Presidents Day ?????

Today is Presidents Day.  I considered ignoring the ‘holiday’ because we currently have no president worth honouring, but then I realized that the holiday is to celebrate all our past presidents.  While I could bore you with the history of the day, you can go to  for a comprehensive history, so I decided to regale you with some presidential trivia instead.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to name a woman to his cabinet: Roosevelt appointed Frances Perkins as his secretary of labor in 1933. She was previously a social worker who worked in settlement houses in Chicago and Philadelphia. During her tenure at the department, she established the Labor Standards Bureau and was a principal architect of the Social Security Act.

Warren Harding had the largest shoe size: Size 14. His slippers and golf shoes are still on display at the Smithsonian.

Theodore Roosevelt wore a lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair during his inauguration: The lock of hair was contained in a ring that was gifted to Roosevelt by John Hay, who worked for Lincoln during his presidency. Roosevelt wore the ring at his second inauguration in 1905. A great admirer of his predecessor, Roosevelt had watched Lincoln’s funeral procession pass by his house in New York.

Gerald Ford was a fashion model in his youth (even appearing on the cover of Cosmopolitan): He was talked into the job by Phyllis Brown, a woman describes as his “first love.” They appeared together in a ski resort spread of Look magazine in 1940, as well as on the Cosmopolitan cover in 1942. Ultimately, however, she wanted to pursue modeling while he wanted to begin his career as a lawyer, which ended their relationship.

Four presidents have received the Nobel Peace Prize: Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama. Roosevelt was honored for his work on international peace, including on efforts to broker a peace treaty between Russia and Japan in 1905. Wilson was given the prize in 1919 for his work toward founding the League of Nations after World War I. Carter had already retired from the presidency but won the Nobel prize in 2002 because of his efforts on human rights resolving international conflicts. Mr. Obama was nominated for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said at the time.

George Washington owned a profitable whiskey distillery. Whiskey was one of Washington’s most important business ventures at Mount Vernon. At peak production in 1799, the distillery used five stills and a boiler and produced eleven thousand gallons of whiskey. With sales of $7,500 that year, it was perhaps the country’s largest distillery.

William Howard Taft became a Supreme Court Justice after his retirement. A graduate of Yale and Cincinnati Law School, Taft loved law but was unsure about politics. At the urging of his wife, Nellie, and mentor, Theodore Roosevelt, he reluctantly accepted his party’s nomination for the presidency, calling the presidential campaign “one of the most uncomfortable four months of my life.” After losing the 1912 election to Woodrow Wilson, Taft served as a professor of law at Yale and was later appointed by Warren Harding as chief justice of the United States, a pose he considered his greatest honor.

John Tyler had 15 children. Tyler was married twice. He had eight children with his first wife, Letitia. After she died, the 54-year-old president married the 24-year-old Julia Gardiner, with whom he had seven more children. Tyler wins the prize for being the most prolific of all American presidents.

Abraham Lincoln attended séances at the White House. Lincoln’s wife, Mary Lincoln, became interested in séances after their young son Willie died in 1862. At the White House, she engaged mediums, who conducted “spirit circles” or ceremonies during which those who attended could communicate with their loved ones who had crossed over into the next world. Mary was eager to believe in these mediums as it made her loss somewhat bearable, and she encouraged the president to attend a few séances, which he did. It is not clear if Lincoln participated to appease his wife or out of real interest and belief.

And a few really short tidbits …

George Washington’s false teeth were made from elephant and walrus tusks, gold, and ivory not wood.

John Adams was the first to live in the White House.

Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia.

James Madison was the shortest president at 5-foot-4 inches.

James Monroe was the last founding father to serve as president.

John Quincy Adams skinny dipped in the Potomac every morning.

Andrew Jackson had a pet parrot he taught to curse.

Martin Van Buren coined the word “OK.”

William Henry Harrison had a pet goat.

Franklin Pierce was arrested during his presidency for running over a woman with his horse.

James Buchanan was a bachelor and never married.

Abraham Lincoln is honored in the wrestling hall of fame.

Ulysses S. Grant was given a ticket for riding his horse too fast.

Rutherford B. Hayes was the first president to use a telephone and his number was 1.

James A. Garfield could write with both hands at the same time in different languages. (Pretty impressive when you consider that today’s prez cannot write in a single language with any hand!)

Chester A. Arthur owned 80 pairs of pants.

Grover Cleveland was the first and only to be married in the White House.

Benjamin Harrison never touched light switches because he was afraid he would be electrocuted.

Grover Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms. Making him the 22nd and 24th president.

William McKinley was the first president to have mass produced campaign buttons.

Theodore Roosevelt was shot while giving a speech and finished his speech with the bullet in his chest.

William H. Taft was the only former president to serve as chief justice on the Supreme Court and swore in presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover.

Woodrow Wilson is the only president to have a PhD.

Warren G. Harding gambled away a set of White House china.

Herbert Hoover spoke Chinese to his wife to keep their conversations private.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, were fifth cousins once removed.

Harry S. Truman does not have a middle name. His parents gave him the middle initial “S” as a tribute to his relatives whose names started with the letter S.

Dwight D. Eisenhower installed a putting green in the White House and played over 800 games of golf while in office.

John F. Kennedy was awarded a Purple Heart, which he received for his service in WWII.

Lyndon B. Johnson was a teacher before becoming president.

Richard Nixon partly funded his first political campaign with money he won playing poker while in the Navy.

Jimmy Carter filed a UFO sighting in 1973.

Ronald Reagan loved jelly beans and placed a standing order of 720 bags per month to be delivered to the White House and various federal buildings.

George H. W. Bush loves wearing colorful, patterned socks.

Bill Clinton is a two-time Grammy winner.

George W. Bush was the head cheerleader at his high school.

Barack Obama collects comic books.

And now you know enough about Presidents Day!  Oh … and don’t bother to check your mail today, for there is no mail delivery.Presidents Day

22 thoughts on “Presidents Day ?????

  1. Dear Jill,

    Thanks for all these interesting tidbits about our past presidents. Our current president will never win the Nobel Peace Prize and this reality kills him. But he will be known as the worst President ever, the only one where the FBI opened up a counter-intelligence investigation for his being a possible Russian asset; the one who had the record of law enforcement investigations against him; the one who was an habitual liar, etc., etc.

    Instead of a fuzzy Theodore Roosevelt Teddy Bear, there should be a voodoo doll to represent President Trump that we can just stick with lots of pins.

    Here are a couple more presidential tidbits.

    Who was the president who married his teacher? He was 19 years old when she taught his class. The answer is Millard Fillmore.

    Guess who had the horrible habit of just whipping out his thing where he would relieve himself in his office and with peoples present? The ans. is LBJ.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • For sure he will never win the Nobel Peace Prize, for he has set global peace back 50 or even 100 years! He has certainly brought us to the brink of a new Cold War. But you have given me a brilliant idea! We could make Trumpie voodoo dolls that look rather like kewpie dolls, only really ugly ones, sell them packaged with, say 10 sharp pins and let people take their frustrations out on them! I bet we could make a bundle! Thanks for the added trivia, for I didn’t know either of those, and my jaw dropped when I read the one about Johnson!!! Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very well done. I think even more highly of Washington after reading that he made big money selling whiskey!! (Seriously, I have read several biographies about him and never read that bit!!) Fun stuff. Happy President’s Day!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am chastised by reading your eloquent post on Presidents Day, especially after my comment regarding the day on of all things, today’s music post. You may come to regret the wisdom of your venture, for I am feeling the takeover of my mind and fingers by my propensity for loquacity. All of your presidential trivia is fascinating and enlightening concerning the many esteem worthy past holders of the office of president. I must, however, elaborate upon your trivia concerning my personal favorite…Theodore Roosevelt. This is not to say that the others are lesser men, just quite different than “Teedie” as he was called during childhood. Now, in the interest of brevity ( of which I have none), I could simply direct you to the marvelous “Theodore Roosevelt Trilogy” by Edmund Morris that began with “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” in 1979, followed by Theodore Rex in 2001 and completed by “Colonel Roosevelt” in Nov. 2010. Considering that the author was nearly 40 when this was started, it is an admirable accomplishment. But, I digress and must get on to my point…whatever it may be. As an ardent archtophilist, I find it of immense interest that Theodore was the inspiration for the original Teddy Bear back in 1902. This sprang from a political cartoon, you just have to love that, by Clifford K. Berryman in the Washington Post depicting Roosevelt showing compassion for a small bear cub by refusing to shoot it. The cartoon inspired Morris Michtom to create a tiny plush bear cub that he sent to Roosevelt, requested permission to use Roosevelt’s name, and went on to sell plush “Teddy Bears” in his candy store. Total aside, but this led Morris and his wife Rose to found The Ideal Novelty and Toy Company in 1907, not a small leap from that first bear! I could go on and entertain you with what I consider one of Theodore’s most historic post-presidency moments that occurred in 1918 as he was criticizing Woodrow Wilson’s handling of World War l, but I’ll save that for a future comment…should you be foolish enough to provide an opening to do so, say his birthday in October. I will close with two more wee bits of trivia about Teddy, he didn’t like being called by that name : 1) Becoming President following the assassination of William McKinley; former Vice President Roosevelt, at 42 years of age, was and remains the youngest president. 2) The bullet that you mentioned was received while campaigning in 1912, a bad idea for a different reason as it turned out, but he carried that bullet for the rest of his life. It was deemed safer to remain than to remove! Thank-you!

