10 Fun Facts About President Taft

Ohio is known as the “Mother of Presidents,” as 8 of our 43 presidents hailed from the Buckeye State. President Taft is arguably Ohio’s most famous president. September 15 marks President Taft’s 159th birthday, and to celebrate, The Taft Museum (his half-brother’s home) is dedicating this month’s Third Sunday Funday to this larger-than-life figure. Today, we’re dedicating our Online Spotlight space to Taft. Here are 10 fun facts about President Taft:


1. He went to Woodward High School.

Yep — that Woodward High School!

2. He was super smart

Taft attended Yale College, where he ranked 2nd out of a class of 121 students. He later pursued a law degree in Cincinnati.

3. He worked as a Cincy beat reporter

Taft covered courthouse news for The Cincinnati Commercial to help pay his way as a law student.

4. He preferred the judicial branch to the executive

Taft served as 27th President of the United States {1909-1913}, but is famously quoted as preferring law to the presidency.

(Taft served as Chief Justice from 1921-30 and is the only person to have held both positions.)

5. He was the last president to rock a ‘stache.

Between the Lincoln and Taft administrations, all but two commanders-in-chief boasted some sort of facial hair. But since Taft left the White House in 1913, clean-shaven candidates have reigned supreme.

6. He was the first in a powerful political dynasty

Taft;s son Robert was an influential senator known as “Mr. Republican” — and great grandson William Howard Taft IV worked for both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

7. He was the first President to throw an opening pitch

In 1910, Walter Johnson managed to catch a ball Taft threw from the stands at the beginning of a Washington Senators game. This began an Opening Day tradition that still stands today.

8. He had a habit of nodding off

We’ve all noticed public figures looking sleepy at the State of the Union — but Taft would literally fall asleep! President Taft was famously seen snoozing at parties, operas, funerals and even church.

9. He lost 70 lbs after leaving the White House

At 350 pounds, Taft is the largest U.S. President to date. After his tenure at the White House, Taft gave up bread, potatoes, pork and liquor to shed 70 pounds.

10. He didn’t actually get stuck in the tub

No evidence can be found to support this legend; in fact, Taft requested an extra large tub once elected. A Manhattan company specially crafted a seven foot, 41 inch wide, one-ton tub for Taft — literally the largest solid porcelain tub ever made for an individual.

Celebrate President Taft this Sunday from 1-4 p.m. at the Taft Museum! There will be lots of presidential fun and activities — and at 2 p.m,. a park ranger from the William Howard Taft National Historic Site will share lots of fun stories about our 27th President. Admission and parking are free!

Sources: 1. History.com, Did William Howard Taft Really Get Stuck in the Bathtub? | 2. Mental Floss, 15 Wonderful William Howard Taft Facts | Biography.com, William Howard Taft.

Photo credit: History.com, Taft, William Howard.

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