Tag Archives: William Howard Taft

Presidential Trivia – William Howard Taft

Think you know a lot about the President of the United States?  Let us dig down into the dustbin of history and see what we can find.

Our candidate today is:  William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States and later 10th Chief Justice of the United States

  • Born September 15, 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Died March 8, 1930 (aged 72)in Washington, D.C.
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Childhood and school activities:  church; baseball; Linonian Society for literary study and debating; member of Beta chapter of the Psi Upsilon fraternity; legacy member of Skull and Bones secret society co-founded by his father; Yale’s intramural heavyweight wrestling champion
  • Education:  Graduated from Yale College (1878); Cincinnati Law School (1880)
  • Military Service:  42nd United States Secretary of War, February 1, 1904 – June 30, 1908
  • Civilian profession: Lawyer, Jurist
  • Married to Helen Louise Herron “Nellie” Taft (June 2, 1861 – May 22, 1943) on June 19, 1886, at the home of the bride’s parents in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Children: Robert Alphonso Taft, Helen Herron Taft Manning, Charles Phelps Taft II
  • Political Party – Republican
  • Term of office:  March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
  • Only President to become a Chief Justice of the United States.  as Chief Justice, was the only President to swear into office another President (Calvin Coolidge in 1925 and Herbert Hoover in 1929).
  • Hand picked by President Theodore Roosevelt as his successor.  Taft easily won election against William Jennings Bryan.
  • Appointed in 1900 by President William McKinley as chairman of commission to organize civilian government in the Philippines. U.S. been ceded the islands by Spain following the Spanish–American War and the 1898 Treaty of Paris. Taft told McKinley his real ambition was to become a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States but that he would reluctantly accept the appointment.
  • Taft served as Governor-General of the Philippines from July 4, 1901 – December 23, 1903.  In 1902, he negotiated purchase of church-owned lands in the Philippines from Pope Leo XIII and the subsequent sale of those lands to the Philippine people.
  • Though elected as a Republican, Roosevelt had understood that Taft was a progressive at heart and would continue and expand on many of his policies.
  • Taft began an initiative of “Dollar Diplomacy” – send money and exert financial pressure rather than expending bullets and sending soldiers.  This was especially prevalent in relations with Central and South American countries.
  • Taft publicly endorsed Booker T. Washington’s program to uplift African-Americans.  However, he encouraged them to focus on education and entrepreneurship while avoiding participating in current politics.
  • Taft supported income taxes for corporations and individuals.  The 16th Amendment to the Constitution (allowing income taxes) passed during his administration.
  • New Mexico and Arizona were admitted to the Union while he was President.
  • As First Lady, Mrs. Taft joined with the wife of the Japanese ambassador to have 3020 Japanese cherry trees planted around Washington, D.C.
  • President Taft was the last to keep a cow at the White house; it was there to supply fresh milk.  He was the first to own an automobile.
  • In 1910, Taft became the first President to throw the first ball of a baseball season (Senators vs. Athletics 3-0).  The ball was thrown from the stands to the pitcher rather than the current mound-to-catcher method.  He is also (inaccurately) credited with beginning the tradition of the seventh-inning stretch.
  • Taft weighed 330 pounds and stood 6’2″ when he became President.  Shortly after taking office he found himself stuck in the standard-sized tub in the White House.  It took six attendants to extricate him.  A custom tub big enough for four was quickly installed.
  • As Chief Justice, Taft successfully argued that the Supreme Court needed its own building so as to distance itself from the other branches of government.  Until then the Court met in the Capitol, even in the basement.
  • William Howard Taft was the first president to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  His wife is interred there with him.
  • Hobbies:  golf (first President to actively participate in the sport while in office)
  • Famous quotes:

“The world is not going to be saved by legislation.”

“Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever.”

“Politics makes me sick.”

