Harry Micajah Daugherty was born in Washington Court House, Ohio, on January 26, 1860, attended the public schools there, then received his college education at the University of Michigan and graduated from the law department in 1881. He practiced law in Washington Court House until 1893, when he moved to Columbus, Ohio. He served as a member of the Ohio General Assembly from 1890 to 1894. In 1902 he organized the law firm of Daugherty, Todd & Rarey, of which he was senior member until he severed his connection upon being appointed Attorney General of the United States on March 4, 1921. Daugherty served under Presidents Harding and Coolidge until March 28, 1924, when he resigned. He was acquitted of charges to defraud the United States Government in the Teapot Dome Scandal. With Thomas Dixon, he was author of The Inside Story of the Harding Tragedy (1932). He died on October 12, 1941, in Columbus, Ohio.
A committee in the Department of Justice selected the artist since Mr. Daugherty declined to name one. Mr. Bodholdt was an attorney in the Lands Division of the Department of Justice at the time the portrait was painted.