Our neighbor the President

Among the remarkably generous members of the Mercantile Library there is a man of extremely sweet disposition who has sent the director several boxes of exquisitely sweet Oregon pears over the past few holidays and who has further made it possible for the Library the complete run of Henry Holt’s and Times Books’ brief biographies of American presidents. These are lovely little books, not just for the useful information about the men who have served as head of government, but because they run directly counter to the horrible practice of cramming every last known fact about a biographical subject into a huge tome that nobody ever takes out. They’re all great small reads. Here’s one bit of that useful presidential information. Everybody knows about Bill Taft and how he courted Nellie Herron at the ML and lived down Fourth Street in one of those excellent huge flats. But he was not the Library’s only notable and presidential neighbor. After the Civil War, Cincinnati lawyer (and Army General) Rutherford Hayes was elected to the U.S. Congress. While he and Mrs. Hayes were waiting for their new apartment to be ready, she went to Chillicothe and he took a room at Fourth and Walnut. Was he a member of the Library? How could he not be? Unless he was one of those cheaters who drifted in to read the paper without paying the member fee. There were such people.

There are statues of Wm. H. Harrison and James Abram Garfield in the central city. There are no statues of Taft are Hayes. This is a Great Wrong that must be righted.  We are not the first to take up this cause.  Credit for that goes to our estimable blogcolleague at Queen City Survey.

-Nemo Wolfe

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Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 3:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

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