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Entrepreneurs & Inventors

Matthew Henson, Co-Discoverer of the North Pole

Matthew Henson (1866-1955) was hired by explorer Robert PearyMatthew Henson (1856-1920) to be his valet; Peary saw in the young man the potential to be an asset on future expeditions. Henson proved his worth as Peary’s most skilled and reliable member of many expeditions, including numerous attempts to reach the North Pole. By the time they successfully achieved their goal, Henson was worthy of the status of co-discoverer.

Matthew Henson

The Tradition of the White House Tree Lighting Ceremony

[caption id="attachment_6815" align="alignleft" width="300"]tree lighting ceremony A recent White House ceremony[/caption]

Today we think of the ceremonial lighting of the White House Christmas tree as a long-time tradition, but it actually only dates to 1923. Individual first families undoubtedly had Christmas trees, but there was no public or official sharing of the holiday until Calvin Coolidge was in office. 

tree lighting ceremony

Abraham Lincoln’s Patent: The Only President-Inventor

Lincoln's patentTo read this patent application today is to be transported to a time before the name, Abraham Lincoln, carried such import—before he was the President who led our country through a war that literally could have torn the country in two.

Lincoln's patent

President Taft’s Weight: Keeping the Pounds Off

portrait Taft 1President William Howard Taft (1857-1930), who served as president from 1909-1913, was a big man.  At about 6 feet tall, his weight fluctuated from 255 to over 350 pounds, and he was constantly fighting to keep the pounds off.

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