Sculptor and art lecturer at the University of Chicago and Art Institute; wrote a history of sculpture in the United States. Taft was descended from the Massachusetts Tafts, who had arrived in American in 1675. His father, Don Carlos Taft (1827-1907), was professor of geology at the University of Illinois, (then known as Illinois Industrial University). Lorado Taft studied art informally by a faculty friend of the family. Taft graduated from the University in 1879, gained an M.A. the following year, and continued study in art at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Augustin A.