First Lady Nellie Taft and the CSO

Presidential History Blog

Helen Herron Taft had two passions in her life. First and foremost was politics. Then came music.

Nellie Taft: Musician and Politician

young nellie One of the earliest photographs of Helen Herron, called Nellie from birth.

Piano lessons was practically a given in most nineteenth century middle-class families. Of course, then as now, not all children were musically inclined – or interested. Helen Herron  Taft (Nellie from birth), of Cincinnati, Ohio, was one of those little girls with some noticeable talents – and interest, but it became obvious that while she played nicely, she was not a Clara Schumann. So she focused on playing her best, enjoying music sincerely, and channeling her passion for politics.

The passion for politics surfaced when she was fifteen, and then-Governor Rutherford B. Hayes was elected Republican President. An Ohioan like her own family, Hayes was also a law partner and good friend of her father. Nellie’s…

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