As Congress would not let President Hayes have any money to fix up the White House, the building was in bad shape when the Garfield’s moved in. Lucretia Garfield convinced Congress to give her money to make repairs and restore many of the rooms. Before she chose her paint, however, she went to the Library of Congress to do some research. President Garfield always went with her because he considered the Librarian of Congress an old friend. Ainsworth Rand Spofford knew Garfield to be one of the best researchers he knew. Spofford knew of Garfield’s love of current books and always let him know when new books arrived so he could get first crack at them.


Many Firsts During the Hayes Presidency

(This short post is taken almost verbatim from the book.)

Hayes was the first President to visit the west coast. He felt it was important for them to see their President and he wanted to see how the west was growing, as well as see first hand what was happening on the other side of the country. After seeing the poverty of a number of Native Americans on Indian Reservations, he worked to improve reservation life.

After Alexander Graham Bell spoke to Hayes over the telephone in 1877, Hayes had a telephone installed in the White House.  In 1878, Thomas Edison brought his phonograph over to demonstrate playback of sound. Hayes brought the first typewriter into the White House and had the first permanent running water system installed. He believed new technology was the best way to improve American lives.

Lucy Webb Hayes

The first First lady with a college education, Lucy was a big supporter of women’s rights and supported ending slavery. Also, she began the annual Easter Egg Roll for children on the White House Lawn in 1878.


Hayes became President only after some alleged wheelings and dealings. The rumor was he would remove the troops still occupying South Carolina and Louisiana if he won the election. The first major thing he did was remove troops from South Carolina and Louisiana. Military reconstruction wasn’t going well. He used Federal money to improve some bridges, roads and canals in the south.

Even with all of this support, the south still passed what would be known as Jim Crow laws severely limiting the rights of African-Americans. This segregation would exist legally for more than 50 years until African-Americans organized the Civil Rights movement.

The Ohio State University

It appears that Rutherford was very education minded. After his term in Congress, he ran for and was elected Governor of Ohio. He established the state’s first public institution of higher learning, which later became Ohio State University.

Library of Congress!

Rutherford B. Hayes was elected to Congress in 1865. He was appointed chairman of a House-Senate committee on the Library of Congress. His committee made recommendations “that would make the library more accessible to all citizens.”


World Traveler

After his Presidency was over, Grant and his wife set out for a tour of the world. They were gone almost two years. Many places, including England, had no idea what the protocol of hosting a former US President would be as none had ever traveled the world before Grant.  Grant was generally unassuming and did not want a big fuss made over him, which did not help matters. He wanted to leave the country so he could get away from being a public figure, but he was asked to give more speeches all over the world than he ever had in the US.

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