Skip to main content

John Brooks Henderson

John Brooks Henderson
Artist
Jean Joseph Benjamin-Constant, 10 Jun 1845 - 26 May 1902
Sitter
John Brooks Henderson, 16 Nov 1826 - 12 Apr 1913
Date
1895
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
85.1cm x 59.7cm (33 1/2" x 23 1/2"), Accurate
Topic
Costume\Dress Accessory\Tie
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Mustache
Costume\Dress Accessory\Eyeglasses\Pince-nez
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Beard
Costume\Outerwear\Coat\Fur
John Brooks Henderson: Male
John Brooks Henderson: Law and Law Enforcement\Lawyer
John Brooks Henderson: Military and Intelligence\Army\Officer\Brigadier General
John Brooks Henderson: Politics and Government\US Senator\Missouri
John Brooks Henderson: Politics and Government\State Legislator\Missouri
Portrait
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; transfer from the Smithsonian American Art Museum; gift of the heirs of Mrs. John B. Henderson, 1935
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Object number
NPG.65.28
Exhibition Label
Born Danville, Virginia
A lawyer by training, John Brooks Henderson capped an influential legislative career by serving as the first special prosecutor in U.S. history. Following two terms in Missouri’s House of Representatives (1848–50; 1856–58), Henderson served in the U.S. Senate (1862–69). Though an enslaver himself, he was instrumental in ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment (1865) that abolished slavery. His vote against impeaching President Andrew Johnson, however, ended his Senate career.
In 1875, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Henderson as special prosecutor to investigate the Whiskey Ring corruption scandal, in which distillers and officials defrauded the government of tax revenue. It was one of several scandals that ensnared Grant’s administration, and the president fired Henderson for criticizing his interference in the investigation. After retiring from law and politics in 1889, Henderson turned to real estate development in Washington, D.C., where he served as a regent of the Smithsonian Institution (1892–1911).
Nacido en Danville, Virginia
El abogado John Brooks Henderson culminó una influyente carrera legislativa siendo el primer fiscal especial en la historia de EE.UU. Luego de dos términos en la Cámara de Representantes de Misuri (1848–50; 1856–58), sirvió en el Senado de la nación (1862–69). Aunque tenía esclavos, fue una figura crucial para la ratificación de la Enmienda 13 (1865) que abolió la esclavitud. No obstante, su voto contra el enjuiciamiento político del presidente Andrew Johnson acabó con su carrera de senador.
En 1875, el presidente Ulysses S. Grant nombró a Henderson fiscal especial para investigar el escándalo de corrupción del Whiskey Ring, una red de destiladores y funcionarios que estafó al gobierno en materia tributaria. Fue uno de varios escándalos en el gobierno de Grant, quien terminó despidiendo a Henderson por criticar su interferencia en la investigación. Al retirarse del derecho y la política en 1889, Henderson se dedicó al desarrollo de bienes raíces en Washington D.C., donde perteneció a la junta rectora de la Institución Smithsonian (1892–1911).
Provenance
Mrs. John B. Henderson [Mary Foote Henderson], wife of sitter [1842-1931]; her estate; gift 1935 to NCFA, assigned to National Portrait Gallery; transferred 1965.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Exhibition
2022 Rehang of Out of Many: Portraits from 1600 to 1900
On View
NPG, East Gallery 141