Helen Taft Manning

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Helen Taft Manning
William Howard Taft with his daughter.jpg
Helen Taft with her father, US President William Howard Taft
Helen Herron Taft

(1891-08-01)August 1, 1891
DiedFebruary 21, 1987(1987-02-21) (aged 95)
Spouse(s)Frederick Johnson Manning (m. 1920-1966, his death)
Academic background
Alma materBryn Mawr College, Yale University
Academic work

Helen Herron Taft Manning (August 1, 1891 – February 21, 1987) was an American professor of history and college dean. She was the middle child and only daughter of U.S. President William Howard Taft and his wife Helen Herron.

Personal life[edit]

Like her older brother Robert and younger brother Charles, Helen Taft was a high achiever. She fulfilled goals that her mother had been denied by the social restrictions placed on women of her mother's time. She earned a scholarship to attend Bryn Mawr College, where she was a student when her father became President.

Her studies were interrupted for some time when her mother suffered a stroke, and was left an invalid. She moved into the White House with her family, and helped her mother to regain body movement and speech. She also served as official hostess for many White House functions while her mother was disabled. In December, 1910, she was given a debutante party at the White House.

After her mother recovered, she resumed her studies at Bryn Mawr, graduating in 1915 with a bachelor's degree in history. She was a suffragette, and traveled the country, giving speeches in support of the vote for women and women's rights.

On July 15, 1920, she married Yale history professor Frederick Johnson Manning (1894-1966), who then moved to Swarthmore College. The Mannings had two daughters:

  • Helen Taft Manning Hunter (October 5, 1921 – October 17, 2013)
  • Caroline Manning Cunningham (born January 18, 1925).

Helen died in 1987 at 95 of pneumonia.[1] She was the last surviving child of William Howard Taft.

Academic career[edit]

In 1917, aged only 26, Taft became dean of Bryn Mawr, and served as that college's acting president in 1919.

She then attended Yale University, where she earned a doctorate in history. Her research interests centered on the history of North America in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In 1925, she returned to Bryn Mawr as dean and professor of history. She served as dean until 1941, and taught history until she retired in 1957, having become head of the department. She continued to research and to publish during her retirement.

Select bibliography[edit]

  • British colonial government after the American Revolution, 1782-1820. (1933)
  • The revolt of French Canada, 1800-1835; a chapter in the history of the British Commonwealth. (1962)
  • E.G. Wakefield and the Beauharnois Canal. (1967)

See also[edit]


External links[edit]