These Little Known Facts about 40 of America's Presidents Snatched Our Powdered Wigs
These Little Known Facts about 40 of America’s Presidents Snatched Our Powdered Wigs

These Little Known Facts about 40 of America’s Presidents Snatched Our Powdered Wigs

Larry Holzwarth - January 31, 2019

These Little Known Facts about 40 of America’s Presidents Snatched Our Powdered Wigs
Nixon bowling (and foot-faulting) in the White House bowling alley during his administration. Library of Congress

36. Nixon preferred private recreation over public appearances

Richard Nixon was known for his lack of social skills, a difficult failing for a career politician to overcome. He was famously poor at small talk and the routine interchange of conversation. For recreation he preferred what could be performed privately. He played no less than five musical instruments, learning from his aunt in his youth, and after discovering his talent could be a political asset he performed on piano before television cameras. For physical exercise he preferred bowling, using the alleys at the Old Executive Office building before installing a single alley in the White House basement, beneath the North Portico.

These Little Known Facts about 40 of America’s Presidents Snatched Our Powdered Wigs
The young Jerry Ford worked as a male model and turned down offers to play professional football. National Archives

37. Gerald Ford could have played professional football

During his presidency Gerald Ford developed a reputation for stumbling down stairs and falling off of sidewalks. LBJ often commented that Ford had played too much football without a helmet. Ford was an athlete for most of his life, an avid skier and golfer when serving as president. In his youth, the former Michigan football player received offers from the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions, though the recent graduate chose Yale Law School instead. Also in his youth, Ford worked briefly as a male model, appearing on the cover of the April, 1942 edition of Cosmopolitan.

These Little Known Facts about 40 of America’s Presidents Snatched Our Powdered Wigs
President Carter, as befits a former Naval officer, defends his craft from an attacking enemy, a vicious rabbit. Jimmy Carter Library

38. Jimmy Carter was attacked by a rabbit and reported a UFO

President Carter was on a fishing trip after which he later told staffers that a rabbit swam towards his boat, and that he had had to use an oar to roil the water and fend off the attack. The staff thought he was kidding them until footage from a White House photographer confirmed the incident. Earlier, when serving as governor of Georgia in 1969, Carter reported seeing a UFO in the night sky over Leary, Georgia. Carter later explained the he called it a UFO because it was unexplained, but that his training in engineering and physics precluded him calling it alien in nature.

These Little Known Facts about 40 of America’s Presidents Snatched Our Powdered Wigs
Nancy Reagan used atrology to guide her husband (with his knowledge) in decisions about all aspects of their lives. Wikimedia

39. Ronald Reagan and astrology

In May of 1988 White House spokesman Marvin Fitzwater confirmed to the press that Ron and Nancy Reagan used astrology and readings in preparing their schedules and for other activities. According to Reagan’s former Chief of Staff Donald Regan, the first couple consulted with a San Francisco based astrologer before making all major decisions. Regan did not identify the astrologer but it wasn’t long before the press did, and Reagan’s political opponents had a field day with the news, which came following the revealing of theIran-Contra Affair. Later biographers wrote that the Reagan’s faith in astrology was a long-standing affair.

These Little Known Facts about 40 of America’s Presidents Snatched Our Powdered Wigs
George H. W. Bush, here with doubles parner Chris Evert, loved escaping being cooped up in the White House by visiting Camp David. National Archives

40. George H. W. Bush hated being trapped in the White House

The first president Bush was known to be an affable man according to many who met him. On occasion, the President would join a White House tour, without fanfare, until one of the other tourists spotted him. The physically active president didn’t care for being stuck in the White House and journeyed to Camp David as frequently as possible during his single term presidency. Few modern presidents more openly expressed their displeasure for entrapment within the bubble of security and filtered information which are characteristics of the modern presidency.

 

Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Soldier, statesman, dog lover: George Washington’s pups”. George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Online

“John Adams”. David McCullough. 2002

“Grizzly Bears”. Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Online

“The Surprising Raucous Home Life of the Madisons”. David O. Stuart, Smithsonian.com. February 10, 2015

“James Monroe”. Entry, whitehouse.gov

“John Quincy Adams’s Pet Alligator Was A Crock”. Howard Dorre, Plodding Through the Presidents. February 19, 2018. Online

“A history of White House profanity – and one cursing presidential parrot”. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., The Washington Post. January 12, 2018

“Martin Van Buren’s Tigers”. Entry, Presidential Pet Museum. Online

“William Henry Harrison’s killer inauguration speech”. Brenna Williams, CNN Politics. January 5, 2017

“John Tyler”. Entry, whitehouse.gov

“James K. Polk”. Entry, whitehouse.gov

“Zachary Taylor”, Entry, US President’s Lives, The Independent. Online

“Millard Fillmore”. Entry, whitehouse.gov

“Franklin Pierce”. Entry, US President’s Lives, The Independent. Online

“Our First Gay President?” Brion McClanahan, The Daily Caller. May 14, 2012

“Abe and Fido”. Matthew Algeo. 2015

“Andrew Johnson’s Mice”. Entry, Presidential Pet Museum. Online

“DC police once arrested a U. S. president for speeding”. WTOP staff, WTOP. October 6, 2012

“Teetotalers in Chief”. Tonya Riley, Medium.com. 2016

“Which US President Also Served As An Executioner?” Robert J. Szczerba, Forbes. February 16, 2015

“Decorating the White House”. Entry, The White House Historical Association. Online

“A Yacht, A Mustache: How A President Hid His Tumor”. Transcript for Morning Edition, National Public Radio. July 6, 2011. Online

“The History of Electricity at the White House”. US Department of Energy. October 14, 2015. Online

“William McKinley”. Kevin Phillips, 2003

“The Roosevelt Pets”. Entry, Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site. National Park Service. Online

“The president who loved golf too much (it’s not Donald Trump)”. Matthew Algeo, The Washington Post. April 21, 2017

“White House Sheep, a History”. Brian Resnick, The Atlantic. October 17, 2014

“Warren G. Harding”. Entry, US President’s Lives, The Independent. Online

“Calvin Coolidge”. David Greenberg. 2006

“Hoover joins 1st American demo of long distance TV, April 7, 1927″. Amy Norcross, EDN Network. April 7, 2018

“Check Out the Early Accessibility Devices of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Ford Phaeton”. Sam Keller, Autotrader. August 2017

“Truman”. David McCullough. 1993

“BRIDGE; Another Reason to Like Ike”. Alan Truscott, The New York Times. September 27, 1992

“Pets in the Kennedy White House”. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

“Pushinka: A Cold War puppy the Kennedys loved”. Alison Gee, BBC World Service. January 6, 2014

“Three New Revelations About LBJ”. Robert Dallek, The Atlantic. April 1998

“Nixon: A Life”. Jonathan Aitken. 1996

“Gerald R. Ford”. Mary Mueller Winget. 2007

“The Gospel According to Jimmy”. Wil S. Hylton, GQ Magazine. December 5, 2005

“Nancy Reagan turned to astrology in White House to protect her husband”. Shelby Grad and David Colker, Los Angeles Times. March 6, 2016

“George Herbert Walker Bush”. Tom Wicker. 2004

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