Fun Facts about U.S. Presidents

I received the following items in an email from a friend yesterday, it’s an interesting list of curious facts about U.S. Presidents.

In 1954, Ronald Reagan’s acting career was going so badly that he took a gig as a Las Vegas stand-up comic for a few weeks.

John Quincy Adams Regularly Skinny-Dipped In The Potomac.

Grover Cleveland Was A Cradle Robber.  (He married the daughter of his law partner, at whose birth he was present. When his partner died, Cleveland became the girl’s legal guardian. Several years later, they got married at the White House, and had a child, Ruth (the namesake of the candy bar Baby Ruth).

Calvin Coolidge Had A Vaseline Fetish and a Mechanical Horse.  Calvin Coolidge was strange guy. Not only did he sleep quite a lot – over 10 hours a day – but had morning ritual where he enjoyed having Vaseline rubbed on his head while he ate breakfast in bed. He also had a mechanical horse installed in the White House so he could practice his horseback riding skills.

(Note:  the original email included a claim here that “Warren Harding Lost The White House China In A Poker Game”.  That, as it turns out, is false.)

John Quincy Adams cared very little about fashion and clothing. He wore the same hat for ten years.

Gerald & Betty Ford Were Fashion Models.  In the 1940’s Gerald Ford did a bit of modeling and even posed on the cover of “Cosmopolitan.” His wife Betty was also a dancer and fashion model.

James A. Garfield Was Ambidextrous.  Not only was he the first president to be both righty and lefty, but it was said he could write a sentence in Latin with one hand and write it in Greek with the other hand.

Ulysses S. Grant Got A Speeding Ticket … On A Horse in Washington DC.  (You’d think he could have talked his way out of that one.)

William Howard Taft weighed in at over 300 lbs and became stuck in one of the White House bathtubs.

Thomas Jefferson Had Two Pet Bears. When Lewis and Clark were exploring the West, two young bear cubs were sent East to President Jefferson. He kept the bears in a cage on the White House lawn and occasionally went on walks with them. Other strange presidential pets include: Alligator (John Quincy Adams), Elephant (James Buchanan), and Zebra (Teddy Roosevelt).

Thomas Jefferson Invented A Bunch Of Stuff.  In addition to inventing a rotating book holder that folded into a box (pictured) he also invented/improved on the inventions of the dumbwaiter, the polygraph (for recording), a pasta maker, the swivel chair, the sundial, and the pedometer.

Martin Van Buren Popularized The Phrase “OK”.  Supposedly, President Van Buren popularized one of the most commonly used phrases to date: “OK”, or “Okay”. Van Buren was from Kinderhook, NY which was also called “Old Kinderhook”. His support groups came to be known as “O.K. Clubs” and the term OK came to mean “all right”.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were all avid collectors and players of what children’s game?

Who was the shortest president? And the tallest?

  • The shortest president was James Madison, who stood 5 feet 4 inches tall (and weighed less than 100 pounds).
  • The tallest was Lincoln, who stood 6 feet 4 inches tall.

Which president set a record for the most trips abroad? (Hint: Not with a broad, but abroad.)

  • Bill Clinton set a record for the most trips abroad, at 133.

And last but not least:

Barack Obama Is A Comic Book Nerd.  He collects”Spiderman” and “Conan The Barbarian” comic books.