William Howard Taft presidential portrait

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Lost and Found – July 11th Edition

What to remember about July 11th…

  • 1765  Future 6th President John Quincy Adams born in Massachusetts
  • 1782  British officers surrender Savannah, effectively ending Georgia’s involvement in the American Revolution (H/T David)
  • 1798  United States Marine Corps is reestablished in preparation for Quasi-War with France; USMC originally formed November 10, 1775
  • 1804  Alexander Hamilton mortally wounded in duel with Vice President Aaron Burr at Weehawken, New Jersey
  • 1864  Confederate forces begin 2-day assault on Fort Stevens; President Lincoln attends as defenders repel invaders from Capitol
  • 1914  “Babe” Ruth plays his first game in the Major Leagues; pitches for the Boston Red Sox in victory over Cleveland Indians 4-3
  • 1921  Former 27th President William Howard Taft is sworn in as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; only person to hold both offices
  • 1945  Soviet Union announces that it will turn over civilian and military control of West Berlin to the Allies
  • 1947  Exodus 1947, former U.S. transport ship, departs France with 4515 Jewish passengers in attempt to run blockade and reach Palestine
  • 1955  1st class of cadets sworn is in at temporary site of the United States Air Force Academy, Lowery Air Force Base in Colorado
  • 1977  President Jimmy Carter presents posthumous award of Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • 1979  Skylab, the first successful U.S. space station, re-enters the atmosphere; debris falls in Australia and Indian Ocean
  • 2007  Former First Lady Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor Johnson dies (b. 1912)
NASA Skylab, America’s First Space Station

Lost and Found – June 19th Edition

What to remember about June 19th…

  • 1846  New York Base Ball Club defeats Knickerbockers 23-1 in 1st recorded official game of baseball; played on Elysian Field in Hoboken
  • 1864  CSS Alabama, the most successful Confederate commerce raider of the war, sunk off the coast of France by USS Kearsarge
  • 1886  Future 27th President William Howard Taft marries Hellen “Nellie” Herron in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 1910  Father’s Day is celebrated for the 1st time
  • 1917  King George V changes royal family name to Windsor from the Germanic Saxe-Coburg-Gotha; all German titles eliminated as well
  • 1933  Exiled Communist leader Leon Trotsky given asylum in France
  • 1944  Battle of Philippine Sea begins; largest aircraft carrier battle in history; Japanese fleet irreparably damaged
  • 1953  Julius and Ethel Rosenberg executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison for conspiracy to commit espionage
  • 1977  Guardian Angels leader Curtis Sliwa shot twice in Manhattan
  • 1978  Garfield comic strip first published in U.S.

Lost and Found – May 30th Edition

What to remember about May 30th…

  • 1806  Future President Andrew Jackson kills Charles Dickenson in a duel; the men fought over libelous statements made about Jackson’s wife
  • 1868  Decoration Day is declared to honor Civil War dead; this is the 1st observance of what will become Memorial Day
  • 1909  American musician, songwriter, and band leader Benjamin David “Benny” Goodman is born in Chicago (d. 1986)
  • 1911  Indianapolis 500 race is held for 1st time; Ray Harroun wins out of a field of 40 cars with an average speed of 74.59 miles per hour
  • 1922  Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and former President William Howard Taft dedicates Lincoln Memorial on the Washington Mall
  • 1966  NASA successfully launches Surveyor 1 spacecraft; 1st soft landing of an american probe on an extraterrestrial body
  • 1989  Pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square erect 33-foot high “Goddess of Democracy” statue

Presidential Trivia – William Howard Taft

Think you know a lot about the President of the United States?  Let us dig down into the dustbin of history and see what we can find.

Our candidate today is:  William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States and later 10th Chief Justice of the United States

