HistoryBuff.com February 2009 Newsletter
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Presidential Inauguration Trivia

Subscriber Roland Cole sent me an email with some presidential inauguration triva. I have added some additional inauguration trivia for your enjoyment.

When Barack Hussein Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009, it was Abraham Lincoln's Bible that was utilized when he was sworn into office.

Thomas Jefferson was the first president to be inaugurated in Washington, DC, then called Federal City.

The first presidential inauguration of George Washington was held in New York City, on April 30, 1789, at Federal Hall in lower Manhattan.

George Washingtonís second inauguration was the first to be held in Philadelphia. His swearing in took place in the Senate Chamber of Congress Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 4,1793. This inaugural address was the shortest on record, 133 words.

The first U. S. President not born a British subject was Martin VanBuren

William H. Harrison gave the longest inaugural address at 8,445 words.

James Buchanan's was the first inauguration to be photographed.

The first inauguration ceremony to be recorded by a motion picture camera was William McKinley's.

The first president to ride to and from his inaugural in an automobile was Warren G. Harding.

Calvin Coolidge's inauguration was the first to be broadcast on radio.

The first inauguration to be televised was Harry S Truman's.

Lyndon Johnson was the only president to be sworn in by a woman, U.S. District Judge Sarah T. Hughes.

The only retired presidents that did not attend their successors' inauguration ceremonies were John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Johnson, and Richard Nixon.

Thomas Jefferson began the custom of writing to Congress to accept the inauguration and arrange the time for the ceremonies.

Rutherford B. Hayes was the first president to take the oath of office in the White House.

The first president whose mother attended the inauguration was James A. Garfield's.

The only president not sworn in on a Bible for his inauguration was Theodore Roosevelt. It was also this inauguration that telephones were installed to carry the ceremony live to the press.

The only president to be given the oath of office by his father was Calvin Coolidge.

The first president to be inaugurated with both of his parents present was John F. Kennedy. He was also the last president to wear traditional stovepipe hat to the inauguration.

Richard Nixon was the first to take the oath of office utilizing two Bibles. They were family heirlooms.

Educating the Educator

In the last issue, I related several stories to you about what I call functional illiterates from the consumer side of the issue. This time I am going to relate some shocking situations I was in while working for a school district back in the late-seventies and early-eighties.

Fall term of 1976 I was doing my practice teaching at a junior high. I taught seventh-grade history and science. The first day I was to meet with the principal. He gave me a lecture about how "certain students" should be ignored and I shouldnít waste my time with them. He never came out and told me what specific students he was referring to.

By way of format, I prepared had to prepare the lesson plans and they had to be approved by the teacher of that class. Also, while teaching, the teacher was there to observe me at all times. The very first day, I explained the assignment to the students then inquired if they had any questions. A few students raised their hand. I called on Rusty, I will never forget his name, and he asked a question. Before I could reply, the teacher at the back of the room said loud enough for everyone in the room to hear, "You were told to ignore the dummies. Go on to the next person." I was shocked but went ahead and called on another student. Her question was identical to Rustyís. The teacher then said aloud that her question was a good one and deserved an answer! It didnít take long for me to figure out that it was the slow learners that I was supposed to ignore. I didnít agree with this at all, but my teaching credentials were on the line so I told my professor about the situation. He advised that unfortunately he had no control over the situation and just to do my best. At the end of the term, I met with my professor for my evaluation. Imagine, under the "Negative Comments" section, the teacher had written "Spends time with slow learners."

Two years later I had my first real job in a school. Although this middle school was in the same city as the junior high I did my practice teaching, it was in a different school district. I worked there for the next seven years. This district was quite unusual in the economic make-up. The school was comprised of students ranging from families on welfare all the way up to children of General Motors executives. In many cases, I found that it was the children of the higher-income parents that created the most problems. The lower-income familes tended to spend more time together and cooperated with the school to keep their children in line.

My first term of the school year, I ran into a problem. One student did not turn in any homework the entire term. Also, when it came to quizzes and tests, all he did was write his name on the paper and did not answer any questions. I gave him several warnings, advised the principal and school counselor, sent letters to his home, left messages on his parentís answering machine several times, and even telephoned them at their place of work. They always told me they were busy and took my name and number and told me that they would call me back later. They never did return the calls. They also never attended the parent-teacher conferences. At the end of the term I gave this student an F. Sure enough, two days after report cards were issued, his parents demanded a meeting with me. The student, both of his parents, the principal, school counselor, and I were at the meeting. The parents demanded to know why I had flunked their son. I was dumbfounded to say the least. The principal jumped in and told them why and asked them why they hadnít responded to the school notifications before. What they said next stunned us all. The parents informed us that it was the teacher's responsibility to teach the students, not theirs, and that since I failed to teach their son anything, I should be fired! The school administration backed me up, so the parents moved their son to a different school.

It was a spring day and I was walking the halls looking for students who should have been in class. There, in one corner of a hallway, was an eighth-grade boy sitting on the floor and crying. This was not a boy that had ever skipped a class before and received good grades. I approached him and cautiously asked him if he needed any help. He then told me the problem. His father had demanded that he be held back in the eighth-grade. I was puzzled. His grades were mostly A's and a few B's. His attendance was great and he had never been sent to the principalís office for misbehaving. The student then told me that his father wanted him to play football on the high school varsity team. By holding him back, the son would be larger and heavier than the rest of the ninth-grade students and thus stand a better chance of making the team. The student, of course, was upset. He told me that he didnít want to be held back because then all of his friends he had known since Kindergarten would be going to another school. Also, he hated playing football. He only played it to please his father. The school administration refused to hold the boy back. The father pulled him out of that school and enrolled him in a different school district Ė in the eighth-grade.

Another day I was in the school gymnasium monitoring the students. A sixth-grade girl was off by herself and crying. I slowly approached her and asked her if there was anything I could do to help. She handed me her report card. It had all Aís and one A minus. I was confused. The girl then told me that her parent's rule was that she had to have all A's or she would be grounded for the next term because she had not studied enough. I reminded her that she did have all Aís. She responded that it was the A minus that would get her grounded. They all had to be straight Aís. Anything less would result in her being grounded. Imagine the stress she was under. I then went to the teacher that gave her the A minus and related to him what the girl had told me. He agreed with me and changed the grade to a straight A.

Over a period of time, I had overheard a sixth-grade student relating how she received an allowance of $500 a month. That's even more than some adults were earning by working full time! (This was 1983.) Her parents were both executives at General Motors. As time went on I learned that her allowance was to not only cover going to movies, school functions, etc., but she also had to buy her own groceries and clothes. She also had to fix her own meals and do her laundry. A maid came in once a week to clean house. Her parents were seldom at home. They went out to dinner every night, routinely attended several social functions, and flew off to some resort or another on weekends; All without their daughter! (This was way before the "Home Alone" movies.) As time went on, I discovered that, despite her high allowance, she was always broke. When "payday" came, her so-called friends would constantly "borrow" money from her and never pay it back. I tried suggesting to her that she not loan any more money to her friends. Her reply was that if she didnít, she wouldnít have any friends. This was a downright shame on all counts. I wonder what she grew up to be.

The following story I consider to be the most disturbing incident while I worked at that school:

One day, while on lunch duty, I was outdoors in the school yard keeping my eye on the students. I walked by a bench with three students on it. All three were eighth-graders - two girls and one boy. As I was walked past the bench, I overheard a few key words that perked my ears. The conversation went something like this:

Girl One: "Can you come over to my house today after school."

Girl Two: "I canít. Iím grounded."

Boy: "What did you do to get grounded?"

Girl Two: "Last night I took a bottle of Momís pills to kill myself."

Boy: "What happened?

Girl Two: "My parents took me to the emergency room and had my stomach pumped out."

Girl One: "What did your parents say about it?"

Girl Two: "They told me that I was grounded for 3 months and if I ever tried it again I would be grounded for six months."

Boy: "Did your parents ask you any questions about it?"

Girl Two: "No. They just told me I was grounded."

I reported this conversation to the school counselor. The last I heard was that the girl's parents told him that it was none of his business. Where was child protective services?

HistoryBuff.com Update

I spent the last six weeks researching and entering data about United States senators. Now, every state, in addition to an updated list of governors and their terms, I have added lists of the senators names and terms of office for each state. They can be accessed by going to:


While researching the senators, I learned some trivia that I included in the previous issue of this newsletter. I also came across other fascinating facts.

There has only been one person elected to be a senator from three different states. James Shields was elected to the senate representing Illinois in 1849. After his term was over, he ran for reelection but lost. He then moved to Minnesota and was elected to their senate in 1858. After the Civil War, Shields moved to California for a few years and then moved to Missouri. In 1879 he was elected to the senate representing Missouri.

The longest serving senator was Strom Thurmond who represented South Carolina. He held the office from 1954 to 2003. He was 100 years old and still a senator when he died. He is also the only senator elected by a write-in vote.

