- Eight presidents have been left-handed: Barack Obama, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Harry S. Truman, Herbert Hoover, James Garfield, and Grover Cleveland. Because using one’s left hand was actively discouraged until recently, there may have been more with a tendency toward left-handedness.
- President Barack Obama (2008-2016) loved Spiderman and Conan the Barbarian comic books and read any he could get his hands on growing up.
- Calvin Coolidge (1923-29) and his wife, Grace, loved animals and seemingly maintained a personal zoo. He had six dogs, a cat, a bobcat, a goose, a donkey, two lion cubs, an antelope, a wallaby, and a pet raccoon. He was also given a pygmy hippopotamus named Billy by tire mogul Harvey Firestone. Billy was six feet long and weighed upwards of 600 pounds. Eventually, the Coolidges donated Billy to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. For more about the Coolidges, their pet raccoon and their efforts to raise ducks inside the White House, see “The Coolidge Dogs and Other ”
- As a child, Theodore Roosevelt (1901-09) suffered from severe asthma and was too sickly to attend school. As he grew older, he became determined to overcome this impediment, and he placed great value on physical exercise. His active interest in hiking and hunting increased his interest in conserving land as national parks. Here is more about Growing Up to be Teddy Roosevelt.
More Facts about Presidents
5. Despite the strong association with Kansas, Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-61) started life as a a Texan. He was born in Denison, Texas on October 14, 1890.
6. William Howard Taft (1909-13) was the last president to have a presidential cow at the White House to provide milk, cream and butter. Taft was also the first to have an automobile. Here is a story about Taft and dieting.
7. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-45), our only four-term president, led the country out of the Depression and into the perilous years of World War II. His favorite way to relax was working on his stamp collection. One of the privileges of his presidency was that he always obtained the first sheet of any commemorative stamps that were issued during his terms of office.
8. Most people now know that the story of young George Washington cutting down a cherry tree and confessing his deed to his father is untrue. Where did it come from? His first biographer, Parson Weems, created stories to depict the type of man he believed Washington to be.
9. Only one president had his election victory announced via Pony Express: Abraham Lincoln in 1860. The rider traveled from Fort Kearney, Nebraska to Fort Churchill, Nevada in only 6 days. It was the fastest ride ever for the Pony Express. Here is more about growing up to be Abraham Lincoln.
10. Thomas Jefferson (1801-09) was the president who conceived of the journey taken by Lewis and Clark to explore the West. When they returned, Lewis and Clark brought to Jefferson many gifts. A grizzly bear cub brought back by the expedition lived at the White House for a time. Native American objects and animal skins, horns, and bones were eventually displayed in Jefferson’s Entrance Hall at Monticello. While the original artifacts disappeared at some point, Monticello worked with Native American groups to recreate the look of the Entrance Hall in honor of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial.