William Howard Taft III

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William Howard Taft III
Taft being sworn in as Ambassador to Ireland, 1953
United States Ambassador to Ireland
In office
May 13, 1953 – June 25, 1957
PresidentDwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded byFrancis P. Matthews
Succeeded byScott McLeod
Personal details
Born(1915-08-07)August 7, 1915
Bar Harbor, Maine, U.S.[1]
DiedFebruary 23, 1991(1991-02-23) (aged 75)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseBarbara Bradfield
RelationsWilliam Howard Taft (grandfather)
Children4, including William Howard Taft IV
Parent(s)Robert A. Taft
Martha Wheaton Bowers Taft
Alma materYale University (BA)
Princeton University (PhD)
ProfessionDiplomat and professor

William Howard Taft III (August 7, 1915 – February 23, 1991) was an American diplomat who served as United States Ambassador to Ireland from 1953 to 1957,[2] and was a grandson of President William Howard Taft and First Lady Helen Louise "Nellie" Taft.

Early life[edit]

William Howard Taft III was born on August 7, 1915, and was the eldest of four sons born to Robert A. Taft (1889–1953) and Martha Wheaton Bowers (1889–1958),[3] daughter of Lloyd Wheaton Bowers (1859–1910), the former solicitor general of the United States from 1909 to 1910.[4]: 127  His three brothers were: Robert Taft Jr. (1917–1993), who was elected to the U.S. Senate; Lloyd Bowers Taft (1923–1985),[5] who worked as an investment banker in Cincinnati,[6] and Horace Dwight Taft (1925–1983), who became a professor of physics and dean at Yale.[7] At the time of his birth, his grandfather had just ended his Presidency and had recently become the Kent Professor of Law and Legal History at Yale Law School.[8] Taft graduated from Yale University and earned a doctorate from Princeton University.[9]


After graduating from Princeton, Taft taught English at the University of Maryland and Haverford College. During World War II, Taft became an analyst in military intelligence. After the war ended, he went back to Yale and taught there.[9]

In 1949, he went to Dublin as part of the Marshall Plan aid mission and worked for the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Department from 1951 to 1953.[9]

Ambassador to Ireland[edit]

In 1953, President Eisenhower appointed Taft U.S. ambassador to Ireland. His task as ambassador was made easier by the fact that John A. Costello (Taoiseach, 1954–57) was a personal friend; Taft described Costello as "pleasant and unassuming" whereas he had found Éamon de Valera "formal and aloof". (His predecessor, George A. Garrett, had also found Costello more sympathetic than de Valera.) Taft played a considerable part in organizing Costello's successful state visit to the United States in March 1956.

In 1957, Eisenhower appointed R. W. Scott McLeod as his successor to the Ambassadorship and Taft returned to the State Department as a member of its policy planning staff. He remained with State until 1960, when he became Consul General in Mozambique. He retired from the State Department's bureau for scientific, environmental and space affairs in 1977.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Taft married Barbara Bradfield, with whom he had four children:[9]

  • John Thomas Taft
  • William Howard Taft IV (b. 1945), who married Julia Vadala (1942–2008)[10]
  • Maria Herron Taft, who married John Clemow, son of Albert George Clemow, in 1971.[11]
  • Martha Bowers Taft, who married Michael Golden, son of the British Michael Golden, in 1971.[12]

Taft was a member of the Metropolitan Club of Washington, D.C. He died of prostate cancer at his Washington home on February 23, 1991.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "HERE'S ANOTHER REPUBLICAN VOTER---HE IS FIRST GRANDCHILD OF EX-PRESIDENT TAFT". The Pittsburgh Press. October 13, 1915. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  2. ^ "William Howard Taft III (1915–1991)". history.state.gov. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  3. ^ "Myrootsplace". myrootsplace.com. Archived from the original on 2013-06-15.
  4. ^ Fraternity, Psi Upsilon (1917). The twelfth general catalogue of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
  5. ^ "Myrootsplace". myrootsplace.com. Archived from the original on 2013-06-15. Retrieved 2016-08-08.
  6. ^ "Lloyd B. Taft Obituary". The New York Times. October 23, 1985. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
  7. ^ Adair, Robert K.; Sandweiss, Jack; Pless, Irwin A. (August 1983). "Obituary: Horace Dwight Taft". Physics Today. 36 (8): 77. doi:10.1063/1.2915814.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Gould 2014, pp. 5–12.
  9. ^ a b c d e f "W. H. Taft 3d, 75, Ex-Envoy to Ireland And Son of Senator". The New York Times. 26 February 1991. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  10. ^ Lamb, Yvonne Shinhoster (19 March 2008). "Julia Taft; Crisis Manager Helped Resettle Refugees". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  11. ^ Times, Special To The New York (9 December 1971). "Maria Taft Wed to John Clemow". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  12. ^ Times, Special To The New York (21 September 1971). "Miss Martha B. Taft Is Bride Of Michael Golden in Scotland". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  • Gould, Lewis L. (2014). Chief Executive to Chief Justice:Taft Betwixt the White House and Supreme Court. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-2001-2.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by United States Ambassador to Ireland
Succeeded by