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Help Support HistoryBuff.com

January Contest

CONTEST ONE QUESTION: There are three classes of united States senators. What is the difference between class one, class two and class three?

ANSWER: Several subscribers stated that Class One senators were elected to two-year terms; Class Two senators were elected to four-year terms; and Class Three senators were elected to six-year terms. This is incorrect. A few also stated the difference was Junior, Senior and Incumbent. This is also incorrect. The correct answer is that ALL senators are elected to six-year terms. Elections occur every two years with only one-third up for reelection every two years. This was set up that way in the Constitution. This way, it would be impossible for the entire senate to be replaced by new senators every six years.

CONTEST TWO QUESTION: What is Barack Obama's middle name?

ANSWER: Everyone got this one correct. Obama's middle name is Hussein.

One-hundred-twelve people entered. Forty-seven people had errors in their entry. Other than the incorrect answer, the most common error was not selecting a prize. There were also entries where they selected a prize from the Contest One prize list, but answered the Contest Two question or answered the Contest One question but selected a prize fom the Contest Two prize list. A few had the incorrect subject heading. All prizes were claimed.
The December Contest Winners Were:
  • Tifona Fiedler - Kansas
  • Josie James - Oklahoma
  • Rhonda Hawkins - Maryland
  • Evelyn Cooper - Maine
  • Wendy Coburn - Utah
  • Jim Byrnes - Illinois
  • Jim Sattler - Tennessee
  • Tony Skinner - Oklahoma
  • William H. Sutherland, Jr. - Mississippi
  • Ellen Losey - Illinois

This Issue's Questions:

To enter Contest One, answer the question: American newspapers dated July 21, 1969 carried the main headline about Man landing on the Moon. There was also another major news event involving a person in politics that also made front page coverage on the same date newspapers. For both events, the press covered them widely for several days. This person is still in the news today. What was this event and who did it happen to?

To enter Contest Two, answer the question: Which president served two terms that were NOT consecutive?


Contest Rules

  • Contest entry deadline is Wednesday, February 18, 2009. Later entries will be disqualified. Winners will be notified by email within 24 hours after the contest deadline. Winners' names and states will be published in the next issue of the HistoryBuff.com newsletter.

  • To enter Contest One or Contest Two, email your answer to curator at historyreference.org

  • To enter Contest One, use "Contest One Entry" for the emailed contest entry subject heading and answer the Contest One question. Any other subject heading will be disqualified.

  • To enter Contest Two, use "Contest Two Entry" for the emailed contest entry subject heading and answer the Contest Two question. Any other subject heading will be disqualified.

  • Subscribers may enter both contests, but only win one prize.

  • If entering both contests, entries must be sent in separate emails.

  • Each entry MUST select ONE prize from the appropriate prize list.

  • If answering the Contest One question, select your prize from the Contest One prize list.

  • If answering the Contest Two question, select your prize from the Contest Two prize list.

  • From subscribers entering the contest, submitting the correct answer, correct subject heading, submission received by the deadline, as well as advising which ONE contest prize they want to win, NINE will be selected to win ONE of the contest prizes below.

  • Subscribers to this newsletter that won a prize in my trivia contests in the last 90 days are ineligible to win.
February Contest One Prize Selection
(Only one of each offered)

Hard Bound Book

The Quest For the Lost Roman Legions:
Discovering the Varus Battlefield
By Tony Clunn

In 9 A.D., the 17th, 18th & 19th Roman legions and their auxiliary troops under command of Publius Quinctilius Varus vanished in the boggy wilds of Germania. They died singly and by the hundreds over several days in a carefully planned ambush led by Arminius-a Roman-trained German warrior determined to stop Rome's advance east beyond the Rhine River. By the time it was over, some 25,000 men, women, and children were dead and the course of European history had been forever altered. As the decades slipped past, the location of one of the western world's most important battlefields was lost to history for two millenia.

The book can be ordered from Amazon.com.

For information on all books published by
Casemate Publishing visit their Web site.


Collection of 4 Movies

Gene Autry Movies (1930s)

The Big show
Boots and Saddles
Spingtime in the Rockies
Riders of the Whilstling Pines

February Contest Two Prize Selection
(Only one of each offered)


Home Town Story (1951)
Staring Marilyn Monroe


The Three Stooges (1951)
Featuring Moe, Larry, and Curly

Original Historic Newspapers

Original New York Observer historic newspaper from 1836

The Atlas (Boston) historic newspaper from 1837

Original Manchester American (New Hampshire) historic newspaper from 1853

Original Coldwater Republican (Michigan) historic newspaper from 1876
That's it for this issue.

Rick Brown

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