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Presidential descendants to highlight symposium on how Ohioans in the White House have shaped U.S. history

Ohio is home to eight U.S. presidents, all of whom played significant roles in shaping American history. Descendants of five of those presidents — Stephen Hayes, James R. Garfield II, Scott McKinley, Rick Taft and Warren G. Harding III — will take their place among authors, professors, historians and professional politicians as part of a day-long symposium, “The Ohio 8: Ohio’s History in Presidential Politics.”

The Ohio 8: Ohio's History in Presidential Politics, is held in conjunction with the Race at CaseThe symposium, held in conjunction with the 2004 Vice Presidential Debates at Case Western Reserve University, takes place Tuesday, October 5, from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd., and is presented by Case, the Western Reserve Historical Society and the Cleveland Museum of Art. It is open to the public but a $10 registration fee is required. Admission is free for college students with ID, current and retired Case faculty, and Case staff. Support for the event comes from KeyBank.

“KeyBank is proud to be the major financial sponsor of the Ohio in Presidential Politics Symposium,” says Robert B. “Yank” Heisler, KeyBank chairman and CEO. “Events like this benefit our businesses and community, raise awareness of Cleveland and our world-class institutions and help inform us about major candidates and their positions on the issues facing America.”

Other highlights of the day will include presentations by former White House counsel John W. Dean III; Jim Ruvolo, Ohio state chairman for John Kerry’s presidential campaign; and Robert T. Bennett, long-time chair of the Ohio Republican Party.

James Robenalt, author of Linking Rings: William W. Durbin and the Magic and Mystery of America, will moderate the program and introduce Allan Peskin, professor of American history at Cleveland State University. Peskin will summarize Ohio’s key role historically in determining the outcome of presidential contests.

Following this introduction, the day will be broken into three panels. The first panel will review Ohio presidents from William Henry Harrison to Benjamin Harrison. This will include examinations of the presidencies of Grant, Garfield and Hayes. The panel will focus on parallels from these presidencies to the present. For example, panel members will look at Reconstruction and compare the difficulties of nation-building with problems faced today in Iraq.

This first panel, entitled “Ohio Saves the Nation” (9 a.m.-noon), will include Professor Andrew Cayton of Miami University of Ohio; Professor Brooks Simpson of Arizona State University; Professor Emeritus Ari Hoogenboom of Brooklyn College; Professor Allan Peskin; Kenneth Ackerman, author of Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield; Professor Charles Calhoun of East Carolina University; James R. Garfield II, a descendent of Garfield; Murney Gerlach, executive director of the Hayes Presidential Center; and Stephen A. Hayes, a descendant of Rutherford B. Hayes.

The second panel, entitled “Ohio Sets the Agenda for Nation-Building and the Emergence of a World Power” (1-3:30 p.m.), will focus on the country’s growth and development into a major world power during the presidencies of McKinley, Taft and Harding. Panelists will include retired Professor Wayne Morgan of the University of Oklahoma; Carl Sferrazza Anthony, author of America’s First Families and The Kennedy White House; John Dean, counsel to President Richard M. Nixon and author of Warren G. Harding; James D. Robenalt; and Scott McKinley, Rick Taft and Warren G. Harding III, all members of presidential families.

The third panel, entitled “Ohio from FDR to 2004” (3:45-5:30 p.m.), will explore Ohio's role in the election of modern presidents, with special emphasis on the 2004 presidential election in Ohio. Case’s Alexander Lamis, editor of Ohio Politics, will moderate. Panelists include Professor John Green of the University of Akron’s Bliss Institute; Jim Ruvolo; Chairman Bennett; Michael Curtin, president and associate editor of the Columbus Dispatch; and Brent Larkin, editorial page editor of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland.

Concurrently, the Western Reserve Historical Society will host “Presidential Descendants at Western Reserve Historical Society” (4-5:30 p.m.). This event will include a tour of the Western Reserve Historical Society’s new exhibit, “Every Four Years: Ohio’s Role in the Making of the American President,” with the descendants of the Garfield, Harding, Hayes, McKinley and Taft families.

For more information or to register for the “Ohio 8” symposium, call 216-421-7350. Due to University Circle street closings October 5, visitors to either event should go to the Web at to find the best route.

