Presidential Trivia

American Icons, History, People, Traditions
on February 17, 2008

American voters will go to the polls in November to elect our 44th president. But how much do you know about the 42 men who previously held the nations highest political office?

To mark Presidents Day, here are some interesting facts courtesy of the National Park Service to help expand your presidential knowledge.

First President, 1789-1797
George Washington was the only American president to be unanimously elected and the only president who did not represent a political party.

Second president, 1797-1801
John Adams was the first president to reside in the White House. He moved in November 1800 while the paint was still wet.

Third president, 1801-1809
The main author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was the first president to be inaugurated in Washington, D.C.

Fourth president, 1809-1817
Standing 5 feet, 4 inches and weighing 100 pounds, James Madison was the shortest and lightest president. He also was the first president to wear trousers rather than knee breeches.

Fifth president, 1817-1825
James Monroe was the first president to ride a steamboat, and his daughter, Maria Hester, was the first to be a bride in the White House.

Sixth president, 1825-1829
John Quincy Adams was the son of a former president and the first president to be photographed.

Seventh president, 1829-1837
Andrew Jackson was the first president born in a log cabin and the first to ride in a train. He also was the first to experience and survive an assassination attempt.

Eighth president, 1837-1841
Martin Van Buren was the first U.S. president born in the United States. Raised in Kinderhook, N.Y., Van Buren is credited with the term OK. After going into politics, he became known as Old Kinderhook. Soon people began using the term OK to refer to Van Buren and the word okay was derived.

Ninth president, 1841
William Henry Harrison, the only president who studied to be a doctor, served the shortest presidency. He died of pneumonia one month after delivering his 105-minute outdoor inaugural speech without wearing an overcoat or hat.

10th president, 1841-1845
John Tyler was the first vice president to ascend to the presidency upon the death of a president. He also was the president with the most children15.

11th president, 1845-1849
James K. Polk was the first president to have his inauguration reported by telegraph and the first to fulfill all of his campaign promises.

12th president, 1849-1850
Zachary Taylor did not vote until the age of 62 because he had moved many times as a soldier and had not established an official place of residency.

13th president, 1850-1853
Millard Fillmore refused an honorary degree from Oxford University because he felt he had neither literary nor scientific attainment.

14th president, 1853-1857
Franklin Pierce was the first president to have a Christmas tree in the White House.

15th president, 1857-1861
James Buchanan was the only president that never married.

16th president, 1861-1865
Abraham Lincoln was the first president to wear a beard and the tallest, at 6 feet, 4 inches.

17th president, 1865-1869
Andrew Johnson was impeached for removing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton during the turbulent Reconstruction period, but was acquitted by one vote in the Senate.

18th president, 1869-1877
Ulysses S. Grant was a Union commander during the Civil War and established Yellowstone as the first national park in 1872.

19th president, 1877-1881
Rutherford B. Hayes banished liquor and wine from the White House and held the first Easter egg roll on the White House lawn.

20th president, 1881
James Garfield was the last of seven presidents born in a log cabin and the second president to die by assassination, six months after being sworn into office.

21st president, 1881-1885
Chester A. Arthur was nicknamed Elegant Arthur for his fashion sense.

22nd president, 1885-1889
Grover Cleveland personally answered the White House phone and was the only president married in a ceremony at the White House, on June 2, 1886.

23rd president, 1889-1893
Benjamin Harrison was the only president to be a grandson of a president and the first president to use electricity in the White House.

24th president, 1893-1897
Grover Cleveland was the only president to be elected to nonconsecutive terms and the first to have a child born in the White House: his daughter Esther in 1895.

25th president, 1897-1901
William McKinley was the first president to ride in an automobile, the first to campaign by telephone and the third to die from an assassin's wound.

26th president, 1901-1909
Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to call his residence in Washington, D.C., the White House.

27th president, 1909-1913
William H. Taft was the first president to own a car and the only president to serve as chief justice of the United States, from 1921 to 1930.

28th president, 1913-1921
Woodrow Wilson is the only president buried in Washington, D.C. He is interred at Washington National Cathedral.

29th president, 1921-1923
Warren G. Harding was the first president to speak over the radio and the first newspaper publisher to be elected to the presidency. He also had the largest feet of any president: size 14.

30th president, 1923-1929
Calvin Coolidge lighted the first national Christmas tree in 1923 on the White House lawn and refused to use the telephone while he was in office.

31st president, 1929-1933
Herbert Hoover approved The Star-Spangled Banner as the national anthem and was the first president born west of the Mississippi River, in West Branch, Iowa.

32nd president, 1933-1945
Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only American president elected to four terms.

33rd president, 1945-1953
Harry S. Truman was the first president to give a speech on television and the first president to travel underwater in a submarine.

34th president, 1953-1961
Dwight D. Eisenhower, who commanded Allied troops during the D-Day invasion of France in 1944, was the only president to serve in both World War I and World War II.

35th president, 1961-1963
John F. Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic president, the first president born in the 20th century and the first president to hold a press conference on television. At age 43, he also was the youngest American elected president, and, at 46, the youngest to die in office.

36th president, 1963-1969
Before becoming a politician, Lyndon B. Johnson was a high school teacher in Texas.

37th president, 1969-1974
Richard Nixon was the first president to visit all 50 states, the first president to visit China and the only U.S. president to resign.

38th president, 1974-1977
Gerald R. Ford, who once worked as a fashion model, became vice president and president without being elected to either office.

39th president, 1977-1981
Jimmy Carter was the first president born in a hospital.

40th president, 1981-1989
At age 69, Ronald W. Reagan became the oldest person—and first actor—ever elected U.S. president.

41st president, 1989-1993
George H.W. Bush was the first vice president elected president since Martin Van Buren, and also the first vice president to lose re-election since Van Buren.

42nd president, 1993-2001
William J. Clinton was the first president to be a Rhodes Scholar.

43rd president, 2001-2008
George W. Bush was the first son of a president to become president since John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams.