding of the role other Taft's have played to help mold public life in Cincinnati, the nation and even the world. Gallery I contains a life-size animatronic figure of Charles P Taft II, son of William Howard Taft. Charlie will talk to visitors about what he called “quite a family.” Gallery II contains static and traveling exhibits. An orientation video and a gift shop are also available in the education center. The visitor experience begins in the Taft Education Center. Visitors should allow one hour to take in all the activities.

William Howard Taft National Historic Site
2038 Auburn Ave.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45219