Image Credits: Andy Thomas
The United States has had forty five different presidents. Each of them lived full and interesting lives. That makes presidential trivia an absolute lifestyle for those of us who love it and are eager to learn more of it every single day. There are some commonly known facts, like who assassinated who, who was the first Republican elected, and what Washington’s teeth were actually made out of, but these twenty five presidential facts come from off the beaten path and will help you grow your knowledge of presidential history.
1) Ronald Reagan was the first president to have been divorced and is the only president other than Donald Trump to have been divorced. Reagan was married to Jane Wyman for nine years before meeting and marrying his first lady, Nancy.
2) The only former president to swear in an incoming president was William Howard Taft. As Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, after his time as president, he swore in Calvin Coolidge.
3) James Buchanan is known as the Bachelor President for never marrying, but when Grover Cleveland was elected, he wasn’t married either. He later became the only president to marry in a White House ceremony.
4) Two other presidents, John Tyler and Woodrow Wilson, also married while president, but in different locations. Both marriages were the men’s second after their first wives had passed away.
5) The only president to be sworn in by a woman is Lyndon Johnson. He was sworn in aboard Air Force One by Judge Sarah Hughes after the assassination of John F Kennedy in 1963. President Kennedy’s wife Jackie was by his side.
6) Rutherford B Hayes’ wife Lucy was the first first lady to have a college degree. She held a degree in the liberal arts from Cincinnati Wesleyan Female College.
7) While the assassinations of Lincoln, Kennedy, McKinley, and Garfield are well-known, other presidential assassination attempts are less famous. Both Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan were injured in assassination attempts while plots against Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, among others, did not injure the president.
8) The Bill Clinton administration oversaw the launch of the first White House website, which premiered in 1994.
9) Franklin Roosevelt’s mother, Sara Ann Delano, was the first mother to be able to vote for her son for the position after the 19th amendment was ratified in 1919, giving women the right to vote.
10) Despite being seemingly groomed for the role, only five vice presidents have gone on to be elected president of their own merit, not from taking over due to death or resignation. Those are Richard Nixon, George HW Bush, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Martin Van Buren.
11) Gerald Ford is the only person to hold the presidency who was not elected to the offices by the people. Ford, who was previously Speaker of the House, took over when Nixon’s vice-president Spiro Agnew resigned and then took over for Nixon when he eventually resigned. He did not win his re-election campaign. He lost to Jimmy Carter.
12) People always talk about what a young and charismatic president JFK was, but he wasn’t the youngest ever elected like some people think. He was 43 when he was elected, but Teddy Roosevelt was 42 when he assumed the presidency after William McKinley was assassinated.
13) Three Presidents have won Grammy Awards for Best Spoken Word album, also known as an audiobook, in these cases. Those presidents are Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton would have been the fourth had she won the 2016 election, but she didn’t.
14) Three presidents died on the Fourth of July: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe, but only one president has been born on the Fourth of July: Calvin Coolidge.
15) We all know you have to be a naturally born citizen to be president, but Martin van Buren was actually the first president born in the United States. That makes him the first US president to have never been a British subject.
16) There’s lot of talk of impeachment these days, but only two presidents have ever been impeached and neither was then removed from office. Those two presidents are Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Both were impeached by the House of Representatives, but did not receive the required 2/3 vote in the Senate to be removed from office.
17) President James Garfield was a multilingual man. He campaigned in both English and German, the first to do so, and was apparently ambidextrous.
18) Frances Cleveland is the youngest person to ever be first lady. She was only 21 at the time she was married in the White House. She and her husband also have an interesting backstory because Grover Cleveland was technically her legal guardian after her father, Cleveland’s law partner, died and left him to look after her.
19) William Harding was quite the adulterer. It was revealed through a DNA test in 2005 that he had fathered a daughter with a woman named Nan Britton. The daughter, Elizabeth Ann, was Harding’s only biological child. Britton wrote about the affair for the first time in the 1920s and was derided and attacked, but ultimately her claims were proven true.
20) Camp David wasn’t always known as Camp David. It’s original name was Hi-Catoctin, after its location. When it became a presidential retreat, FDR renamed it Shagri-La. Dwight Eisenhower later renamed it Camp David after his son, and the name has stuck ever since.
21) The last president to keep slaves while in office was Zachary Taylor, who died in office in 1850. A few later presidents, such as Johnson and Grant, personally owned slaves though.
22) Franklin Roosevelt was a well-connected man. He was related to a lot of people, including his wife Eleanor and eleven former presidents, including John Adams, Martin Van Buren, Ulysses S Grant,and Theodore Roosevelt. It is also reported that FDR was related to Douglas MacArthur, Winston Churchill, and even Robert E Lee.
23) Gerald Ford’s daughter Susan held her senior prom at the White House. Talk about a night to remember, and a security hassle.
24) White House pets are always interesting, but Calvin Coolidge really set the bar high when he adopted a raccoon that had been brought to the White House to become Thanksgiving Dinner. He pardoned the raccoon and brought her on as a pet. Her name was Rebecca.