King of the Lobby: The Life and Times of Sam Ward, Man-About-Washington in the Gilded Age
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King of the Lobby: The Life and Times of Sam Ward, Man-About-Washington in the Gilded Age

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by Kathryn Allamong Jacob
     
 

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King of the Lobby tells the story of how one man harnessed delicious food, fine wine, and good conversation to the task of becoming the most influential lobbyist of the Gilded Age.

Sam Ward was a colorful character. Scion of an old and honorable family, best friend of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and charming man-about-Washington, Ward held his own in an

Overview

King of the Lobby tells the story of how one man harnessed delicious food, fine wine, and good conversation to the task of becoming the most influential lobbyist of the Gilded Age.

Sam Ward was a colorful character. Scion of an old and honorable family, best friend of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and charming man-about-Washington, Ward held his own in an era crowded with larger-than-life personalities. Living by the motto that the shortest route between a pending bill and a congressman’s "aye" was through his stomach, Ward elegantly entertained political elites in return for their votes.

At a time when waves of scandal washed over Washington, the popular press railed against the wickedness of the lobby, and self-righteous politicians predicted that special interests would cause the downfall of democratic government, Sam Ward still reigned supreme. By the early 1870s, he had earned the title "King of the Lobby" and jokingly referred to himself as "Rex Vestiari." Ward cultivated a style of lobbying that survives today in the form of expensive golf outings, extravagant dinners, and luxurious vacations.

Kathryn Allamong Jacob's engaging account shows how the "king" earned his crown through cookery and conversation and how this son of wealth and privilege helped to create a questionable profession in a city that then, as now, rested on power and influence.

Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal - Fergus M. Bordewich
Jacob's trim and surprising biography of Sam Ward... will not change most people's view of what is essentially a hustler's profession. But she brilliantly shows how, in the hands of a master, lobbying can be lifted to the level of art.

Washingtonian - Drew Bratcher
In the delectable biography, King of the Lobby, Kathryn Allamong Jacob serves up the life and times of this protean character.

Roll Call - Matthew Murray
Jacob details how a swashbuckling scion of a wealthy New York familysettled into his lobbying career in Washington, D.C....and producespage-turning tales of ethically challenged reporters... [and] a new breedof lobbyist in Reconstruction-era Washington: the 'lobbyess.'

blogcritics.org - Marty Dodge
Despite the fairly short length of the book the author sticks as much into the pages as possible. There is no long-winded verbiage in this book. It's a quick read but one that leaves you fulfilled and enlightened.

Washington Post - Jonathan Yardley
Now virtually forgotten, [Sam Ward] was an immensely able, influential and engaging character who has been rescued from obscurity by Kathryn Allamong Jacob.

Washington Times - John M. Taylor
A splendid biography... of an American original.

Weekly Standard - Kevin R. Kosar
In this deft and diverting volume, Kathryn Jacob shows that lobbyists may do good by encouraging elected officials to set aside their differences and work together.

Journal of American History - Peter H. Argersinger
Considerable achievement.

Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era - Gaines M. Foster
King of the Lobby offers not only an engaging portrait of an important lobbyist, but also provides a helpful introduction to lobbying in the Gilded Age.

Winesworld's Magazine - Hrayr Berberoglu
While reading this excellent book the reader learns fascinating nuggets about lobbying and how it evolved over time until today.

Washington Post

Now virtually forgotten, [Sam Ward] was an immensely able, influential and engaging character who has been rescued from obscurity by Kathryn Allamong Jacob.

— Jonathan Yardley

Wall Street Journal

Jacob's trim and surprising biography of Sam Ward... will not change most people's view of what is essentially a hustler's profession. But she brilliantly shows how, in the hands of a master, lobbying can be lifted to the level of art.

— Fergus M. Bordewich

Washington Times

A splendid biography... of an American original.

— John M. Taylor

Weekly Standard

In this deft and diverting volume, Kathryn Jacob shows that lobbyists may do good by encouraging elected officials to set aside their differences and work together.

— Kevin R. Kosar

Roll Call

Jacob details how a swashbuckling scion of a wealthy New York familysettled into his lobbying career in Washington, D.C....and producespage-turning tales of ethically challenged reporters... [and] a new breedof lobbyist in Reconstruction-era Washington: the 'lobbyess.'

