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Accession Number 1900.001
Catalog Number 1900.001.046
Object Name Painting
Title Portrait of Judson Harmon
Description Half-length portrait of Ohio's 45th governor, Judson Harmon, who served from 1909 to 1913. He wears a black suit with a back vest, white shirt and gray tie. He has a gold watch chain and a gold tie pin. He has grayish-white hair and a grey moustache. His proper right hand rests on a wooden table.
Date 1910
Artist Thorp, Freeman, 1844-1922
Notes Judson Harmon was born in Newton, Ohio, on February 3, 1846. His father was a Baptist minister. Harmon attended Denison University and the Cincinnati Law School before setting up a practice in Cincinnati in 1869. The following year, Harmon married Olivia Scobey. Harmon's reputation as a lawyer led the people of Cincinnati to choose him as a judge for the common pleas and superior courts.

Harmon had first associated himself with the Republican Party, but the Republicans' stance on Reconstruction led him to switch to the Democratic Party. President Grover Cleveland asked Harmon to serve as the U.S. Attorney General in 1895, a post that he held until 1897. As attorney general, Harmon was instrumental in pursuing important anti-trust suits against railroads. After 1897, Harmon temporarily retired from politics, but he was never far from the public eye.

Harmon reemerged on the political scene when he successfully ran for Ohio governor in 1908. Two years later, Harmon was reelected over Republican candidate Warren G. Harding. Harmon had campaigned on the promise that he would clean up the state government and make it more efficient. While Harmon was governor, the state passed several reforms, including a workman's compensation act, and instituted many changes that improved efficiency and reduced corruption in state government offices. The state also ratified the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which created the federal income tax, and the Seventeenth Amendment, which established direct election of senators. Although some of these issues were favored by Progressives, Harmon did not support all Progressive programs.

In 1912, Harmon had ambitions to gain the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. His opposition to Progressive reforms such as initiative and referendum made him an unviable candidate. Instead, the Democrats chose Woodrow Wilson as their candidate. After completing his second term as governor, Harmon returned to Cincinnati to practice law. In addition, he taught courses at the Cincinnati Law School. Harmon died in Cincinnati on February 22, 1927.
People Harmon, Judson, 1846-1927
Thorp, Freeman, 1844-1922
Signed Name "Thorp"
Sig Loc Lower left in red script
Image size 42" x 30"
Frame size 46-1/2" x 34-2/3"
Frame desc Mid-twentieth century cove-molded gilt frame
Material Oil Paint/Canvas/Wood
Provenance In 1867, the Ohio General Assembly passed a joint resolution relative to the governors of Ohio. The legislators resolved that "the secretary of state, on the first Monday of January next, whether the portraits of the governors of Ohio, state and territorial, can be procured, and if so, whether original portraits or copies, and the probable expense of procuring such portraits for the governor's office."

The 1911 Annual Report of the Ohio Auditor of State shows a payment of $500 from "Miscellaneous Accounts" for the portrait of Governor Harmon.

The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board took over the care of the Statehouse and its collections in 1988.
Search Terms Ohio Governor
Ohio Governor's Portraits
Subjects Governors
Portrait paintings
Collection Statehouse Artwork Collection/Governors' Portraits