William Howard Taft III

See also: Taft family
William Howard Taft III
United States Ambassador to Ireland
In office
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded by Francis P. Matthews
Succeeded by Scott McLeod
Personal details
Born (1915-08-07)August 7, 1915
Died February 23, 1991(1991-02-23) (aged 75)
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Barbara Bradfield
Relations William Howard Taft (grandfather)
Children William Howard Taft IV
Parents Robert A. Taft
Martha Wheaton Bowers Taft
Alma mater Yale University
Princeton University
Profession Diplomat and professor

William Howard Taft III (August 7, 1915 — February 23, 1991), an American diplomat, was a grandson of President William Howard Taft and First Lady Helen Louise "Nellie" Taft who served as U.S. ambassador to Ireland from 1953 to 1957.[1]

Early life

William Howard Taft III was born on August 7, 1915 and was the eldest of four sons born to Robert Alphonso Taft (18891953) and Martha Wheaton Bowers (1889–1958),[2] daughter of Lloyd Wheaton Bowers (18591910), the former solicitor general of the United States from 1909–1910.[3]:127 His three brothers were:

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.[7] He graduated from Yale University and earned a doctorate from Princeton University.[8]


After graduating from Princeton, he 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.[8]

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.[8]

Ambassador to Ireland

In 1953, President Eisenhower appointed him 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.[8]

Personal life

Taft married Barbara Bradfield, with whom he had four children:[8]

Taft was a member of the Metropolitan Club of Washington, D.C. Taft died of prostate cancer at his home in Washington, D.C. on February 23, 1991.[8]


  1. http://dublin.usembassy.gov/index/embassy-news/ambassador/former-ambassadors.html
  2. "Myrootsplace". myrootsplace.com.
  3. The twelfth general catalogue of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity. 1917. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
  4. "Myrootsplace". myrootsplace.com.
  5. "Lloyd B. Taft Obituary". The New York Times. October 23, 1985. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
  6. Adair, Robert K.; Sandweiss, Jack; Pless, Irwin A. (August 1983). "Obituary: Horace Dwight Taft". Physics Today. 36 (8): 77. doi:10.1063/1.2915814.
  7. Gould 2014, pp. 5–12.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "W. H. Taft 3d, 75, Ex-Envoy to Ireland And Son of Senator". The New York Times. 26 February 1991. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  9. http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/taft.html
  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.


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