1877 - 1881

Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center

10 Things you didn't know about the 19th U.S. President.
R.B. Hayes Presidential Center/ 2014

A cameo of 19th U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes is the centerpiece  of this brooch he presented First Lady Lucy Webb Hayes on their 25th wedding anniversary . They celebrated with a party at the White House on December 30, 1877 - the first year of his administration.

Rutherford B. Hayes was a remarkable President, not only for his efforts to re-unite the country after the Civil War, but also for the many 'firsts' attributed to he and First Lady Lucy Hayes during their years in the White House (1877-1881). Read on to discover 10 surprising things about this amazing couple.

1. Did you know that Rutherford B. Hayes is the only U.S. President whose election was decided by a congressional commission?

In the 1876 election Rutherford B. Hayes lost the popular vote to Democrat Samuel Tilden. However, the electoral counts in Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina were disputed due to widespread voter fraud. Controlling boards in all three states declared Hayes the winner, but the acting President of the Senate declined to certify the electoral count. A special commission of 8 Republicans and 7 Democrats was formed. The members voted party lines.

2. Did you know that Rutherford B. Hayes was the first U.S. President to take the oath of office inside the White House?

By the time Hayes was declared 19th President, it was inauguration day March 4. But the date fell on a Sunday and inaugurations cannot take place on Sunday. President Ulysses Grant feared an attempt would be made to install Tilden in office before the Monday public inauguration. He insisted a private ceremony take place at once. Hayes took the oath of office in the Red Room.

Rutherford B. Hayes took the oath of office for a second time on May 5, 1877.  Hayes placed his hand on this Bible, later marking the exact spot with a dark arrow and writing in the margin "This is the spot."

3. Did you know that Rutherford B. Hayes was the first U.S. President to have a typewriter in the White House? Hayes embraced new technology and quickly acquired a typewriter. This is a hand-colored photograph of the White House interior during the Hayes Administration (1877-1881). It shows the president's bedroom and sitting room.

4. Did you know that Rutherford B. Hayes was the first U.S. President to have a telephone in the White House? Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated his invention to Hayes by calling him on June 1877; by October Hayes had a phone inthe White House. The only other phone was at the U.S. Treasury. As a result, Hayes traveled in this carriage to go talk with people.

5. Did you know that Rutherford B. Hayes is the only U.S. President to have been wounded four times in the Civil War?

Military service helped many 19th-Century presidents get elected. Many of these brave men endured wounds. However, Rutherford B. Hayes holds the distinction of being wounded the most. His most serious wound came during the Battle of South Mountain. A musket ball went through his left elbow. Hayes' original coat (worn by this mannequin) still bears the hole.

By war's end, Hayes (at left) had earned the rank of Brevet Major General.

6. Did you know that 19th U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes started the tradition of the White House Easter Egg Roll? The year was 1878.

7. Did you know that Lucy Webb Hayes was the first wife of a U.S. President to be referred to as "First Lady?"  This photograph of her was taken in 1877, the year she and Rutherford moved into the White House.

8. Did you know that First Lady Lucy Hayes was the first wife of a president to have earned a college degree? This is a photograph of Lucy Ware Webb's diploma from Wesleyan Female College in Ohio.

9. Did you know that Rutherford B. Hayes was the first U.S. President to travel to the West Coast while in office? First Lady Lucy Hayes is seen holding a plaid shawl in this photograph taken on a trip she and the President took in the 'Dakota Territory.'  The President is on her left. Hayes earned the moniker 'Rutherford the Rover' for his presidential travels.

While visiting Yosemite Valley during his "Great Western Tour" of 1881, President Rutherford B. Hayes took a seat next to the stage coach driver. He is seen facing the camera.  First Lady Lucy Hayes is in the first row, wearing a white hat.

10. Did you know that President Rutherford B. Hayes' most famous quote was uttered during his inaugural address? Hayes said, "He serves his party best who serves his country best."

Credits: Story

Exhibit creator — Nancy Kleinhenz, Communications Manager-Hayes Presidential Center, Fremont, Ohio.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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