spacer Rutherford B. Hayesspacer Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893)
Nineteenth President (1877-1881)

Republican presidential hopeful Rutherford B. Hayes went to bed on election night of 1876 thinking that he had lost the contest. But charges of ballot-tampering led to prolonged investigations of the vote count in several states. Out of this inquiry, itself marked by backstairs chicanery, Hayes finally emerged triumphant by a single electoral vote.

All of the irregularities surrounding his election led some to view Hayes as "His Fraudulency." But questions about his legitimate right to office did not prevent this former Ohio governor from being an able chief executive. Among his presidential accomplishments were the termination of the harsh policies that had been imposed on the South since the Civil War and the first significant steps toward curbing rampant corruption in the civil service.

Hayes's portraitist, Eliphalet Andrews, was the founding director of Washington, D.C.'s Corcoran School of Art. In addition to this bust portrait, the German-trained Andrews painted a three-quarter-length likeness of Hayes that now resides at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, Ohio.

Eliphalet Frazer Andrews (1835 - 1915)
Oil on canvas, 1881
On loan from the Corcoran Gallery of Art
Washington, D.C.; Museum purchase

Enlarged image

Rutherford B. Hayes Likeness of Rutherford B. Hayes modeled during his presidential campaign

In the summer of 1876, the sculptor Olin Warner tried to interest the two major political parties in commissioning busts of their current presidential candidates that could be replicated and used for campaign purposes. His proposition struck a responsive chord in the Republican camp, which was having a hard time drumming up interest in the rather colorless Rutherford B. Hayes, and arrangements were made for sittings. At least one Hayes supporter was quite pleased with the resulting likeness and pinned great hopes on its ability to persuade a so-far doubting public that Hayes was "a man of power." The venture for replicating the bust on a large scale, however, never went very far, and only a few copies were ever made.

Olin Levi Warner (1844-1896)
Plaster, 1876
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; transfer from the National Museum of American Art,
Gift of Mrs. Carlyle Jones, 1874

Enlarged image