The ultimate made men: One fought 100 duels. One could write in two languages at once. Another only wore suits he tailored. And more.
1. John Quincy Adams, the sixth president, regularly swam naked in the Potomac River to relieve stress.
2. Andrew Jackson, seventh president, fought more than 100 duels defending the honor of his wife, Rachel. He was shot in the chest in 1806, then in the arm in 1810 during a barfight with Missouri Sen. Thomas Hart Benton. The bullet stayed in his arm for 19 years.
3. John Tyler, tenth U.S. president, fathered 15 children, more than any other president—eight by his first wife, and seven by his second wife. Tyler was past his 70th birthday when his 15th child was born.
Abraham Lincoln was the only American president to be a licensed bartender; he co-owned a bar in Springfield, Illinois called Berry & Lincoln.
4. Sedated only by brandy, 11th president of the United States James Polk survived gall bladder surgery at the age of 17.
5. Millard Fillmore, 13th president, married his teacher; he met his first wife when he was a 19-year-old student at New Hope Academy in New York.
6. Andrew Johnson, the 17th U.S. president, never attended school. His future wife, Eliza McCardle, taught him to write at the age of 17.
7. Johnson only wore suits that he custom-tailored himself.
8. Abraham Lincoln was the only American president to be a licensed bartender; he co-owned a bar in Springfield, Illinois called Berry & Lincoln.
9. Ulysses S. Grant, 18th president of the United States, smoked 20 cigars a day.
10. Grant had an infamous capacity to drink any man under the table. When President Lincoln was warned about Grant’s drinking habits during the Civil War, he said, “If it makes fighting men like Grant, then find out what he drinks, and send my other commanders a case!”
Chester A. Arthur, 21st president, was known as “Elegant Arthur” for his interest in menswear. He owned 80 pairs of pants.
11. Both ambidextrous and multilingual, 20th president James Garfield could write Greek with one hand while writing Latin with the other.
12. Chester A. Arthur, 21st president, was known as “Elegant Arthur” for his interest in menswear. He owned 80 pairs of pants.
13. Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th president, underwent a secret operation aboard a yacht to remove his cancerous upper jaw in 1893.
14. 26th U.S. president Teddy Roosevelt was the first American to win the Nobel Prize.
15. Woodrow Wilson was the only U.S. president to hold a PhD. He didn’t learn to read until he was 11.
16. Warren Harding, 29th U.S. president, played poker at least twice a week, and once gambled away an entire set of White House china. His advisors were nicknamed the “Poker Cabinet” because they joined the president in his games.
17. Herbert Hoover, 31st U.S. president, published more than 16 books, including one called Fishing for Fun—and to Wash Your Soul.
When John F. Kennedy’s ship was sunk in World War II, he swam 3.5 miles pulling a wounded crewman by a strap held in his teeth.
18. Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States, was related, either by blood or by marriage, to 11 former presidents.
19. Military leader and 34th president of the U.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower loved to cook; he developed a recipe for vegetable soup that is 894 words long and includes the stems of nasturtium flowers as one of the ingredients.
20. When John F. Kennedy‘s ship was sunk in World War II, he swam 3.5 miles pulling a wounded crewman by a strap held in his teeth.
21. Ronald Reagan, 40th president, broke the so-called “20-year curse,” in which every president elected in a year ending in zero died in office.
22. Barack Obama owns a pair of boxing gloves once owned by Muhammad Ali.