Miller Center

Bibliography — William H. Taft (1857 - 1930)

Historical Context Papers / Memoirs Biographies
Administration Major Issues Elections
Contemporaries Recent Publications Bibliographies

William H. Taft

Historical Context

Milkis, Sidney M. and Jerome M. Mileur, eds. Progressivism and the New Democracy. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999.

Collection of essays on the Progressive period.

Chambers, John Whiteclay. The Tyranny of Change: America in the Progressive Era, (1890-1920). 2d ed. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2000.

Hofstadter, Richard. The Age of Reform: From Bryan to FDR. New York: Knopf, 1955.

"Classic" history of the Progressive period; awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1956.

Gould, Lewis L. Reform and Regulation: American Politics from Roosevelt to Wilson. 3d ed. Prospect Heights, Ill.: Waveland Press, 1996.

Kennan, George Frost. American Diplomacy, 1900-1950. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951.

Includes eight lectures Kennan gave at the University of Chicago in 1950. Covers American diplomacy from the Spanish-American War through the Second World War.

Rodgers, Daniel T. Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998.

Comparative history of the United States and Europe and how their relationship developed during and after the Progressive Era.

Taft Primary Sources

Taft, William Howard. The Collected Works of William Howard Taft. 8 vols. Edited by David H. Burton. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2001-.

To date, 6 of a projected 8 volumes have been published. When complete, the collection will include all of Taft’s published works as well as his presidential and state addresses and selected court opinions from his time as chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Taft, William Howard. World Peace: A Written Debate between William Howard Taft and William Jennings Bryan. New York: G. H. Doran Co., 1917.

Addresses the question of world peace, a significant issue in the years following Taft’s Presidency.

Taft, William H. Taft Papers on League of Nations. Edited by Theodore Marburg and Horace E. Flack. New York: Macmillan, 1920.

Taft Biographies

Pringle, Henry F. The Life and Times of William Howard Taft. 2 vols. New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1939.

Considered the standard biography of Taft.

Anderson, Judith Icke. William Howard Taft: An Intimate History. New York: Norton, 1981.

A more recent and more personal look at Taft’s life.


Coletta, Paolo E. The Presidency of William Howard Taft. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1973.

From the American Presidency Series, a series dedicated to providing a consistent, scholarly treatment of each president. Coverage is limited to the years in office.

Anderson, Donald F. William Howard Taft: A Conservative’s Conception of the Presidency. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1973.

Originally published in 1968, Anderson’s work is the first to make extensive use of Taft’s personal papers (made available in 1960).


Hicks, Frederick C. William Howard Taft: Yale Professor of Law and New Haven Citizen. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1945.

Mason, Alpheus Thomas. William Howard Taft: Chief Justice. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965.

Taft Administration

Philander C. Knox (Secretary of State) Knox, Philander. Speeches Incident to the Visit of Philander Chase Knox, Secretary of State of the United States of America, to the Countries of the Caribbean. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1913.

Eitler, A.T. Philander Chase Knox: First Attorney General of Theodore Roosevelt, 1901-1904. Washington: Catholic University Press, 1959.

Limited to Knox’s years in the Roosevelt administration.

Henry L. Stimson (Secretary of War)

Schmitz, David F. Henry L. Stimson: The First Wise Man. Wilmington, Del.: SR Books, 2001.

Current, Richard Nelson. Secretary Stimson: A Study in Statecraft. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1970.

George von Lenerke Meyer (Secretary of the Navy)

Howe, M.A. DeWolfe. George von Lengerke Meyer: His Life and Public Services. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1920.

Wiegand, Wayne A. Patrician in the Progressive Era: Biography of George von Lengerke Meyer. New York: Garland Publishing, 1988.

Richard A. Ballinger (Secretary of the Interior)

Please see the "Conservation" section under "Major Issues" for works on or related to Ballinger.

Walter L. Fisher (Secretary of the Interior) Gould, Alan Brant. "Secretary of the Interior Walter L. Ficher and the Return to Constructive Conservation: Problems and Policies of the Conservation Movement, 1909-1913." Ph.D. diss., West Virginia University, 1969.

Major Issues in the Taft Administration

Foreign Affairs

United States Department of State. Foreign Relations of the United States. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1861-.

The Foreign Relations of the Unites States series has provided the documentary record of U.S. foreign policy and diplomatic activity since the State Department began publication in 1861. The Taft Presidency is covered in four volumes (1909-1912).

Scholes, Walter V. and Marie V. Scholes. The Foreign Policies of the Taft Administration. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1970.

Only book devoted entirely to the topic.

Minger, Ralph Eldin. William Howard Taft and United States Foreign Policy: The Apprenticeship Years, 1900-1908. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1975.

Canadian-American Relations

Ellis, L. Ethan. Reciprocity, 1911: A Study in Canadian-American Relations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1939.

Discusses the subject of tariffs in both the United States and Canada.

Relations with Asia

Vevier, Charles. The United States and China, 1906-1913. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1955.

Critical of Taft’s dealings with China.

Roebuck, James Randolph. The United States and East Asia, 1909-1913: A Study of the Far Eastern Diplomacy of William Howard Taft. Ph.D. diss., University of Virginia, 1977.