  • Born September 15, 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Died March 8, 1930 (aged 72)in Washington, D.C.
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Childhood and school activities:  church; baseball; Linonian Society for literary study and debating; member of Beta chapter of the Psi Upsilon fraternity; legacy member of Skull and Bones secret society co-founded by his father; Yale’s intramural heavyweight wrestling champion
  • Education:  Graduated from Yale College (1878); Cincinnati Law School (1880)
  • Military Service:  42nd United States Secretary of War, February 1, 1904 – June 30, 1908
  • Civilian profession: Lawyer, Jurist
  • Married to Helen Louise Herron “Nellie” Taft (June 2, 1861 – May 22, 1943) on June 19, 1886, at the home of the bride’s parents in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Children: Robert Alphonso Taft, Helen Herron Taft Manning, Charles Phelps Taft II
  • Political Party – Republican
  • Term of office:  March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
  • Only President to become a Chief Justice of the United States.  as Chief Justice, was the only President to swear into office another President (Calvin Coolidge in 1925 and Herbert Hoover in 1929).
  • Hand picked by President Theodore Roosevelt as his successor.  Taft easily won election against William Jennings Bryan.
  • Appointed in 1900 by President William McKinley as chairman of commission to organize civilian government in the Philippines. U.S. been ceded the islands by Spain following the Spanish–American War and the 1898 Treaty of Paris. Taft told McKinley his real ambition was to become a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States but that he would reluctantly accept the appointment.
  • Taft served as Governor-General of the Philippines from July 4, 1901 – December 23, 1903.  In 1902, he negotiated purchase of church-owned lands in the Philippines from Pope Leo XIII and the subsequent sale of those lands to the Philippine people.
  • Though elected as a Republican, Roosevelt had understood that Taft was a progressive at heart and would continue and expand on many of his policies.
  • Taft began an initiative of “Dollar Diplomacy” – send money and exert financial pressure rather than expending bullets and sending soldiers.  This was especially prevalent in relations with Central and South American countries.
  • Taft publicly endorsed Booker T. Washington’s program to uplift African-Americans.  However, he encouraged them to focus on education and entrepreneurship while avoiding participating in current politics.
  • Taft supported income taxes for corporations and individuals.  The 16th Amendment to the Constitution (allowing income taxes) passed during his administration.
  • New Mexico and Arizona were admitted to the Union while he was President.
  • As First Lady, Mrs. Taft joined with the wife of the Japanese ambassador to have 3020 Japanese cherry trees planted around Washington, D.C.
  • President Taft was the last to keep a cow at the White house; it was there to supply fresh milk.  He was the first to own an automobile.
  • In 1910, Taft became the first President to throw the first ball of a baseball season (Senators vs. Athletics 3-0).  The ball was thrown from the stands to the pitcher rather than the current mound-to-catcher method.  He is also (inaccurately) credited with beginning the tradition of the seventh-inning stretch.
  • Taft weighed 330 pounds and stood 6’2″ when he became President.  Shortly after taking office he found himself stuck in the standard-sized tub in the White House.  It took six attendants to extricate him.  A custom tub big enough for four was quickly installed.
  • As Chief Justice, Taft successfully argued that the Supreme Court needed its own building so as to distance itself from the other branches of government.  Until then the Court met in the Capitol, even in the basement.
  • William Howard Taft was the first president to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  His wife is interred there with him.
  • Hobbies:  golf (first President to actively participate in the sport while in office)
  • Famous quotes:

“The world is not going to be saved by legislation.”

“Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever.”

“Politics makes me sick.”

William Howard Taft presidential portrait

Lost and Found – September 15th Edition

What to remember about September 15th…

  • 1779  French fleet blockading Savannah, Georgia captures 2 British frigates and 2 supply ships
  • 1794  James Madison marries Dolly Payne Todd
  • 1835  Naturalist Charles Darwin reaches the Galapagos Islands aboard the HMS Beagle
  • 1857  President William Howard Taft is born in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 1862  Confederate General “Stonewall” Jackson captures Harpers Ferry, Virginia and 12,000 Union troops
  • 1916  Tanks are used in battle for the 1st time by Britain at the Battle of the Somme
  • 1935  Nuremberg Laws are passed in Germany; Jews are stripped of their civil rights; Nazis adopt the swastika for their flag
  • 1950  U.S. forces under General MacArthur  make surprise amphibious assault at Inchon and capture the city
  • 1981  Senate Judiciary Committee approves Sandra Day O’Connor to become the 1st female justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
  • 2008  158-year old financial firm Lehman Brothers files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history

