I saw a great show on TV a couple of nights ago about the workings of the White House, during which several anecdotal stories were told. That got me thinking…what else don’t we know about Presidential history?
I found these bits of trivia on Triviacountry.com. It’s a pretty cool site. These are from their “free presidential trivia questions and answers” section:
John Tyler had more children than any other American president. How many did he have?
A: Fifteen. Married twice, he had a total of eight sons and seven daughters.
What U.S. President had a special bathtub–big enough to hold four men–installed in the White House to accommodate his great bulk?
A: William Howard Taft, who weighed in at 325 pounds at the time.
How many children did former President Jimmy Carter have besides his high-profile daugher, Amy?
A: Three–sons Jack (John William), Chip (James Earl), and Jeff (Donnel Jeffrey).
What President was ticketed for speeding in Washington, D.C., while he was in office?
A: Ulysses S. Grant, in his horse and buggy. He was fined $5.00.
What precipitated the $5.7-million renovation of the White House during the Truman administration?
A :A leg of Margaret Truman’s grand piano broke though her sitting room floor into the family dining room below.
What did Woodrow Wilson, America’s twenty-eight president, denounce as a symbol of “the arrogance of wealth”?
A: The automobile.
President Gerald Ford pardoned Iva D’Aquino in 1977. Who was she?
A: Tokyo Rose–the seductive-voiced Japanese radio propagandist during World War II.
Who was the only presidential candidate other than George Washington to run unopposed?
A : James Monroe, for his second term in 1820, during the “Era of good Feeling”.
What presidential wife was the first to be referred to as the First Lady?
A: Lucy Hayes, wife of Rutherford B. Hayes, in 1877.
Which American president has the greatest number of cities and towns in the United States named after him?
A: Madison, whose name is used in 27 states. He’s followed in popularity by Washington (26), Monroe (22), Jackson and Jefferson (20 each), and Lincoln (16).
How many American presidents did not attend college?
A: Nine–Washington, Jackson, Van Buren, Taylor, Fillmore, Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Cleveland and Truman.
What did George Washington suggest building on the land that is now the site of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.?
A: A monument to an unknown soldier of the American Revolution.
What was the name of the horse Teddy Roosevelt rode in the famous Battle of San Juan Hill during the Spanish -American War?
Who was the last of the eight American presidents to be born in Virginia–the state that claims the title Mother of Presidents?
A: Woodrow Wilson. The Virginians who preceded him were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler and Zachary Taylor.
What salary did Benjamin Franklin advocate for the president of the United States during debates at the Constitutional Convention in 1787?
A: None. He felt that only the elite should serve as president and that they could do so without compensation.
The National Park Service also hosts a Presidential Trivia site, on which you can find out little tidbits about each President (President Obama isn’t on there yet).
But the mother of all Presidential trivia sites has to be at presidentsusa.net. The home page itself has a ton of categories like quotes, pets, and nicknames, and their trivia section has such categories as favorite foods, visits to Navy ships, and one that lists all left-handed Presidents (except President Obama, who is also left-handed…but I found that on the President Obama trivia link).
Our fascination with the Presidency is easy to explain. He is the most powerful person on earth, and is the face of our country as seen by the world’s inhabitants. What we tend to forget, I think, is that in the end, each President is simply a man (and some day a woman). Each has had his quirks, his habits, and eccentricities, just like the rest of us. But unlike the rest of us, everything the President does – everything – becomes a part of our history.
Happy Presidents’ Day to you all.