23. Benjamin Harrison

The Periodic Table of the Presidents - Benjamin Harrison   Benjamin Harrison Official Portrait - The Periodic Table of the Presidents

“The Human Iceberg”

Presidential Basics

  • Full name: Benjamin Harrison
  • Years in office: 1889–1893
  • Political party: Republican
  • Vice president: Levi P. Morton
  • Age at inauguration: 55
  • Nicknames: “The Human Iceberg,” “Kid Gloves Harrison,” “Little Ben”

Random Trivia

  • In the family: Benjamin Harrison’s grandfather, William Henry Harrison served as our 9th president.

Birth & Death

  • Birthday: August 20, 1833
  • Birthplace: North Bend, Ohio
  • Death: March 13, 1901
  • Place of death: Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Place of burial: Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Last words: “Are the doctors here? Doctor, my lungs…”


  • Father: John Scott Harrison (1804–1878); Farmer, U.S. congressman
  • Mother: Elizabeth Irwin Harrison (1810–1850)
  • First Wife: Caroline (Carrie) Lavinia Scott (1832 – 1892)
  • First Marriage: October 20, 1853 in,Ohio
  • Second Wife: Mary Scott Lord Dimmick (1858 – 1948)
  • Second Marriage: April 6, 1896 in New York
  • Kids: Three
    • From First Wife: Two
      • Russell Benjamin (1854–1936)
      • Mary Scott (1858–1930)
    • From Second Wife: One
      • Elizabeth (1898–1955)
  • Home: Indianapolis, Indiana

Other Facts

  • Height: 5’6″
  • Eye color: Blue
  • Ancestry: English-Scotch
  • Religion: Presbyterian
  • Born in a log cabin: No
  • Owned enslaved people: No
  • Freemason: No


  • Early education: Private tutoring
  • College degree: Yes
  • Colleges: Farmers’ College; Miami University (graduated with B.A. 1852)


  • Military Service: Yes
  • Lawyer: Yes
  • Lawyer (1853–)
  • City Attorney, Indianapolis (1857–1861)
  • Reporter, Indiana Supreme Court (1861–1862)
  • Officer in Civil War (1862–1865)
  • Brigadier General (1865)
  • U.S. Senator (1881–1887)
  • President (1889–1893)


  • This Country is Ours
  • Views of an Ex-President


In the election of 1888, Benjamin Harrison, a former senator from Indiana, defeated the incumbent president, Grover Cleveland. Tariffs were the main issue in this election, with Harrison favoring a strong, protective tariff.  Neither candidate campaigned much for himself; the parties handled it instead.

When the votes came in, Cleveland won the popular vote, but lost the electoral vote, due largely to New York and Indiana going to Harrison. It has been reported that Mrs. Cleveland informed the White House staff to take good care of the house, as they would be returning in four years.


Campaign Poster

Benjamin Harrison, chromolithograph, c. 1890s (Library of Congress)




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