Museum logo
Museum logo

Object Record

  • Email This Page
Accession Number 1900.001
Catalog Number 1900.001.065
Object Name Painting
Title Portrait of Bob Taft
Description Three-quarter length portrait of Ohio's 67th governor, Bob Taft (1999-2007). Taft stands in front of a large stained-glass state seal. He wears a blue suit with a white shirt and a blue tie. He holds a book of Ohio photographs he published, and his finger holds it open to page 27, the page containing a picture of his daughter, Anna.
Date 2011
Artist Adams, Leslie
Notes Robert Alfonso Taft, II, was born in 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts, to U.S. Senator Robert Alphonso Taft, Jr. and Blanca Duncan Noel. Bob's paternal grandfather was U.S. Senate Majority Leader Robert Alphonso Taft, Sr., his patrilineal great-grandfather was U.S. President and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Howard Taft, and his patrilineal great-great-grandfather was Attorney General and Secretary of War Alphonso Taft.

He was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he attended the Cincinnati Country Day School through the ninth grade and graduated from The Taft School. He attended Yale University, where he was a member of the Yale Political Union, and graduated with a B.A. in government in 1963. From 1963 to 1965, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching in the African nation of Tanzania. He later attended the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, receiving an M.A., again in government, in 1967. In 1976, he received his Juris Doctor from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.

Taft was elected as a Republican to the Ohio House of Representatives from 1976 to 1981, and then was Hamilton County commissioner from 1981 to 1990. He ran for Lieutenant Governor of Ohio on the ticket with Jim Rhodes in 1986, but was unsuccessful. In 1990, he was elected as the Ohio Secretary of State, defeating incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown. He was re-elected in 1994, defeating Democratic candidate Dan Brady.

Taft was elected Governor of Ohio in 1998, defeating Democrat Lee Fisher 50-45 percent, and was reelected in 2002, defeating Democrat Tim Hagan 58-38 percent.

Due to term limits for the Ohio governorship, Taft was ineligible to run for a third consecutive term. Taft's unpopularity contributed to major Democratic gains in the 2006 election, including the defeat of Republican Ken Blackwell by Democrat Ted Strickland in the race to replace Taft as Governor.

After Taft left the governorship, he and his wife made a trip to Tanzania in February 2007 where he had served as a Peace Corps volunteer. Taft said the trip was invigorating and that the buildings where he taught and lived 40 years ago were still there.

Taft joined the University of Dayton in August 2007 as a distinguished research associate for educational excellence. His job is to help the university launch the Center for Educational Excellence, which encourages students to study science, technology, engineering and math.

In November 2008, he joined the Board of Directors of the Alliance for the Great Lakes to help advance Great Lakes education and policy initiatives, such as the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin Water Resources Compact, started during his tenure as Chairman of the Council of Great Lakes Governors.
People Adams, Leslie
Taft, Bob, 1942-
Signed Name "Leslie Adams 2007"
Sig Loc Lower left
Image size 51-3/4" x 33-3/4"
Frame size 61-3/4" x 43.75"
Frame desc Twenty-first century gilt molded frame
Material Oil Paint/Linen
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 Ohio Historical Society commissioned this portrait of Governor Bob Taft. Leslie Adams painted and signed the painting in 2007. The cost, paid for by private funds, was $16,000.

The portrait was unveiled at the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday, March 27, 2007.

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