    Liked by 3 people

    • WOW!!! You really, really need to start a blog! You have so much to share with the world! First … I, too, am an arctophile, though I had never heard the word until your comment, which sent me to Google in search of an answer. And I happen to have gotten the most hug-gable new bear for Christmas … his name is Mel. And I must thank you for sharing all your valuable knowledge with us! Fascinating! I did not know most of it! And in return, I will not hold your earlier critique against you 😉 🐻

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill, neat facts. The saddest fact is William Henry Harrison had the shortest Presidency. The reason is his inaugural address was 2 hours long given in the rain. He caught pneumonia and died within a couple of months. But, what is interesting, even Harrison was rated above Trump in the opinion of 170 Presidential scholars.

    By the way, that last factoid would be a fun push back on a insufferable Trump syciphant. “OK, but help me understand why 170 Presidential scholars ranked Trump as dead last?” Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, I remember that about Harrison … and it is indeed telling when a man who was only in office 31 days is ranked as having been a better president than the current excuse. You’re right … that would have made a good final point! Wish I had thought of it!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose it depends on who does the ranking. I’m sure a deluded conservative organization would rank Trump as the #1 best all time Führer that ever lived, lol. 😉
      I suppose it’s safe to say that Trump is the most divisive and harmful US Prez, hopefully he wouldn’t drag us into another phony war for oil, like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan. Trump administration is trying very hard to oust Maduro and set up regime change in Venezuela (largest oil reserves in the world)! Trump is clearly doing the bidding of Big Oil, coal, deregulation & tax cuts for Corporate America, to hell with the little ppl. 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      • @ 1EarthUnited. I think we can safely say that tRump will only start wars when he can profit personally off them in some way including graft and grifting. That also includes helping wealthy corporation make tons of money off war if he thinks they will somehow share it with him. Hugs

        Liked by 2 people

        • Unfortunately it’s a well established playbook among US Presidents. Eisenhower warned of the “military-industrial complex” during his farewell address. It is in the best interest of every administration to keep the war game going so the military and it’s supporting corporations rake in billions every year. Presidents must be complicit so the US economy hums along at the expense of 3rd world nations getting bombed to hell. After their tenure, Presidents get paid off thru the phony “lecture circuit”. For his role in the promoting the Gulf war/ “weapons of mass destruction” to the gullible American public, GW Bush collected $15 Million in speech fees. Bush’s standard speaking fee is reportedly between $100,000 and $150,000, all of Bush’s speeches are closed to the press. VP Cheney’s Halliburton company procured goods & services during the gulf war to the tune of 100s of billions. Now that’s what I call the mother of all scams!
          I’m convinced that Trump is trying to outdo all his predecessors by instigating a regime change in Venezuela as a pretext to start war. If US can take over Venezuela’s oil fields and have US oil companies control the output, US can maintain the petrodollar racket for the forseeable future and postpone the inevitable debt default.
          Trump will cash out to the tune of billions thru his associations with Russian financial backers who desperately want a piece of the oil pie. It’s a proven “winning” formula for greedy politicians, of course it leaves us holding the bag.
          *Sigh* 😦

          Liked by 1 person

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