Presidential trivia

If you ever decide to run a trivia contest, here are a few fun facts about presidents throughout history that you could add under the category “presidential trivia.”

The youngest person ever to be inaugurated as president was Theodore Roosevelt, at the age of 42 years, 322 days.

The oldest person to be inaugurated as president was Donald Trump, at 70 years, 220 days.

Theodore Roosevelt was considered to be a great conservationist and he is credited for establishing the National Parks system.

The youngest first lady was Frances Folsom Cleveland, who married Grover Cleveland in the White House during his first term as president. She was 21 years old, and he was 49.

Frances Folsom Cleveland was also the first first lady to have a baby in the White House. That baby was her second daughter, Esther, born during Grover Cleveland’s second term of office in 1893. Altogether, Frances Folsom Cleveland had five children.

The only president to serve two nonconsecutive terms was Grover Cleveland. He served his first term from 1885 to 1889. He was then defeated by Benjamin Harrison. Not one to admit defeat, Grover Cleveland once again ran for president in 1892, and he was elected. He served a second term from 1893 to 1897 and chose not to run again. Because his terms were nonconsecutive, Grover Cleveland is considered to be two presidents.

The tallest president in U.S. history was Abraham Lincoln, who was 6 feet 4 inches tall.

The shortest president in U.S. history was James Madison at 5 feet 4 inches tall.

Barbara playing the guitar (I don’t have any pictures of presidents playing instruments)

Presidents who played musical instruments included: 

  • Bill Clinton (saxophone)
  • Ronald Reagan (harmonica)
  • Richard Nixon (piano, accordian, violin)
  • Harry Truman (piano)
  • Calvin Coolidge (harmonica)
  • Warren G. Harding (tuba)
  • Woodrow Wilson (violin)
  • Chester Alan Arthur (banjo)
  • Abraham Lincoln (violin)
  • John Tyler (violin)
  • John Quincy Adams (flute)
  • Thomas Jefferson (violin, clavichord, and cello)
The only president to remain a bachelor while serving as president was James Buchanan.

Buffalo Bisons
What about sports? What physical activities did presidents enjoy?
  • John Quincy Adams went swimming, took walks, rode horses, and shot billiards. 
  • Theodore Roosevelt was considered to be one of the most athletic people to become president. He had been a football player in his younger days. As president, he studied judo and jiu jitsu. He liked to jog and he also had a tennis court built on White House grounds. And not only that, he could walk on stilts!
  • Woodrow Wilson played baseball and had played center field for his team at Davidson College. He later became a golfer. He was the first president to throw the first pitch in a World Series game.
  • Herbert Hoover was the only president to have a sport named after him. It was called Hooverball, and it was a combination of tennis and volleyball. The ball used in this game was a six-pound medicine ball. The game was invented by the president’s personal physician, Joel T. Boone. There is actually an annual hooverball championship event that is co-sponsored by the Hoover Presidential Library Association and the city of West Branch, Iowa.
  • Dwight David Eisenhower was a college football player at West Point until he suffered a career-ending injury.
  • John F. Kennedy played football and was also a swimmer and golfer.
  • Richard Nixon played football. He had a bowling alley installed at the White House.
  • Gerald Ford was probably the greatest football player of all of the presidents. He actually received offers from the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers. But he chose law school instead of a football career.
  • Jimmy Carter ran cross country while he served in the Navy. He also enjoyed tennis and softball.
  • Ronald Reagan was a lifeguard and he enjoyed horseback riding.
  • George H.W. Bush played baseball. He was on the Yale University team, and his position was first base.
  • Bill Clinton played basketball. He also liked to jog and golf.
  • George W. Bush completed a marathon at the age of 43. And, as president, he threw out the first pitch at the World Series in 2001, short after 9/11. His first pitch was described as a “perfect strike.”
  • Barack Obama enjoyed pickup basketball.
  • Donald Trump played baseball as a student in military school and is now considered to be an above average golfer.
The president who served the shortest amount of time was William Henry Harrison. He served 31 days before dying of typhoid, pneumonia, or paratyphoid fever in 1841.

The president who served the most amount of time was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He served from March 4th, 1933, until April 12th, 1945.

Did any president speak English as a second language? Yes, that was Martin Van Buren. His first language was Dutch.

Which president spoke Chinese? Herbert Hoover.

Which president spoke Hebrew? James Madison.

Which presidents grew up learning three languages? John Adams, who learned English, French, and Latin. Franklin Delano Roosevelt grew up speaking English, French, and German.

Which president claimed to have spoken five languages, other than English? Thomas Jefferson (ancient Greek, Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish)

7 thoughts on “Presidential trivia”

  1. Awesome, Alice! I go to a weekly Trivia game here in Australia, and you would be surprised how many questions we have about American Presidents. I just hope I can remember all these facts in case we ever have the right questions.
    Thank you 🙂

  2. Nice trivia list. For one of my music Mondays, I believe I included a You Tube video of Richard Nixon playing an original composition on piano (I forget the context, but it may have been on the Jack Paar show). I've been to a couple of Presidential birthplaces (Herbert Hoover, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt) and houses (Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe), have driven past Gerald Ford's childhood home, and have visited Mt. Vernon. Our Presidents are interesting people, regardless of their political and governing abilities.


    I don't know about TheDonald. I have heard more clearly that he is an adept cheater at golf. (It's believable to me, given the rest of his [lack of] character.)

  4. Thanks for feeding my trivia fix today. This is awesome. I had no idea that James Madison spoke Hebrew. I wonder how that happened. Now, I need to go find out.

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