British Mark IV Tank

Lost and Found – July 11th Edition

What to remember about July 11th…

  • 1765  Future 6th President John Quincy Adams born in Massachusetts
  • 1782  British officers surrender Savannah, effectively ending Georgia’s involvement in the American Revolution (H/T David)
  • 1798  United States Marine Corps is reestablished in preparation for Quasi-War with France; USMC originally formed November 10, 1775
  • 1804  Alexander Hamilton mortally wounded in duel with Vice President Aaron Burr at Weehawken, New Jersey
  • 1864  Confederate forces begin 2-day assault on Fort Stevens; President Lincoln attends as defenders repel invaders from Capitol
  • 1914  “Babe” Ruth plays his first game in the Major Leagues; pitches for the Boston Red Sox in victory over Cleveland Indians 4-3
  • 1921  Former 27th President William Howard Taft is sworn in as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; only person to hold both offices
  • 1945  Soviet Union announces that it will turn over civilian and military control of West Berlin to the Allies
  • 1947  Exodus 1947, former U.S. transport ship, departs France with 4515 Jewish passengers in attempt to run blockade and reach Palestine
  • 1955  1st class of cadets sworn is in at temporary site of the United States Air Force Academy, Lowery Air Force Base in Colorado
  • 1977  President Jimmy Carter presents posthumous award of Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • 1979  Skylab, the first successful U.S. space station, re-enters the atmosphere; debris falls in Australia and Indian Ocean
  • 2007  Former First Lady Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor Johnson dies (b. 1912)

NASA Skylab One

Lost and Found – June 19th Edition

What to remember about June 19th…

  • 1846  New York Base Ball Club defeats Knickerbockers 23-1 in 1st recorded official game of baseball; played on Elysian Field in Hoboken
  • 1864  CSS Alabama, the most successful Confederate commerce raider of the war, sunk off the coast of France by USS Kearsarge
  • 1886  Future 27th President William Howard Taft marries Hellen “Nellie” Herron in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • 1910  Father’s Day is celebrated for the 1st time
  • 1917  King George V changes royal family name to Windsor from the Germanic Saxe-Coburg-Gotha; all German titles eliminated as well
  • 1933  Exiled Communist leader Leon Trotsky given asylum in France
  • 1944  Battle of Philippine Sea begins; largest aircraft carrier battle in history; Japanese fleet irreparably damaged
  • 1953  Julius and Ethel Rosenberg executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison for conspiracy to commit espionage
  • 1977  Guardian Angels leader Curtis Sliwa shot twice in Manhattan
  • 1978  Garfield comic strip first published in U.S.

Lost and Found – May 30th Edition

What to remember about May 30th…

  • 1806  Future President Andrew Jackson kills Charles Dickenson in a duel; the men fought over libelous statements made about Jackson’s wife
  • 1868  Decoration Day is declared to honor Civil War dead; this is the 1st observance of what will become Memorial Day
  • 1909  American musician, songwriter, and band leader Benjamin David “Benny” Goodman is born in Chicago (d. 1986)
  • 1911  Indianapolis 500 race is held for 1st time; Ray Harroun wins out of a field of 40 cars with an average speed of 74.59 miles per hour
  • 1922  Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and former President William Howard Taft dedicates Lincoln Memorial on the Washington Mall
  • 1966  NASA successfully launches Surveyor 1 spacecraft; 1st soft landing of an american probe on an extraterrestrial body
  • 1989  Pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square erect 33-foot high “Goddess of Democracy” statue

Lost and Found – March 27th Edition

What to remember about March 27th…

  • 1775  Future President Thomas Jefferson is elected to be a representative to the second Continental Congress
  • 1814  Future President Andrew Jackson leads 39th Infantry to defeat the “Red Stick” Creek at Battle of Horseshoe Bend; British allies in War of 1812
  • 1836  After becoming surrounded, band of Texans surrender to Mexican Army at Goliad; 417 are executed as rebels instead of being taken as prisoners of war
  • 1865  President Lincoln travels to Virginia to plot final strategies of the war with generals Grant and Sherman; discuss surrender terms for Lee’s army
  • 1912  Wives of President Taft and Japanese Ambassador plant in Washington, D.C. the first 2 of 3020 cherry trees gifted to America by Japan
  • 1915  “Typhoid Mary” is placed into lifetime quarantine; Marry Mallon is 1st identified healthy carrier of a disease found in United States
  • 1945  With only 1 launch site remaining, Germany fires its last wave of V-2 missiles against Britain and Belgium; almost 200 killed
  • 1990  United States begins broadcasting news and information to Cuba with TV Marti; brings wider audience than existing Radio Marti programs
  • 1998  FDA approves prescription drug Viagra; “little blue pill” is 1st medicine approved to treat male impotence
  • 2007  American chemist and Nobel Laureate Paul Christian Lauterbur dies in 2007 (b. 1929); work led to development of MRI technology