William Howard Taft Confesses He's "Struggling to Get into a New Trade… Fading Away into Obscurity"

April 6, 1913

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William Howard Taft Confesses He's "Struggling to Get into a New Trade… Fading Away into Obscurity"
Typed Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 1291

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      Background

      A mere month out of office, the new Yale University Kent professor of law – yearly salary $5,000 – confesses his struggle to “get into a new trade.”

      “I find myself embarrassed in the absence of my tools, my books, correspondence,” he writes, as he tries to “get down to the hard work of preparation as a teacher.” That is why he must turn down attending “Brother Washburn”’s Millbury Centennial and the Economic Club meeting in Worcester, as well as invitations to “make addresses on a great many interesting occasions.” Such invitations, he notes modestly - as befits a man who, as a sitting President standing for re-election, came in third - “will doubtless grow less as I fade away into obscurity”.


      Typed Letter Signed, 1 page, quarto, on his personal letterhead, New Haven, April 6, 1913. To Charles G. Washburn
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      WILLIAM H. TAFT
      NEW HAVEN, CONN.

      April 6, 1913.

      My dear Brother Washburn:

      I have your kind note of April 5th, but I am afraid that I can not attend either the Millbury Centennial or the Economic Club meeting in Worcester this year; and even if I should go to the Millbury Centennial, I should have to return here without attempting the three days' program in the vicinity.  I am struggling to get into a new trade, and I find myself embarrassed in the absence of my tools, my books, correspondence, etc.,[sic]and I dont [sic] know that I shall be fully settled before fall.  I am at a hotel and my books are in Washington.  I am invited to make addresses on a great many interesting occasions.  These invitations will doubtless grow less as I fade away into obscurity, but for the present I must deny myself the temptation and try to get down to the hard work of preparation as a teacher.  You will understand that, I am sure, and therefore will know that it is no failure to appreciate the honor of the invitation that leads me now to express regret to you.

      Sincerely yours

      WM H TAFT


      Hon. Charles G. Washburn,
      Worcester, Massachusetts.

      My warm regards to Mrs Washburn.

      CGW