(At Least) One New Fact About Each President (Part 2!)

Welcome back! In a weird turn of events, I finished this blog post right before my cooperating teacher told me that our students were going to do a Presidents’ Day research project. As you can imagine, this came in handy. I hope this comes in handy for you whenever you play trivia or just need a random fact.

Back to what you came for…

  1. Grover Cleveland 1893-1897
  • You already got a fact for him! Oh, all right… The candy Baby Ruth was named after his daughter, not the Great Bambino.
  1. William McKinley 1897-1901
  • Willie M. was the first president to ride in an automobile. He was also the first to ride in an automobile ambulance… he was shot by an assassin.
  1. Theodore Roosevelt 1901-1909
  • Roosevelt liked to box, but after becoming blind in one eye after a bout in 1908, he switched to jiu-jitsu.
  • Teddy is still the youngest president. He became president at the age of 42, beating the baby-faced Kennedy by one year.
  1. William Howard Taft 1909-1913
  • We all know the myth that Mr. Taft got stuck in the bathtub but did you know the special tub that was installed for Willie T. could fit 4 men?
  1. Woodrow Wilson 1913-1921
  • Woodrow is the only president buried in Washington D.C. (Taft and Kennedy don’t count because they are technically in Arlington, Virginia.)
  • He was the first president to visit Europe while still in office.
  1. Warren G. Harding 1921-1923
  1. Calvin Coolidge 1923-1929
  • (John) Calvin is the only president to be born on July 4th. He was also a red-head.
  • He was the first president to appear in a movie with sound. Kind of a big deal for a president with the nickname Silent Cal.
  1. Herbert Hoover 1929-1933
  • Hoover majored in geology. His work in mining took him to 40 different countries. He amassed $4 million dollars (in 1914 money) from his ventures.
  1. Franklin D. Roosevelt 1933-1945
  • FDR was the first sitting president to fly in a plane. He flew to Chicago in 1932.
  • Frankie was paralyzed from the waist down from polio. He was dependent on his wheelchair but he wanted to hide from the public eye. When the odd photographer did snap a picture of him in the wheelchair, FDR’s Secret Service would tear the film out of their camera.
  1. Harry S. Truman 1945-1953
  • Again, the S. does not stand for anything.
  • There is that famous photo of him holding the newspaper that misreported that his political opponent Thomas Dewey beat him out for president.
  1. Dwight D. Eisenhower 1953-1961
  • His actual name is David Dwight Eisenhower. His mother changed it shortly after birth to avoid confusion with his father.
  • Eisenhower loved to golf but when squirrels were digging up his putting greens, he wanted them shot. The rodents were not shot, but captured and released into a park by the groundskeepers.
  • He was the first president to ride in a helicopter in 1957.
  1. John F. Kennedy 1961-1963
  • This is my family’s favorite president to learn about and discuss.
  • Jack was initially disqualified from the Navy and Army due to health problems but Papa Kennedy (who was one of the most influential and richest men in the country at the time) had many connections and was able to get him in the Navy.
  • He was the commander of the PT-109 when it was sunk by Japanese forces. He swam 3.5 miles to an island dragging an injured crewmate by clenching a life jacket strap in his teeth. He did this for four hours. The injured and hungry crew then survived other swims before finally finding aid from the native Melanesian coastwatchers and were rescued after 7 days. He kept the coconut that he wrote a plea for help on. He kept it on his desk. See it here.
  • He was the first president to have been a Boy Scout.
  • He was the youngest elected JFK was 43 when he was elected president.
  1. Lyndon B. Johnson 1963-1969
  • Lyndon had some famous dogs. Him and Her were a pair of beagles. LBJ received backlash when he was photographed lifting Her up by his ears in 1964. The Johnsons would have 7 more beagles in the White House:
    • Edgar (a gift from the real J. Edgar Hoover)
    • Little Beagle Johnson (to keep up the theming of the LBJ initials of LBJ and Lady Bird)
    • Astro
    • Beagle
    • Honey
    • Little Chap
    • Dumpling
    • Bo
  • Yuki was one of LBJ’s favorite dogs. She was a stray dog found by his daughter, Luci, at a Texas gas station in 1966. She gifted Yuki to her father on his birthday, August 27th, 1967. Johnson and Yuki would frequently sing together. Listen here starting at 4:00.
  1. Richard M. Nixon 1969-1974
  • Nixon used the budding television scene to secure a win. He attributed his 1968 election win to his appearance on the hit variety show “Laugh-In”. He appeared just weeks before the polls opened. Sock it to me, I mean watch it here.
  • Richie could play the saxophone, clarinet, accordion, violon, and piano.
  1. Gerald R. Ford 1974-1977
  • How about that home state pride? Ford was born in Omaha, Nebraska and was originally named Leslie Lynch King Jr. on July 14th, 1913. However, his name was changed when his mother moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and remarried. Leslie was now Gerald R. Ford Jr., named after his stepfather.
  • He was never elected vice president or president; he was just appointed in these positions due to scandals (like Watergate).
  1. Jimmy Carter 1977-1981
  • The dude is still alive. He is currently 97 years old. He was born on October 1st, 1924 at exactly 7:00 a.m. apparently. He was the first president to have been born in a hospital.
  • He worked on nuclear-powered submarines before he had to give up his career to save the family peanut farmer. This is why, in some circles, he is known as Jimmy the Peanut.
  1. Ronald Reagan 1981-1989
  • His family nickname was Dutch because of the “Dutch Boy” haircuts he would get.
  • Regan was married to actress Jane Wyman and they became FBI informants to sniff out the “Commies” of Hollywood. They divorced in 1948 and Regan became the first divorcé to be president.
  • Ronnie had a film career that spanned 30 years before he became president.
  1. George Bush 1989-1993
  • Here you can watch a VHS tape starring HW with his wife, Barbara, and their famous dog, Millie telling kids not to do drugs via Bugs Bunny and friends (ALF, Garfield, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Winnie the Pooh, and more).
  • George was the captain of the Yale baseball team and even met Babe Ruth.
  • He was one of the youngest pilots in the Navy.
  1. Bill Clinton 1993-2001
  • Here is the famous moment he played his sax on the Arsenio Hall show. Much like Nixon, this launched into pop culture and boosted his image.
  • He is left-handed.
  • Despite having a famous cat named Socks, he is allergic to cat dander.
  1. George W. Bush 2001-2009
  • Georgie was a cheerleader at Yale. He also did rugby, so it evens out.
  • He is the only president to have twins. They are fraternal and they are named after their grandmothers, Jenna and Barbara.
  1. Barack Obama 2009-2017
  • He lived in Indonesia from the age of 6 to the age of 10 before moving to Hawaii to live with his grandparents. He can speak Indonesian.
  • Obama has a Grammy award. It’s for narrating his audiobook.
  1. Donald Trump 2017-2021
  1. Joe Biden 2021-

In case you missed part 1, you can find it here.

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