Exhibit Introduction

Lithograph announcing Henry Clay as presidential candidate

Nathaniel Currier, Henry Clay nominated for Eleventh President of the United States, 1844. Color lithograph.

Henry Clay (1777-1852) was born in Virginia but established himself in Kentucky. He served as a Representative first, then a Senator for the majority of his life. He also served as Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Secretary of State under President John Quincy Adams. His greatest desire was to be President; despite running for the office on three occasions, he was never elected. He was known as "The Great Compromiser" and "The Great Pacificator," and along with Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun was grouped into "The Great Triumvirate." You can view images of Clay and his home, Lexington's Ashland estate, at ExploreUK.

The images featured here reflect various stages of Clay's life. An 1831 lithograph, for instance, depicts the Senator as a young man. Items from 1844 relate to the Presidential race which Clay narrowly lost to James K. Polk. Yet other items are from Clay's older years and his death. Particularly poignant are the daguerreotypes, of him in later years, and of his funeral procession in 1852.

Click on a link above or the arrow below to browse the images.

Exhibit Introduction