Born: September 15, 1857; Cincinnati, Ohio
Educated: Yale University, A.B., 1878 Cincinnati Law School, LL.B., 1880
Married: June 19, 1886, Helen Herron
Nominated: June 30, 1921, by President Warren Harding
Commissioned: June 30, 1921
Dates of Service: July 11, 1921 to Feb. 3, 1930
Served as President: 1908 to 1912
Died: March 8, 1930, Washington, D.C. Section 30, Grave S-14, Grid YZ-39/40
William Howard Taft was the first president to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He was also the only person to have served as president of the United States, and as chief justice of the United States on the U.S. Supreme Court. Taft was born in Cincinnati in 1857. He graduated second in his class at Yale in 1878 and first in his law school class in 1880 from the University of Cincinnati.
Taft served as solicitor general under President Benjamin Harrison from 1890 to 1892 and as a Judge for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1892 to 1900.
On March 12, 1900, Taft was appointed by President William McKinley to establish civil government in the Philippines. He was named the first civilian governor of the Philippines and was instrumental in establishing programs to build new roads, schools, upgrade sanitary conditions and land reform.
When Taft returned to the United States in 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him secretary of war, a position his father had held 25 years earlier.
William Howard Taft defeated William Jennings Bryan in the race for U.S. president in 1908. During his single presidential term, Taft named six justices to the Supreme Court.
Taft started a sports tradition by being the first president to throw out the baseball at a season opener, in a game between the Washington Senators and the Philadelphia Athletics in 1910.
President Taft ran for re-election in 1912. The Republican Party was divided when former President Theodore Roosevelt ran for office as leader of his new Progressive Party. Taft and Roosevelt were defeated by Woodrow Wilson.
President Warren G. Harding appointed Taft as chief justice of the United States in 1921. Chief Justice Taft created the judicial conference of senior federal judges. Taft served on the Court until his retirement on February 3, 1930, because of ill health. Taft died five weeks after he retired.
Taft's grave is marked by a Stony Creek Granite monument, sculpted by James Earl Frazer, which rises 14 1/2 feet. Taft's wife, Helen Herron Taft, who died in 1943, was the first first lady interred in the cemetery. Helen Taft was instrumental in bringing Japanese cherry trees to Washington, D.C.
View the President William Howard Taft Monument page.