News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Community News Network

February 18, 2013

QUIZ: Test your presidential knowledge

It's Presidents' Day, and I suddenly find myself obsessed with John Tyler, the nation's 10th president, who served from 1841 to 1845.

Did you know that Tyler had more children than any other president? He had 15, helped by the fact that after his first wife, Letitia, died, he married Julia Gardiner, 24, who was 30 years his junior.

So, John Tyler: a player.

And also: a traitor.

Tyler was from Virginia, and when the Civil War broke out he was elected to the Confederate Congress, an act of treason against the country he had once served.

Those factoids, and a lot more, are in "The Smithsonian Book of Presidential Trivia." I'm sure the Obamas keep a copy in the White House bathroom.

But really, trivia? Isn't the presidency the most hallowed office in the land? Should we be trivializing it, literally?

"It's just an access point that people can get into to learn more about American history, to spark their interest and larger curiosity," said Harry Rubenstein, a curator of political history at the National Museum of American History. He's among contributors to the book, which was written by Amy Pastan.

Harry said he's useless at remembering trivia — the first, the fattest, the tallest — but many people love that sort of thing.

"Those little bits just take these mythic figures and make them a little less mythic, hopefully a little more human," Harry said.

Florence Harding was accused of poisoning her husband! Teddy Roosevelt endorsed a brand of traveler's checks! Gerald Ford was a fashion model!

Then there's my fave — John Tyler, who with his first lady pops up in the book in the weirdest ways. Before she became fertile young wife No. 2, Julia Gardiner scandalized New York society by posing for an advertisement. Of course, they didn't have cameras back then, and she wasn't even shilling for something unmentionable like corsets or opium. She was depicted in an engraving on the arm of a young man while on her handbag was written an ad for a department store: "I'll purchase at Bogert and Mecamly's, No. 86 Ninth Avenue. Their Goods are Beautiful and Astonishingly Cheap."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale Raw: Stunning Timelapse of WC Final Host City Arizona Mom of Missing Baby Released From Prison WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Raw: Militants, Israelis Exchange Rocket Fire Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters Raw: Protesters, Israeli Security Forces Clash Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues Raw: Airstrike Creates Chaos on Gaza Streets Israel Widens Attack As Gaza Death Toll Rises Raw: Airstrike Creates Chaos on Gaza Streets LeBron James Says He's Returning to Cavaliers More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity