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Kingsley A. Taft Map Room

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The Kingsley A. Taft Map Room features a well-preserved collection of 16 original, historically significant maps donated by Sheldon A. Taft, son of the late Chief Justice.

The maps, which date back to the mid-17th century, reflect the evolution of the mapping of the area that became the northeastern part of the United States, including Ohio.

The collection is the product of nearly 25 years of research on the part of Sheldon Taft, who assembled the maps from a variety of sources, including historical map stores in New York and London, house sales and in one case, a street vendor in Venice.

The Kingsley A. Taft Map Room is not a part of the self-guided tour of the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center, but it may be viewed by appointment. For more information call 614.387.9000.

Image showing a painted portrait of a man wearing a grey suit, bow tie and black judicial robe.
Kingsley A. Taft, 1903-1970

Kingsley A. Taft was a member of the Cleveland Taft family, which is distantly related to the Cincinnati Taft family. The two lines are connected through a common ancestor who lived in Massachusetts more than 300 years ago.

Kingsley Taft had a prolific political career that included election to the Shaker Heights Board of Education, the Ohio House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The capstone of his career was the more than 22 years he sat on the Supreme Court of Ohio. Taft's service with the Supreme Court began with his election to the Court in 1948. He was re-elected in 1954 and 1960. He was elected Chief Justice in 1962 and re-elected in 1968. He served until his sudden death at age 66 in 1970.

A portrait of the distinguished Chief Justice Taft, commissioned for the Court after his death, hangs on the south wall of the Kingsley A. Taft Map Room. The portrait was painted by Cleveland artist Nancy Bunch Sheridan, who later was commissioned for several other portraits of Justices on display in the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center.

The artist created the portrait using photographs of Taft that had been taken shortly before his death by the Toledo Blade to accompany an article about Taft and the Court.

The collection of maps found in the Kingsley A. Taft Map Room was donated to the Supreme Court of Ohio by Sheldon A. Taft, son of the late Kingsley A. Taft.

Sheldon A. Taft is a friend of the late Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer and a retired attorney who was a partner of the Columbus-based law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease, where he specialized in the areas of public utilities and energy law. He is a graduate of Amherst College and the Harvard Law School. Sheldon Taft was actively involved in his father’s campaigns for Justice and Chief Justice of the Court and also made a run for the Court himself in 1974.

The map collection was a fixture in Sheldon Taft’s office at the Vorys firm until 2002 when he retired. He offered the maps to the Ohio Historical Society for safe housing until they were installed at the Supreme Court of Ohio in November 2005.

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