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Marcus A. Hanna: A Featured Biography

Photo of Marcus Hanna

Mark Hanna excelled in business before applying his considerable talent and enormous wealth to politics. He used both attributes to bolster the presidential campaigns of fellow Ohioans Rutherford Hayes in 1876 and James Garfield in 1880. In 1896 he supported another Ohioan, William McKinley. Managing a savvy, well-funded campaign, Hanna kept McKinley on his front porch, where he welcomed trainloads of voters traveling at Hanna's expense. This famous "front porch campaign" put McKinley in the White House and turned Hanna into a national political figure. President McKinley offered Hanna a cabinet post, but Hanna preferred a seat in the Senate, which he gained in 1897. The unusually high-profile freshman, who served as the president's closest advisor, played a key role in business-labor relations and became such a strong supporter of the proposed Central American canal that senators nicknamed it the "Hannama Canal." By 1904 Hanna was looking for another presidential candidate to support, but he never got the chance to run another campaign. Mark Hanna died of typhoid fever in 1904, just 67 years old.

 

Vice Presidential Bust Collection

Henry Wilson

In November of 1875 the Senate's presiding officer, Vice President Henry Wilson, was struck by paralysis and carried to his office in the Capitol. For 12 days, Wilson received visitors from his sick bed in the vice president's room, and there he died on November 22. A decade later, to honor its respected colleague, the Senate commissioned noted sculptor Daniel Chester French to create a marble bust of Wilson. With completion of the Wilson bust, which still stands in the vice president's office, the Senate decided to honor all vice presidents for their constitutional role as the President of the Senate by commissioning additional portrait busts. Today, the Senate's oldest art collection includes marble portraits of every vice president from John Adams to Dan Quayle, with busts of recent vice presidents Albert Gore and Richard Cheney under commission.

The Ohio Clock

Eleven feet tall, this richly-grained mahogany clock is one of the most recognized pieces of furniture in the Capitol. It is known as the Ohio Clock, but no one knows why. Ordered in 1815, the stately clock is adorned with a shield containing 17 stars and 17 stripes, leading some to conclude that it was named for the 17th state, Ohio. But Ohio became a state in 1803, and two more states were admitted by the time the Senate commissioned this piece. Another theory rests upon an 1897 Harper's Weekly illustration, showing Ohio senator Marcus Hanna posing near the clock. Unfortunately, no evidence has been found to confirm that Hanna's stance near the timepiece was anything but coincidental. Still, for a reason yet to be discovered, the clock is named for the state of Ohio.

 
  

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