INDIANAPOLIS—Just in time for Presidents Day, a new book tells the story of the only president elected from the Hoosier State. On February 18, the Indiana Historical Society (IHS) Press will launch the 13th volume in its Youth Biography Series, Mr. President: A Life of Benjamin Harrison, by award-winning author and Indiana native Ray E. Boomhower.
With photo illustrations from both the IHS and the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site’s collections, Mr. President explores Harrison’s national political success, which seemed destined from birth. His father had been a two-term congressman from Ohio; his grandfather, William Henry Harrison, served as governor of the Indiana Territory and became the country’s ninth president; and his great-grandfather, Benjamin Harrison V, had been governor of Virginia and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Still, the young Harrison was determined to make his own way in life. He moved to Indianapolis to practice law and later answered a call from Indiana governor Oliver P. Morton to serve in the Union army. Although Harrison only served one term as president, he had some impressive achievements during his four years in the White House.
Harrison’s administration worked to preserve millions of acres of national forests, fought on behalf of African American voting rights, modernized the U.S. Navy, began the push to restrain large business trusts, and strengthened American trade with other countries in the Western Hemisphere.
After losing re-election, Harrison returned to Indiana. He remained active in the law and public speaking until his death from pneumonia on March 13, 1901, in his Indianapolis home, today open to the public as the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site.
About the Presidents Day Book Launch Event
IHS and the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site will celebrate Presidents Day with a series of events on Monday, Feb. 18. Site tours, at 1230 N. Delaware St. in Indianapolis, will take place from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with Boomhower signing copies of Mr. President from noon to 3:30 p.m. A separate evening reception will run from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.PresidentBenjaminHarrison.org. Mr. President can be purchased online at shop.indianahistory.org.
About the Author
Ray E. Boomhower is senior editor at the Indiana Historical Society Press, where he has edited IHS’s quarterly popular history magazine Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History since 1999. Boomhower is the author of numerous articles for Traces and the Indiana Magazine of History. He also has written biographies of many notable Hoosiers, such as Ernie Pyle, Gus Grissom, Lew Wallace, Juliet Strauss, May Wright Sewall, Jim Jontz and John Bartlow Martin.
About IHS Press’s Youth Biography Series
Since IHS Press’s Youth Biography Series began in 2005, it has examined the lives of a variety of impressive Hoosiers, including Indiana’s first saint Theodora Guérin, black sheriff Oatess Archey and World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle. Although written for readers in middle school and high school, the biographies will be enjoyed by readers of all ages. For more information about IHS’s Youth Biography Series or other IHS Press publications, call (317) 232-1882 or visit www.indianahistory.org.