About The Governor Portraits

The governor 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.

On Mach 16, 1867 the Ohio General Assembly officially established the Ohio governor portrait collection in House Joint Resolution 130. The resolution stated the Ohio Secretary of State “is hereby required to ascertain and report to the General Assembly of the State of Ohio…wether [sic] the portraits of the Governors of Ohio can be procured…for the Governor’s office.” Ultimately, the governor’s portrait collection procurement process was headed by Governor Hayes's administration when Hayes took office in January of 1868.

Prior to Ohio being admitted to the Union, Arthur St. Clair served as the first Territorial Governor of the Northwest Territory. 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, State Issue 4, limited the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer of state, attorney general and auditor to two successive terms of four years.

Photo Credit: Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers, Delaware Ohio