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Accession Number 1900.001
Catalog Number 1900.001.047
Object Name Painting
Title Portrait of James M. Cox
Description Half-length portrait of Ohio's 46th and 48th governor, James M. Cox who served from 1913 to 1915 and 1917 to 1921. He wears a dark suit with reddish tones, a white shirt and a multi-color tie. He has thin-rimmed eyeglasses and short brown hair. The background of the painting is similar to that of Mosler's portrait of Governor Nash (1900.1.42).
Date 1914
Artist Mosler, Henry, 1841-1920
Notes James Middleton Cox was born on March 31, 1870, in Butler County, Ohio. His parents were Gilbert and Eliza Cox. Cox spent his childhood on his parents' farm. After attending the public schools, Cox briefly became a teacher but decided to become a journalist instead. Over time, Cox gained a name for himself in journalism. He eventually owned and edited newspapers in Ohio, including the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News, as well as papers in Florida and Georgia.

Cox, a Democrat, first entered politics in 1908, when he successfully ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Cox served two consecutive terms in Congress, from 1909 to 1913, before being elected governor of Ohio. Although Cox was a member of the Democratic Party, he was very supportive of many Progressive reforms. This commitment to reform contributed to his success in the gubernatorial election.

Cox had a successful record as governor. He was able to work with the state legislature to enact a number of important Progressive reforms. It was during Cox's first term as governor (1913-1915) that Ohio formally adopted direct primaries, initiative and referendum. Cox's administration oversaw reforms within the state court system, the civil service, and the budget and tax processes. The state passed laws that dealt with municipal home rule, workmen's compensation, educational reform, and prison reform, among numerous other issues.

Despite the progress Cox made in Ohio during his term, he was unsuccessful in gaining reelection in 1914. Instead, Republican candidate Frank B. Willis became the state's next governor. Cox ran again in 1916 and was successful. He also gained reelection in 1918, becoming the first Ohio governor to serve three full terms in office.

Cox faced new challenges after election to his second term in office. He continued to work for Progressive reforms, but he also had to mobilize Ohio to support the American war effort during World War I. The governor worked particularly hard to keep labor disputes from disrupting war production in the state during the war. Cox also helped to build patriotism and support for the war effort, including supporting a law that banned the teaching of the German language in Ohio schools. The Ake Law, as it was known, was very popular at the time, as Ohioans wanted to do all that they could to be patriotic, but the Supreme Court later declared it unconstitutional.

His prominence within the Democratic Party in Ohio thrust Cox into the national political arena in 1920. His party chose him as their presidential candidate and chose Franklin D. Roosevelt as his vice presidential running mate. Cox's campaign was ultimately unsuccessful, and fellow Ohioan Warren G. Harding was elected president instead.

When Cox's third term as governor ended in 1921, he retired from politics. Cox focused his attention on his newspapers, both in Ohio and in the South. Cox briefly returned to public service in 1933, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him to the American delegation to a world economic conference. Cox published his memoirs, which he titled "Journey Through My Years," in 1946.

Cox died in Dayton, Ohio, on July 15, 1957.
People Cox, James Middleton, 1870-1957
Mosler, Henry, 1841-1920
Signed Name "Henry Mosler. 1914."
Sig Loc Upper left
Image size 30" x 25"
Frame size 34" x 28-3/4"
Frame desc First-half twentieth century gilt molded frame with carved beaded liner
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 portrait is signed "Henry Mosler 1914". No records from the auditor's or governor's offices have been located to date.

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