President William McKinley looking kinda grimly, surrounded by military officers of the Spanish-American War, including Majors-General Joseph Wheeler, Henry Ware Lawton, William Rufus Shafter and J. Warren Keifer.
This photo looks to have been created in 1898 - Lawton would be killed in December 1899 during the Philippine–American War.
During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson had flocks of sheep on the White House lawn. Although previous presidents had kept farm animals as pets, these sheep were part of a Presidential initiative to support the war effort. The sheep grazed on lawns as a way of lowering groundskeeping costs. When the sheep were sheared, their wool was auctioned off to help raise money for the Red Cross, totaling $52,823 by the end of the war.
Al Smith, the first Catholic nominated for the presidency by a major party, faced vicious anti-Catholic prejudice during his 1928 run against Herbert Hoover. The opposition claimed that under a Catholic president, Protestant marriages would be annulled, bibles would be banned and the Pope would have a special office in the White House. The Lincoln Tunnel, then under construction, was rumored to be a secret passage to bring him from Rome to Washington.
Should Al Smith Be President? by Selsus E. Tull, D.D., Pine Bluff, Arkansas, via Baylor University - Central Libraries
To mark the beginning of baseball season, Steven Goldman over at SBNation has put together the definitive guide to understanding American history - through presidential first pitches! This post looks at 1910-1945, covering Taft, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, and FDR, and we’ve got to say, the pitches alone seem like a pretty good window on presidential style! Also, is it just us, or is there a zombie in the front row at Taft’s game?
JFK and Superman #JFK #jfkpresidentiallibrary (at John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum)
Let’s take a moment and consider James K. Polk
and how you could do a perfect ski jump off the end of his mullet.
“I think this would be a good time for beer.”
-Franklin Roosevelt, March 12, 1933
One of the most popular bills enacted during the First100 Days had nothing to do with banking, farms, or public works.
During the 1932 campaign, FDR had come out against Prohibition. The 18th Amendment, ratified 13 years earlier, banned the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors. Meant to end the curse of alcoholism, it had led instead to lawlessness and helped foster organized crime. A constitutional amendment to repeal it was working its way through the state legislatures. But Roosevelt saw a way to quench the voters’ thirst more quickly. He signed into law the Beer-Wine Revenue Act that legalized (and taxed) beverages containing no more than 3.2 percent alcohol—which the authors of the new law carefully defined as “non-intoxicating.” Millions of Americans celebrated the return of legal beer. Prohibition was officially repealed by the 21st Amendment in December 1933.
William Jennings Bryan at the Southern Pacific Depot at 3rd and Townsend in San Francisco. Bryan was in town for the 1920 Democratic Convention.
Bryan, a three-time presidential candidate, hoped to convince the Party to support Prohibition. With that failure, any lingering hope that the Democrats might single him out for nomination again faded as well. According to The New York Times, July 7, 1920:
There were a few cries for Bryan, but the “Commoner,” who had met defeat over his platform and had nothing more to do with the convention, was nowhere in sight. Chairman Robinson then, at 3:30 o’clock, announced the adjournment of the convention sine die.The Democrats instead nominated Ohio Governor James Cox and then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The photo is in one of two volumes from Hamilton Henry Dobbin (1856-1930) titled “Album of San Francisco.”
PHOTO ALBUM-VAULT: ** fc917.9461 A3, Vol. II, page 218 bottom left.California Hist. Room (CALIF) : Picture Collection, California State Library Search: Picture Catalog / “William Jennings Bryan arriving in San Francisco.”