KeyBank comprises the retail banking office network of Cleveland-based KeyCorp, one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $86 billion. Key companies provide investment management, retail and commercial banking, consumer finance, and investment banking products and services to individuals and companies throughout the United States and, for certain businesses, internationally. The company's businesses deliver their products and services through KeyCenters and offices; a network of nearly 2,200 ATMs; telephone banking centers (1.800.KEY2YOU); and a Web site,®, that provides account access and financial products 24 hours a day.



Mr. Ackerman is author of Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2003). He is also the author of The Gold Ring: Jim Fisk, Jay Gould and Black Friday 1869 (Dodd, Mead & Co, 1988; new paperback edition by Carroll & Graf in winter 2005) and a new book on “Boss Tweed” of New York’s Tammany Hall to be published in February 2005. Mr. Ackerman is Of Counsel at the law firm Olsson, Frank and Weeda, P.C., in Washington, D.C. Born in Albany, New York, Mr. Ackerman received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University in 1973 and his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center in 1976. He has held senior legal positions at two United States Senate committees and the U.S. Department of Agriculture; as a writer, he has appeared on C-Span’s Booknotes with host Brian Lamb, C-Span’s BookTV, and National Pubic Radio’s “All Things Considered.”


Mr. Anthony is the author of the newly published, Heads of State: The Presidents as Everyday, Useful Household Objects in Pewter, Plastic, Porcelain and more... (New York: Bloomsbury) a new area of study examining presidential history and popular culture. His book, Nellie Taft: The Unconventional First Lady of the Ragtime Era will be published by William Morrow in February, 2005, which also published Florence Harding: The First Lady, the Jazz Age and the Death of America’s Most Scandalous President (New York: W. Morrow & Co., 1998). He is a former speech writer for Nancy Reagan and was a contributing editor for George magazine. He has authored nine books on presidential family history focusing on First Ladies, and his work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Vanity Fair. Mr. Anthony has appeared as a political history commentator on “Nightline,” “Larry King,” CNN, MSNBC, and ABC, NBC and CBS nightly new programs. He is currently assembling the Audio-Visual Collection of the National First Ladies Library, located in Canton, Ohio. He lives in Los Angeles.


Robert T. Bennett is chairman of the Ohio Republican Party and a member of the Republican National Committee since 1988. In January 2003 he was re-elected to his eighth term as chairman, serving in this position since February 1988. Mr. Bennett is also chairman of the Midwestern State Chairmen’s Association of the Republican National Committee.

Mr. Bennett is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and an attorney who formerly specialized in tax and business law. Previously, he was a partner in the law firm of Bennett & Harbarger and the firm of Bartunek, Bennett, Garofoli & Hill. He was also the former finance director of the city of Strongsville and a CPA with the firm of Ernst & Ernst (now Ernst & Young).

Mr. Bennett is a member of the Board of Trustees and Board of Directors of a number of Ohio business and civic organizations including University Hospitals of Cleveland and Southwest General Health Center, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections (Chairman), the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati (Chairman) and The Howland Group of Philadelphia.

Mr. Bennett is married to the former Ruth Ann Dooley, is the father of Robert Jr. and Rose Marie, and lives in Fairview Park, Ohio. He was born and raised in Columbus where he graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Mr. Bennett has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from The Ohio State University and a Juris Doctor Degree from Cleveland Marshall Law School of Baldwin Wallace College (now Cleveland State University.).


Dr. Cayton is Distinguished Professor of History at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. A graduate of the University of Virginia, he received a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Brown University. He is the author of Ohio: The History of a People (Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2002); The Frontier Republic: Ideology and Politics in the Ohio Country, 1780-1825 (Kent: The Kent State University Press, 1986) and Frontier Indiana (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996). His most recent book, The Dominion of War: Empire and Liberty in North America, 1500-2000, co-authored with Fred Anderson, will be published by Viking in January 2005.


Professor Calhoun is currently writing a biography, Benjamin Harrison (New York: Times Books – Henry Holt, spring 2005). He is a past president of the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and teaches history at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. His undergraduate degree was from Yale University and he received his master's and Ph.D. in history at Columbia University. He is the author of multiple books, articles and review essays and general editor of The Human Tradition in America, a series of books published by Scholarly Resources.


