Thursday, February 12, 2015

Presidential Firsts and Other Fun Facts

Monday is President's Day. You know that holiday where we celebrate the collective birthday of all of our Presidents. Yeah, yeah, yeah...we all know how Barack Obama is our first black President, but there are many other Presidential "firsts" that came long before Obama.

Here are some fun facts and firsts from our other Presidents:

George Washington, our first President, is the only President unanimously elected. He also is the only president not affiliated with any political party.

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

Thomas Jefferson was the first President to shake hands with guests. Previously people bowed to Presidents.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1826. Not knowing that Thomas Jefferson has already passed John Adams was quoted as saying "Jefferson survives," when he whispered his last words.

James Madison was the shortest and lightest President at 5 feet, 4 inches and about 100 pounds. And he was the first to wear long pants rather than knee breeches.

John Quincy Adams was the first President to be photographed. He was also the first President to be the son of another President.

Martin Van Buren was the first U.S. President born in the United States. The Presidents preceding Van Buren were born in colonies that later became states. Van Buren was the first to be born after the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.

William Henry Harrison served the shortest presidency, dying just 32 days after he was elected. He delivered the longest inaugural address at 105 minutes. He did not wear an overcoat or hat and afterwards developed pneumonia and died in the White House exactly one month after giving his speech, on April 4.

Millard Fillmore installed the first bathtub and kitchen stove in the White House. He also installed the first library in the White House because there was no Bible available when he moved in.

Abraham Lincoln was the first President to wear a beard and the tallest president at 6’ 4". He was also the first president to die by assassination.

Andrew Johnson had no formal education. His wife taught him reading, writing and math.

Ulysses S. Grant was the first President to run against a woman candidate, Virginia Woodhull the nominee of the “Equal Rights Party” in 1872.

William Taft was the first to own a car. and, weighing in at 332 pounds, was our heaviest President. He got stuck in the White House bathtub the first time he used it and a larger one was ordered. And he owned the last "presidential cow".

Calvin Coolidge lighted the first national Christmas tree in 1923 on the White House lawn.

Warren Harding was the first President to speak over the radio.

Herbert Hoover was the first President born west of the Mississippi River.

Franklin Roosevelt was the first President whose mother was eligible to vote for him. He also served the longest as President, being elected to his 4th term before dying in office.

Harry S. Truman was the first President to give a speech on television and the first to travel underwater in a submarine.

John Kennedy is our youngest President when he was elected 43 years old. He was also the first Catholic President and the first to hold a televised press conference. Though Theodore Roosevelt was 42 when he assumed the office at the death of William McKinley, he was not elected to the presidency until 3 years later.

Lyndon B. Johnson is the only President to take the oath of office from a female official, Judge Sarah T. Hughes.

Richard Nixon is the only Presdent to resign from office.

Gerald Ford became Vice President and President without being elected to either office.

President Jimmy Carter is the first President who was born in a hospital.

George H.W. Bush is distantly related to Presidents Franklin Pierce, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Gerald Ford, Benedict Arnold, Marilyn Monroe, and Winston Churchill.

Barack Obama, our first black President, collects Spiderman and Conan the Barbarian comic books.

Any other Presidential trivia you want to add?

Oh, and just in case you have forgotten, Saturday is Valentine's Day. If you haven't gotten your cards, candy, bouquets of flowers, jewelry, or reservations at that romantic restaurant, you'd better hurry...


AndrewPrice said...

Bev, What a great list! Nicely done!

EricP said...

Yah, awesome list, Bev -- beauty, eh?

The Bush family also has familial ties to the Sons of Liberty in the Livingston family (unlike the tainted Arnold blood, not tainted). Hmmm, wonder if my distant cousin GW would take my calls? ;-)

BevfromNYC said...

EricP - Of all of our living Presidents, I bet GW probably WOULD take your call!

Tennessee Jed said...

David Rice Atchison - first to be president for a day

Cal Coolidge - first to be "born on th 4th of July" He ws a yankee Doodle Dandy, that one.

Wm. Taft - first (and only) president to become Chief Justice

Tennessee Jed said...

Obama was half black. I am told Clinton was actually the first.

Hillary Clinton - first female "copresident" of the United States.

AndrewPrice said...

Let's not forget that Carter was the first to see a UFO.

FDR was the first to hide his medical health from the public.

JFK stole an election.

Clinton redefined sex and the word "is" for us all.

BevfromNYC said...

"Obama was half black...."

That we know of...

"FDR was the first to hide his medical health from the public."
That we know of. And then there is the issue of hiding mental health. Didn't Nixon talk to the paintings late at night?

And James Buchanan was our only unmarried, confirmed bachelor President...and probably our first gay President. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

BevfromNYC said...

More on Buchanan -
He hated being President so much he refused to run for second term. And Upon the election of his successor, Abraham Lincoln, he sent him a note saying, "My dear sir, if you are as happy on entering the White House as I on leaving, you are a happy man indeed."

BevfromNYC said...

I wrote "Obama was half black...." That we know of...

That of course, makes no sense...what I meant to say was that Obama may or may not have been our first half-black President.

Anthony said...

That is a very interesting list. It's wild that Carter was the first president born in a hospital. Nowadays everyone is either born in hospitals or on the way to hospitals, unless their parents are hippies or survivalists.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, has anyone noticed that reporters are dropping like flies out there?

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - I was just thinking that this morning! it's been 3 in 3 days. Bob Simon (CBS/60 Minutes), Ned Colt of NBC, and David Carr (NYT media critic) who had just finished doing a panel discussion with Edward Snowden (via satellite)

I guess you could add Brian Williams, but then he only killed his career...

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I didn't even know about Ned Colt. I was thinking Simon, Carr and Williams' career.

Interesting how things like this continue to happen in threes isn't it?

Rustbelt said...

"Interesting how things like this continue to happen in threes isn't it?"

Well, Dean Smith and Jerry Tarkanian so far. Any bets on who's next? (Remember, John Wooden's already off the table.)

Rustbelt said...

Well, it's now officially Valentine's Day. Last year, I 'celebrated' on Commentarama, you'll recall, by posting a link to a documentary on the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre.
We'll, I've decided to post again this year, albeit with something a little less jaded (and by that, I mean no murderous gangsters).

Enjoy, if you can. Just don't talk to me about life.

Koshcat said...

Great list although for decades Lincoln was considered the first black president. He did more for black Americans than the current one. If there is a positive first for Obama, I think he was the first to use a Blackberry.

I don't think we know how many presidents before FDR hid health problems since they were, you know, hidden.

JFK as far as I know was the only president with Addison's disease.

Post a Comment