Relations with Latin America

Haley, P. Edward. Revolution and Intervention: The Diplomacy of Taft and Wilson with Mexico, 1910-1917. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1970.


Hays, Samuel P. Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency: The Progressive Conservation Movement, 1890-1920. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1959.

Richardson, Elmo R. The Politics of Conservation: Crusades and Controversies, 1897-1913. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1962.

Taft, William Howard. President Taft on Conservation. Reprint from The Columbian Magazine, v.3, no.2, November 1910.

Penick, James L. Progressive Politics and Conservation: The Ballinger-Pinchot Affair. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968.

Politics and Political Parties

Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr., ed. History of U.S. Political Parties. 5 vols. New York: Chelsea House, 2002.

Manners, William. TR and Will: A Friendship that Split the Republican Party. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1969.

Wilensky, Norman M. Conservatives in the Progressive Era. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1965.

Hechler, Kenneth S. Insurgency: Personalities and Politics of the Taft Era. New York: Columbia University Press, 1940.

Considered one of the best studies of the insurgency movement under Taft.

Gable, John A. The Bull Moose Years: Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Party. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1978.


Burdick, Francis Allen. Businessmen in Politics: The Case of the Election of 1912. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1972.

Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr., ed. History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-1968. 4 vols. New York: Chelsea House, 1971.

Taft Contemporaries

Albert J. Beveridge (Senator; Leading Progressive)

Bowers, Claude. Beveridge and the Progressive Era. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1932.

Covers Beveridge’s reactions to Taft’s policies and the Tariff Commission.

William Jennings Bryan (Politician)

Coletta, Paolo E. William Jennings Bryan. 3 vols. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1964-1969.

The definitive Bryan biography.

Archie Butt (Military Aide)

Butt, Archibald. Taft and Roosevelt: The Intimate Letters of Archie Butt, Military Aide. 2 vols. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran, 1930.

Served both Roosevelt and Taft; caught in the middle when their relationship turned negative.

Andrew Carnegie (Manufacturer; Publicist)

Swetnam, George. Andrew Carnegie. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1980.

Champ Clark (Speaker of the House)

Clark, Champ. My Quarter Century of American Politics. 2 vols. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1921.

Covers Taft and the tariff reciprocity issue.

Josephus Daniels (Diplomat)

Daniels, Josephus. The Cabinet Diaries of Josephus Daniels. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1963.

Morrison, Joseph L. Josephus Daniels: The Small-d Democrat. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1966.

John Hays Hammond (Engineer; active in Taft’s 1908 campaign)

Hammond, John Hays. The Autobiography of John Hays Hammond. 2 vols. New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1935.

Robert La Follette (Governor; U.S. Senator)

La Follette, Robert M. La Follette’s Autobiography: A Personal Narrative of Political Experiences. Madison: La Follette Publishing Co., 1913.

La Follette, Bella Case and Fola La Follette. Robert M. La Follette, June 14, 1885-June 18, 1924. 2 vols. New York: Macmillan Co., 1953.

Both books show La Follette’s opposition to Taft and La Follette’s role in the creation on the Progressive organization.

George Perkins (Governor; U.S. Senator)

Garraty, John A. Right-Hand Man: The Life of George Perkins. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960.

Whitelaw Reid (Ambassador)

Cortissoz, Royal. The Life of Whitelaw Reid. New York: Scribner’s, 1921.

Sir Cecil Spring Rice (British Ambassador)

Rice, Cecil Spring. The Letters and Friendships of Sir Cecil SPring Rice. 2 vols. Edited by Stephen Gwynn. London: Constable, 1929. Theodore Roosevelt (26th President of the United States)

Roosevelt, Theodore. The Works of Theodore Roosevelt. Memorial ed. 24 vols. Edited by Hermann Hagedorn. New York: Scribner’s, 1926.

Contains all of his published works, and selected messages and papers.

Roosevelt, Theodore. The Works of Theodore Roosevelt. National ed. 20 vols. Edited by Hermann Hagedorn. New York: Scribner’s, 1926.

Condensed version of the Memorial edition; contains the president’s annual messages and major speeches.

Roosevelt, Theodore. The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt. 8 vols. Edited by Elting Morison. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1951-1954.

Morris, Edmund. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, 1979. Morris, Edmund. Theodore Rex. New York: Random House, 2001.

First two volumes of a projected three volume "life" of Roosevelt. The first volume was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1979.

Harbaugh, William Henry. Power and Responsibility: The Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt. New York: Octagon Books, 1961.

Written for the general reader or college student interested in American history; contains a first-rate bibliography.

See online bibliography of Theodore Roosevelt for more information.

James E. Watson (Senator)

Watson, James E. As I Knew Them: Memories of James E. Watson, Former United States Senator from Indiana. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1936.

Recent Publications

Burton, David Henry. Taft, Wilson and World Order. Madison, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2003.

Renstrom, Peter G. The Taft Court: Justices, Rulings and Legacy. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2003.

Burton, David Henry. Taft, Holmes and the 1920s Court. Madison, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1998.


Coletta, Paolo E. William Howard Taft: A Bibliography. Westport: Meckler, 1989.