Mr. Curtin is the president and associate publisher of the Columbus Dispatch. He is also the author of the Ohio Politics Almanac, published by Kent State University Press in 1996.


Former White House counsel, Dean is the author of Watergate memoirs Blind Ambition and Lost Honor, as well as a book on Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He is a columnist for, a frequent contributor to national publications and author of a current book, Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush. Mr. Dean completed his undergraduate studies at Colgate University and the College of Wooster, with majors in English literature and political science. He received a graduate fellowship from American University to study government and the presidency before entering Georgetown University’s Law Center, where he received his J.D. in 1965. In 2004 Dean wrote a biography of Warren G. Harding as a part of the American Presidents Series. He works as a writer, lecturer and private investment banker.


A direct descendant of President James A. Garfield. Colonel Garfield has a distinguished record of command and service including assignments in General Patton's reconnaissance company at the Battle of the Bulge in World War II and command of the 1st Squadron, 107th Cavalry. He is the great-grandson of our first Regimental Commander and later U.S. President, James R. Garfield, who formed the regiment during the Civil War and commanded it in its first battles.


Dr. Gerlach became the executive director of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, Ohio in August 2003. He earned his B.A. in government and international relations from Lake Forest College, Illinois in 1972; a master’s degree in modern European history from San Diego State University in 1976; and his doctorate in modern British and American history from Oxford University in 1983. Primarily a 19th-Century historian interested in American and British political, social and cultural history, Dr. Gerlach has an impressive record of research, presentation and publication. His most recent book, British Liberalism and the United States: Political and Social Thought in a Late-Victorian Age, was published in 2001. He has served as a consultant for a number of historical institutions, such as the American Association of Museums. He was the director of the Rhode Island Historical Society from 1999 to 2001 and was on the board of directors of the San Diego Historical Society from 1987 to 1992.


John Green is the Director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics and Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Akron. Dr. Green is widely known as an observer of Ohio and national politics, and is frequently quoted in the national and state media on elections, campaign finance, party politics, and religion and politics. He is the co¬editor of The State of the Parties: The Changing Role of Contemporary Party Politics (2003), now in its fourth edition, Multi-Party Politics in America (2002), The Politics of Ideas: Intellectual Challenges to the Major Parties (2001), and co-author of The Diminishing Divide: Religion’s Changing Role in American Politics (2000). He is the editor of Vox Pop, the newsletter of the Political Organizations and Parties Section of the American Political Science Association. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University and his B.A. from the University of Colorado.


Warren G. Harding III, M.D. is an orthopaedic surgeon with a special interest in shoulder problems. He has been associated with Wellington Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Inc. since 1975 and a volunteer assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati. He was formerly team physician for the Cincinnati Reds. Prior to entering private practice, he completed training at the University of California, Los Angeles and served in the Medical Corps of the United States Navy at the Naval Regional Medical Center, San Diego.

He is a member of the Development Board of the Ohio Historical Society, a trustee of the Madeira-Indian Hill Fire Company, a Rotarian, a 32nd Degree Mason and member of the Indian Hill Episcopal-Presbyterian Church. He and his wife Barbara live in Cincinnati. They have three sons, Warren IV of Memphis, James of Miami and Andrew of Washington, D.C.

A fourth generation Ohio physician and grandnephew of Warren G. Harding, 29th President of the United States, Dr. Harding has also developed an interest in history and government. He recently edited the republication (University of Missouri Press, 2003) of President Harding’s book Our Common Country: Mutual Goodwill in America, the guide and blueprint for a return to “Normalcy” after World War I. The book’s relevance to the solution of current world problems is of special interest.


Stephen A. Hayes is the great-great-grandson of Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th president of the United States. Mr. Hayes grew up in Washington, D.C. and spent his summers and holidays at Spiegel Grove, President Hayes’ home in Fremont, OH, with his parents and three brothers.

Mr. Hayes is the vice chairman of DHR International, a Big 5 executive search firm. He is also president of the Board of Trustees of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library. He and his family live in Washington, D.C.


Professor Hoogenboom is the author of Rutherford B. Hayes: Warrior and President (University Press of Kansas, 1995). He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and is retired from the department of history at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. He is also the author of The Presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes, Rutherford B. Hayes: One of the Good Colonels, and Outlawing the Spoils: The History of the Civil Service Reform Movement, 1865-1883; and co-authored with his wife, Olive, A History of the ICC. Professor Hoogenboom most recently edited the Gilded Age volume of Facts on File’s Encyclopedia of American History.


Alexander P. Lamis is associate professor of political science at Case Western Reserve University. In 1994 he edited Ohio Politics (Kent State University Press), a comprehensive survey of the state’s post-World War II politics with chapters written by Ohio journalists and political scientists. A revised and expanded edition of Ohio Politics is forthcoming in 2005. Dr. Lamis is author of The Two-Party South, 2nd expanded edition (Oxford University Press, 1990) and editor of Southern Politics in the 1990s (Louisiana University Press, 1999). He teaches courses on elections, public opinion, and the American presidency.


Mr. Larkin is the editorial page director of the Plain Dealer.


Scott A. McKinley, a descendant of President McKinley’s brother David, was born in Ashland, Ohio. He received degrees from Capital University and The Ohio State University and is Director of Logistics for the Sygma Network Inc. Scott attends Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbus and is involved with community outreach ministries. His political experience includes serving on the Clintonville Area Commission, as an Ohio Senate aide, and as a volunteer for Governor Taft’s gubernatorial campaigns.


Professor Morgan is the author of William McKinley and His America (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, Second Edition, 2003). He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of California-Los Angeles in 1960. He first published his award-winning biography of William McKinley in 1963. He has written 11 books and edited nine others. He is considered one of the history profession’s foremost experts on the late 19th-Century United States. Professor Morgan is also the author of From Hayes to McKinley: National Party Politics, 1877-1876 (Syracuse, New York, 1969). Professor Morgan is retired from the History Department of the University of Oklahoma.


Dr. Peskin is the author of several books, including Garfield (Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 1978; revised and illustrated edition, 1998); and Winfield Scott and the Profession of Arms (Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 2003). He is also the author of many articles, including “Mother of What Sort of Presidents? The Shifting Reputation of Presidents from Ohio.” Dr. Peskin received his Ph.D. in history from Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University) in 1965. He is a professor emeritus at Cleveland State University and a frequent speaker and lecturer on James A. Garfield.


Mr. Robenalt is the author of Linking Rings: William W. Durbin and the Magic and Mystery of America (Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 2004). His book explores Ohio politics from the campaign of 1896 between William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan through the 1912 campaign among Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, Theodore Roosevelt and Eugene V. Debs, the 1920 campaign between Ohioans James Cox and Warren G. Harding, and the 1932 election of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The subject of Mr. Robenalt’s biography, William W. Durbin, was a leading Ohio Democrat from the time of Bryan through the New Deal. Mr. Robenalt is a partner in the Cleveland law firm of Thompson Hine LLP.


Jim Ruvolo, the long-time chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party and former senior advisor for both the Clinton and Gore campaigns in Ohio, is currently state chairman for John Kerry’s campaign. He lives in Toledo, Ohio.


Dr. Simpson received his Ph.D. in 1989 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He teaches in the department of history, Arizona State University. His primary area of expertise is 19th century American political and military history, especially the Civil War and Reconstruction Era, and the American presidency. His books include studies of Ulysses S. Grant, Henry Adams, and Reconstruction policy and politics, as well as several documentary editions and shorter works. His publications include: Let Us Have Peace: Ulysses S. Grant and the Politics of War and Reconstruction (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991); Ulysses S. Grant: Triumph Over Adversity, 1822-1865 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000); and The Reconstruction Presidents (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1998).


Rick Taft is a great-grandson of William Howard Taft. His grandfather was Charles Taft, a long-time councilman in Cincinnati, and Rick's father is Seth Taft, who served two terms as a Cuyahoga County Commissioner. Rick attended college and law school at Yale and is a partner in the Cleveland firm of Spieth, Bell, McCurdy and Newell. He is active in the City Club of Cleveland, an author of varied works, a member of Pepper Pike City Council and the founder and president of a company that has developed and sells an inquiry-structuring software program known as Ideaspace®.


About Case Western Reserve University

Case is among the nation's leading research institutions. Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, Case is distinguished by its strengths in education, research, service, and experiential learning. Located in Cleveland, Case offers nationally recognized programs in the Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work.