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Current Exhibitions

The Power of Image: Charles Evans Hughes in Prints, Photographs, and Drawings

Charles Evans Hughes Drawing
Charles Evans Hughes (1862-1948) was one of the most accomplished public figures of the 20th century, and today is best remembered as Chief Justice from 1930-1941. From the moment in 1905 when he entered public life as a New York State investigator "with the suddenness of an eruption," journalists and the public alike were fascinated by the image of this striking new figure. Not only was he seemingly incorruptible and gifted with legendary intellectual powers, but he had an iconic beard which cartoonists and the press loved, and who turned it into a "national landmark."

Charles Evans Hughes Portrait
This fascination with Hughes’ image followed him throughout his career. By the time he became Chief Justice his beard was pure white, which led to superlatives such as then-Solicitor General Robert H. Jackson's statement that "...he looks like God and talks like God." This exhibit traces Hughes’ public career through 22 photographs, prints and drawings from the Court's collection. Individually they explore facets of the public image, and collectively they demonstrate just how much that iconic image enchanted the photographers and cartoonists who depicted him.


SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES 1 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20543