The Governors portraits were painted to benefit the people of Ohio - telling "the story" of our great state. Over the years some of the
early Governors of Ohio were painted by various portrait artists in a hit or miss fashion, and some of these found their way into what was
then a motley collection of works housed at the Statehouse.
In 1867, Governor Rutherford B. Hayes decided to form a permanent and proper collection of Ohio Governor's portraits to hang in what was a
new Capitol building. His vision was to ensure that the history of Ohio and its leaders was not lost. Prior to 1867, only a few of the past
Governors had been painted. After collecting any graphical representations that were available from the past governors, Hayes set out to
complete the collection of those that were missing.
Prior to Ohio being admitted to the Union, Arthur St. Clair
served as the first Territorial Governor of the N.W. Territory, which Ohio was
carved. St. Clair served as the territory's governor until shortly prior to the end of the territorial form of government in 1802. Ohio became
the 17th state admitted to the Union on March 1, 1803.
From 1803-1954, each governor was elected to a two-year term. In 1954, a state constitutional amendment extended the governor's time in office
from a two-year term to a four-year term, although no governor could serve more than two successive terms. In 1992, another constitutional
amendment limited Ohio's governor to a total of two four-year terms.