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President William Howard Taft

1910 Alyn Williams Born: Wrexham, Wales 1865 Died: 1955 watercolor on ivory sight 4 1/2 x 3 1/4 in. (11.4 x 8.3 cm) oval Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the artist 1937.12.1 Not currently on view

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“One of the most uncomfortable four months of my life.” William Howard Taft, speaking of his 1908 presidential campaign, White House Web site

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William Howard Taft once said, “I don’t remember that I ever was President.” He believed that having been named chief justice of the United States was a greater accomplishment than having achieved the presidency. Taft served one term in the Oval Office, after which he became a professor at Yale University Law School. In 1913, Alyn Williams included this miniature of Taft in an exhibition at Moulton and Ricketts Galleries in New York City. While looking over the display, Williams noticed that five of the miniatures, including his portrait of Taft, were missing. When the gallery assured him they had never received the paintings, Williams retraced his steps in an attempt to find them. Exhausted and discouraged, the artist returned to his hotel room that evening only to find the paintings in his dresser drawer, just where he had left them. Conservation of this miniature was made possible through a generous grant provided by the Smithsonian Women’s Committee.


Occupation - political - president

Portrait male - Taft, William Howard - bust

painting - miniature

paint - watercolor


About Alyn Williams

Born: Wrexham, Wales 1865 Died: 1955

More works in the collection by
Alyn Williams