Bizarre Facts About American Presidents That Barely Anyone Knows
1. George Washington never had wooden teeth.
The first president’s dentures were actually carved out of hippopotamus ivory with gold springs and brass screws. His dentist even left a hole in the dentures for Washington’s one remaining “good” tooth.
2. John Quincy Adams liked to skinny-dip in the river.
The sixth president took advantage of the Potomac River being so close to the White House and went for a dip in the nude at 5 a.m. nearly every day. He was also the first ever president to be photographed — luckily wearing his clothes at the time.
3. Andrew Jackson taught his pet parrot to curse.
At Jackson’ funeral, his parrot actually had to be removed from the building for swearing too long and too loud.
4. Martin Van Buren helped to popularize the phrase “OK.”
The oldest written reference to the term comes from his election campaign in 1840. Van Buren was nicknamed “Old Kinderhook,” (Kinderhook being the name of his birthplace in New York State) and his party supporters formed the “OK Club.”
5. James Buchanan was a lifelong bachelor.
The 15th president is the only one to never marry. He is also the only president ever elected from the state of Pennsylvania. Coincidence? Probably.
6. Ulysses S. Grant received speeding tickets for racing his horse and buggy.
Grant actually had his horse and buggy seized and he was taken into police custody. But police didn’t know if they were allowed to charge a sitting president, so after Grant paid a fine the police let him walk back to the white house.
7. Grover Cleveland was once the legal guardian of the girl he married.
The girl, Frances Folsom, was 27 years younger than Cleveland. Her father was a former law partner, and when he died the 11-year-old Frances became Cleveland’s legal ward. He was also the first president to get married in the White House.
8. Woodrow Wilson is the only president to ever have a Ph.D.
The 28th president of the United States was also the president of Princeton University for nine years, starting in 1902. Aside from his earned doctorate, he also holds the record for most honorary degrees received — 33!
9. Warren Harding once lost the White House china in a card game.
Harding, often seen as one of the worst presidents, lost the china on a single hand. One unsubstantiated rumor persists that his wife actually killed him with poison to save him from the disgrace of his scandal-ridden administration.
10. Calvin Coolidge had a weird morning ritual
The 30th president liked Vaseline rubbed on his head while he ate his breakfast. Oookay then.
11. Ronald Reagan once did a stand-up routine in Vegas featuring chimpanzees.
Playing off the successes of his 1951 movie Bedtime for Bonzo (which also had chimpanzees), the future 40th president of the United States performed at the Last Frontier casino on February 15, 1954.
12. George W. Bush was captain of his school cheerleading team.
It’s widely known that the 43rd president was a good baseball player back in the day, but when it came to football, he was more of a fan. So much so, that he was head cheerleader at Philips Academy, the private prep school he attended.
13. Barack Obama is a comic book nerd.
Our current (and soon to be gone) president collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics. And if that’s not geeky enough, he has also read every Harry Potter book.
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