The Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States by the Best American and European Writers was an encyclopedia edited by John J. Lalor, first published in New York in 1881. The 1899 edition of the work is published online by the Library of Economics and Liberty. It is now in the public domain.
There are several biographies of American Presidents. They are worth taking a look at and comparing with more recent works.
Here is the biography of Rutherford B. Hayes:
HAYES, Rutherford Birchard, president of the United States 1877-81, was born at Delaware, Ohio, Oct. 4, 1822. He was graduated at Kenyon college, in 1842, and was admitted to the bar in 1846. In June, 1861, be entered the army, and there reached the grade of brevet major general. He was a republican congressman 1865-7, and governor of Ohio 1868-70. In 1875 he was again chosen governor, having thus overthrown the "Ohio idea" of paying in paper money that part of the national debt not specifically payable in coin (see OHIO), and the general attention which was attracted by the importance of the contest, and his hardly expected success, gave him the republican nomination for the presidency in 1876. (See DISPUTED ELECTIONS, IV.; ELECTORAL COMMISSION.)
—The peculiar circumstances attending his election, and his immediate withdrawal of military support from the reconstructed governments of South Carolina and Louisiana (see INSURRECTION, II.), left his administration without any very cordial support in congress; and his embarrassment was increased by the sudden rise to the surface of financial questions, on which neither party was ready to finally commit itself. Many administration measures were lost, or carried by democratic votes; the veto of the Bland silver bill, making the depreciated silver dollar a legal tender and directing its continued coinage, was overridden by heavy majorities, Feb. 28, 1878; and it was not until the extra session of 1879 (see RIDERS) that President Hayes found himself fairly supported by his own party's representatives in congress. Nevertheless, his administration was of incalculable advantage to the country, not only as a breathing spell from the almost intolerable violence of party contest, but also in its economic successes. For the final subsidence of the popular wave which for a moment seemed to threaten repudiation in its meaner forms, for the successful refunding of the public debt, for the enormous reductions in the rate and amount of the annual interest paid upon it, almost the entire credit is due to this administration; and the general want of exciting incident, which is sometimes adduced as a proof of its incompetency, is really the strongest proof of its competency and success. Even in the lower aspect of party success the result is the same. During this administration the party held its own for four years, for the first time since the close of the rebellion. From 1868 until 1876, in particular, it had been slowly but surely losing its hold on various states, and the loss was only hastened by the increased vigor of the measures taken to stop it. If the election of 1872 had not been darkened by democratic refusals to vote for Greeley, it would be evident that the republican party had entered every election since 1868 in worse condition than at the preceding election. In 1880, for the first time since 1868, the steady line of loss had been checked, and there was even a slight gain.
—See Howell's Life of Hayes; Howard's Life of Hayes.