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Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center

Lucy Webb Hayes Photograph Collection



Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content


Photo Gallery


Images of Lucy Webb Hayes appear in the Hayes Presidential Center Portrait File, the Hayes Bigelow Collection, the Elizabeth Mitchell Heyl Collection, and the Lucy Elliot Keeler Photograph Albums as well as the Rutherford B. Hayes Photograph Collection, including the Hayes Photograph Albums and collections of Webb C., Scott, Fanny, and Birchard A. Hayes. An index of all images contained in the Hayes Photograph Albums is available in the Hayes Presidential Center’s reading room.

Biographical Sketch

Lucy Webb Hayes was born in Chillicothe, Ohio to Dr. James Webb and Maria Cook on 28 August 1831. Two years later Dr. James Webb died during a cholera epidemic in Kentucky, where he had gone to free slaves he had inherited. In 1844 the Webb family moved to Delaware, Ohio. Lucy’s brothers enrolled at Wesleyan University there, and although women were not allowed to study at Wesleyan, Lucy was permitted to enroll with her brothers. Several months later Lucy transferred to Cincinnati Wesleyan Female College and graduated from there in 1850.

Lucy first met Rutherford B. Hayes on the campus of Wesleyan University in Delaware. Two years later Lucy and Rutherford were married in Cincinnati in a simple ceremony on 30 December 1852. Eight children were born to the couple: Birchard Austin (1853-1926), Webb Cook (1856-1934), Rutherford Platt (1858-1927), Joseph Thompson (1861-1863), George Crook (1864-1866), Fanny (1867-1950), Scott Russell (1871-1923), and Manning Force (1873-1874).

When he practiced law in Cincinnati, Rutherford, influenced by Lucy’s anti-slavery sentiments, defended runaway slaves who had crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky. Lucy supported Rutherford’s decision to volunteer for military service during the Civil War. As often as she could, Lucy – sometimes with her mother and children – visited Rutherford in the field. She often assisted her brother, Dr. Joe Webb, in caring for the sick.

Lucy took an active interest in her husband’s political career. When Rutherford served in the United States Congress, Lucy worked for the welfare of children and veterans. During his tenure as governor of Ohio, she secured funding for an orphanage for the children of Civil War veterans.

Lucy Webb Hayes was a helpmate during Rutherford’s term as President. She did not serve alcohol at the White House, but in reality it was Rutherford’s decision to forego alcohol. He realized the importance of temperance advocates to the Republican Party and the need for public officials to maintain a dignified demeanor in public.

Lucy’s compassion and sincerity endeared her to Washingtonians. She regularly visited the National Deaf Mute College and the Hampton Institute where she sponsored a scholarship for Native American students. She continued to show concern for the poor by contributing generously to Washington charities. Fond of children, the White House was open to her children’s friends. She also started what has become a tradition: when the children of Washington were banned from rolling their Easter eggs on the Capitol grounds, Lucy invited them to use the White House lawn on the Monday following Easter. Her young adult nieces and cousins were also guests at the White House, often assisting in the hosting of White House social functions. By the end of Rutherford’s term in office, Lucy was acclaimed the "most widely known and popular President’s wife the country has known."

The Hayes family returned to their Fremont, Ohio, home, Spiegel Grove, in 1881. Surrounded by family, friends, flowers, and fauna, Lucy spent her last eight years at Spiegel Grove. A few days after suffering a stroke, Lucy Webb Hayes passed away 25 June 1889.

Scope and Content

The bulk of the collection contains original images and copies of Lucy Webb Hayes in a variety of formats. Most are formal, posed portraits and engravings. The collection is arranged chronologically. beginning with the earliest known image, a copy of a daguerreotype dated 1847, and extending to the year of her death, 1889. Some of the copies were created from originals in the Hayes Photograph Albums. Notations, including dates, in the handwriting of President Hayes appear on many of the images. The daguerreotypes from which the copies were produced are stored in the daguerreotype collection.

The collection also contains images that were given to Lucy Webb Hayes as gifts while she was First Lady (1877-1881). Of particular note are the stereoviews and albumen prints of American Indian students at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. The stereoviews are housed in the Stereoview Collection.

The Hayes Photograph Albums contain additional images of Lucy Webb Hayes as does the Rutherford B. Hayes Photograph Collection. Many candid views of Lucy Webb Hayes with family and friends at Spiegel Grove (1881-1889) were taken by her son Rutherford Platt Hayes and by Lucy Keeler. The albums of Lucy Elliot Keeler are part of the Lucy Elliot Keeler Collection.


Ca. 400 items

Box 1 Portraits

1. 1847 Image of Lucy Webb Hayes from a daguerreotype; aged 16.
2. 1850 Image of Lucy Webb Hayes from a daguerreotype, Wesleyan College, aged 19
3. 1850 Image of Lucy Webb Hayes from a daguerreotype, Wesleyan College, aged 19; with classmates Jane
Lewis and Rachel L. Bodley
4. 1850-1860, Image of Lucy Webb Hayes, (seated)
5. 1852 Image of Lucy Webb Hayes with Rutherford B. Hayes from a daguerreotype taken at the time of their
6. 1858 Image of Lucy Webb Hayes, aged 27
7. 1860-1870 of Lucy Webb Hayes (profile)
8. 1870 Image of Lucy Webb Hayes (profile) by Landy, Cincinnati, Ohio
9. 1874 Image of Lucy Webb Hayes (head and shoulders) by North & Oswald, Toledo, Ohio
10. 1877 Image of Lucy Webb Hayes ( standing, side view) by C. M. Bell, Washington, D. C.
11. 1877 Image of Lucy Webb Hayes (seated, two views) from original by Brady.
12. 1877 Image of Lucy Webb Hayes (seated, and head and shoulders) by Mora, New York
13. 1877 Image of Lucy Webb Hayes (standing, full view) cabinet card by Grob, Fremont, Ohio from original
by Mora, New York.
14. 1877 Image of Lucy Webb Hayes (head and shoulders) by