— Matthew Murray

Washingtonian

In the delectable biography, King of the Lobby, Kathryn Allamong Jacob serves up the life and times of this protean character.

— Drew Bratcher

blogcritics.org

Despite the fairly short length of the book the author sticks as much into the pages as possible. There is no long-winded verbiage in this book. It's a quick read but one that leaves you fulfilled and enlightened.

— Marty Dodge

Journal of American History
Considerable achievement.

— Peter H. Argersinger

Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
King of the Lobby offers not only an engaging portrait of an important lobbyist, but also provides a helpful introduction to lobbying in the Gilded Age.

— Gaines M. Foster

Winesworld's Magazine
While reading this excellent book the reader learns fascinating nuggets about lobbying and how it evolved over time until today.

— Hrayr Berberoglu

Jonathan Yardley
…virtually forgotten, [Sam Ward] was an immensely able, influential and engaging character who has been rescued from obscurity by Kathryn Allamong Jacob…[the] book is something of a labor of love, for she has fallen under the spell of Ward's charm and has written an affectionate portrait of a remarkable man whose life contained enough incident to shame the more conventional among us.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Washington of the 1850s to 1880s, mirroring America's transition to an industrialized, expanding society, was characterized by greed, corruption and social upheaval as political factions vied for office and influence. Cultural historian Jacob (Capital Elites: High Society in Washington, D.C., after the Civil War) captures this tangle of forces, events and people in her short biography of Sam Ward, scion of a New York banking family, '49er, spendthrift and lobbyist. Ward earned the title “King of the Lobby” by applying savoir faire, gastronomy and a genius for social combinations to the hitherto crude process of influencing votes in Congress. He represented insurance, telegraph and steamship companies as well as banking, mining and railroad interests, among others. As with other lobbyists, Ward offered access and technical expertise, but “[he] was in the vanguard of the social lobby....” Using Ward's own words allows Jacob to illuminate his vivid personality. Her extensive research is reflected in her recounting of Ward's life, successfully putting it into the context of the history of lobbying. Jacob's focused narrative will appeal to American history buffs. 20 b&w photos. (Jan.)\
Library Journal
Jacob (curator of manuscripts, Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Inst., Harvard; Testament to Union) builds on her expertise on 19th-century Washington, DC, with this annotated biography of premier professional petitioner of Congress Sam Ward (1814–84). After the Civil War, an overburdened Congress was especially susceptible to hired advocates, and Ward was a master. Jacob enthralls readers with anecdotes of Ward beguiling a skeptical press and demonstrating persuasiveness to members of Congress through such means as sumptuous feasts and elaborate gifts. She uses archival sources, including hitherto unpublished stories and images from Ward's descendants, rounding out her story with secondary sources on the social, political, and even culinary contexts for Washington's upper crust. This life of the wealthy and well-connected poet, linguist, go-between, devotee of food and fashion, and all-around honest broker serves as a window into a culture some of whose practices arguably persist, with the word lobbyist now a part of our language. VERDICT This is a crisply written study, making excellent use of new sources and providing historical perspective through sprightly stories enlarging our understanding of the phenomenon of the lobbyist. Sure to please both serious researchers and general readers.—Frederick J. Augustyn Jr., Library of Congress

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801893971
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
11/17/2009
Edition description:
20
Pages:
212
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Michael McGerr

A wonderful book. The author explores a protean figure with much to tell us about the evolving nature of politics and government in the age of the Civil War. The author’s great accomplishment here is to make Sam Ward come alive.

Michael McGerr

A wonderful book. The author explores a protean figure with much to tell us about the evolving nature of politics and government in the age of the Civil War. The author’s great accomplishment here is to make Sam Ward come alive.

Michael McGerr, Indiana University

Meet the Author

Kathryn Allamong Jacob is curator of manuscripts at the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University. She is the author of Testament to Union: Civil War Monuments in Washington, D.C., also published by Johns Hopkins, and Capital Elites: High Society in Washington, D.C., after the Civil War.

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King of the Lobby: The Life and Times of Sam Ward, Man-about-Washington in the Gilded Age 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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