You can see entries from his Presidency:
[March] 16. - Lucy left for her native town yesterday morn-ing. Mr. J. O. Moss, of Sandusky, furnished his private car on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. It was no doubt a merryride.
I found the White House lonely without them. Mr. Evartslunched with me. Fanny presided at the teapot. Scott filled upthe table! At dinner I had a pleasant company--Foster andwife from my district, and McKinley and wife, of Canton, Ohio.In the evening, enough to do. My afternoon ride was with Mr.Bryan, one of the District Commissioners appointed by me.
Am told several of the Indiana delegation are offended, ormade it a topic of remark, that Mr. [Albert G.] Porter was ap-pointed [United States Treasurer] without consulting them.They admit the appointment is capital in all respects; but, etc.,etc.
Mr. Vice-President [Wheeler] does not like Mr. Evarts. Hethinks Evarts is not frank to those who speak about appoint-ments. He does not say no, but by an equivocal, noncommittalway of talking allows them to hope. "When there is no hope,tell the man so. He will be disappointed at the time, but it [is]the best way." Mr. Wheeler is right. Prompt and square talkis in the long run safest and is just to the parties concerned. Imust also bear this in mind.
As soon as the Returning Board prosecutions in Louisianaare ended, and ended rightly, as I am confident they will be,I will hold conferences with judicious Members of Congress asto the best way of effecting reforms according to the Cincinnatiplatform. Write to D. B. Eaton to send in his report [on civilservice reform] and try to push forward the good work.You can see letters from his childhood:
[September 20, 1836].
DEAR UNCLE:- I arrived here Sunday. I write to get somemoney, as Mr. Chaplin says the Directors of the Seminaryhave determined that a single scholar shall not be taught but oneday without the tuition being advanced. I board at the sameplace I did before. I will have to pay $1.75 per week here.Mother and Fanny were well Friday when I left home.
You must excuse my bad writing as I cannot write any better and I have a poor pen. I am in a great hurry as I have to learn a long lesson. Give my love to Austin.
Your affectionate nephew,
RUTHERFORD B. HAYES.
You can also read about other major events - like the election of Cleveland (notice who Hayes was pulling for!):
CINCINNATI, November 5, 1884.
MY DARLING: -- It now seems probable that Blaine is defeated.With all the disappointment, one can see some compensations.It turns out, not as we hoped, but as we feared at the time ofthe nomination. The record of our candidate and factionalgriefs in New York lost that State. Look at Oneida County --the county of Conkling, where Gail Hamilton's letter (exposedin the Evening Post a short time ago) did such mischief. In-deed, her letters in the Tribune hurt more than the number ofvotes we lack in New York. I dread the turning back of thehands of the clock in the Southern business and in the reform ofthe civil service. I am glad Ohio has done so well. But, afterall, the march of events will go on. Our destiny does not de-pend on a single election, nor on any number of elections. Youwill see other sources of consolation.
Do not borrow trouble from what I said to you in our ridein the rain. We will be more and more loving, hopeful, andtrusting as life wears away. Ever so much happiness be yours--be ours -- and ours together.
As ever, "s' much,"
Later!--It now looks as if Blaine would pull through.
So go browse through the writings of Hayes from age 12 to 70.