27. William Howard Taft

“Big Bill”

Presidential Basics

  • Full name: William Howard Taft
  • Years in office: 1909–1913
  • Political party: Republican
  • Vice president: James S. Sherman
  • Age at inauguration: 51
  • Nicknames: “Big Bill,” “Bill,” “Big Lub”

Random Trivia

  • After the presidency: Taft served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court after he served as our president.

Birth & Death

  • Birthday: September 15, 1857
  • Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Death: March 8, 1930
  • Place of death: Washington, D.C.
  • Place of burial: Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C.
  • Last words: None recorded


  • Father: Alphonso Taft (1810–1891): Lawyer, Secretary of War (Ulysses S. Grant administration), Attorney General, U.S. Diplomat
  • Mother: Louise Torrey Taft (1827–1907)
  • Wife: Helen (Nellie) Herron (1861–1943)
  • Marriage: June 19, 1886 in Ohio
  • Kids: Three
    • Robert Alphonso (1889–1953)
    • Helen Herron (1891–1987)
    • Charles Phelps (1897–1983)
  • Homes: Cincinnati, Ohio; Washington, D.C.

Other Facts

  • Height: 6’2″
  • Eye color: Blue
  • Ancestry: English, Scotch-Irish
  • Religion: Unitarian
  • Born in a log cabin: No
  • Owned enslaved people: No
  • Freemason: Yes


  • Early education: Woodward High School
  • College degree: Yes
  • College: Yale (graduated with B.A. 1878); Cincinnati Law School (1880)


  • Military Service: No
  • Lawyer: Yes
  • Lawyer (1880–)
  • Judge, Ohio Superior Court (1887–1890)
  • U.S. Solicitor General (1890–1892)
  • U.S. Circuit Court Judge (1892–1900)
  • Dean of University of Cincinnati Law School (1896–1900)
  • Governor of the Philippines (1901–1904)
  • Secretary of War: Theodore Roosevelt administration (1904–1908)
  • President (1909–1913)
  • Professor of Law at Yale (1913–1921)
  • Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1921–1930)


  • The Anti-Trust and the Supreme Court
  • The United States and Peace
  • Our Chief Magistrate and His Powers


After being elected in 1904, TR vowed to only serve that term and then leave public office.  Many Americans were surprised when, in the election of 1908, TR upheld that promise.  Even thought he was very popular, and the Republican party tried to nominate him, TR stayed out of the spotlight.  He instead threw his support behind his hand-picked successor, William Howard Taft. Taft promised to continue the Progressive Reforms that began with Roosevelt.  This was enough to get him elected to our highest executive office.

Campaign Poster

Wm. H. Taft: “Good Times,” chromolithograph published by Allied Printing Trades Council, c. 1908


© 2021 Periodic Presidents, PJ and Jamie Creek