Robert Todd Lincoln

ROBERT TODD LINCOLN was born in Springfield, Illinois, on 1 August 1843; attended local schools and then the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire; attended Harvard University, 1859–1864; saw his father elected President of the United States, 1861–1865; entered Harvard Law School but left after four months to enter the Army; served on General Grant’s staff until the end of the Civil War; studied law in Chicago and was admitted to the bar, 1867; acquired clients among railroad and corporate interests; married Mary Harlan, 1868; was a charter member of the Chicago Bar Association, 1874; was a delegate to the Republican convention of 1880; served as Secretary of War, 5 March 1881–5 March 1885; recommended legislation to prevent and punish white intrusion upon Indian lands; recommended that the Weather Bureau be separated from the Army; recommended an increase in pay for private soldiers as one way to discourage desertion; proposed liberal appropriations to the states to support the formation of volunteer militia organizations; resumed the practice of law, 1885; was recalled to public service as minister to Great Britain and served from 1889 to 1893; resumed his legal practice as counsel to corporate interests including the Pullman Company; became president of the Pullman Company, 1897; resigned in 1911 for reasons of health but continued as chairman of the board; moved to Washington, D.C., 1912, and spent his summers at his Manchester, New Hampshire, estate; died in Washington, D.C., on 26 July 1926.

The Artist

Daniel Huntington (1816–1906) painted President Abraham Lincoln as well as his son, Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln. His portrait of Secretary Lincoln was his last contribution to the War Department gallery. He was the first beneficiary of yet another increase in the artist’s fee for a secretarial portrait, receiving $750 for the Lincoln image, a scale that would obtain until the turn of the century. Huntington painted Secretary Lincoln from life.


Portrait, Robert Todd Lincoln

Garfield and Arthur Administrations
By Daniel Huntington
Oil on canvas, 29½" x 24½", 1885

page created 2 March 2001

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