Sunday, April 26, 2015

First Lady Notties

So, we've got our First Lady hotties right here (and some presidential ones here). Now, let's take a look at some from the other extreme.


Hey, it’s Aunt Jenny, from Spry Shortening (thanks, James Lileks) … albeit a much more serious version.

Okay, so it’s not Aunt Jenny. Here are some clues as to who it really is though:
  • A real cougar, she was five years older than her hubby
  • He referred to her as “The Duchess”
  • He cheated on her right and left
  • There are rumors that she did him in

Wow! These two were …

Warren G Harding and Florence Kling DeWolfe Harding


Zontra – the thing with two brains!

Actually, no. This is merely the wife of the 25th president of the United States. The things on her head are just a hairdo – all the rage in, oh, 1900 or so.

So, if that wasn’t enough to give it away, here are some more clues (primarily of a medical nature):
  • She had a nervous breakdown after the death of the couple’s two daughters
  • She had epilepsy
  • She took barbiturates, laudanum, and other drugs
  • She was largely an invalid as First Lady
  • Everyone liked how solicitous the president was of her

Give up? They were …

William McKinley and Ida Saxton McKinley.


Hard to believe, but this elderly-looking frumpster also made the First Lady hotties list as well. 

How can that be? Oh, subtract 40 years or so. Here are some more hints:
  • She was a cougar too – by about eight months
  • She could read and write (unlike most women of her date, place, and class)
  • She was 5 feet “tall,” more than a foot shorter than her spouse
  • His nickname for her was “Patsy”

Got it yet? Well, this will give it away.

She was married to this fellow:

And her name was Martha Washington.


Double feature!

This president was married to these two lovely ladies. The first was named Abigail; the second, Caroline. The first one was actually the First Lady, but died less than a month after leaving office. The second would marry the ex-president five years later.

As for the first one, she’s another cougar, being a year older than her hubby. You won’t believe where they met though. It was in school, but – get this! – she was actually his teacher

As for the second one, she was much wealthier than her hubby, and actually had him sign a prenup.

Clueless? I don’t blame you. So, he was …

Millard Fillmore. And they were Abigail Powers Fillmore and Caroline Carmichael McIntosh Fillmore.



Here’s another guy who knew how to pick ‘em.

The first one was named Ellen, and she died while First Lady. The second was named Edith, and the president married her after the shockingly short mourning period (for then) of a little more than a year.

Ellen was noted for being an accomplished artist. She died of Bright’s disease, at age 53. 

Edith was basically the chief executive while her husband recovered from a stroke.

Him? Well, he wasn’t anything special himself – a lanky, bespectacled academic with absolutely horrible teeth. I’m talking about …

Woodrow Wilson. And his two wives were Ellen Axson Wilson and Edith Bolling Galt Wilson.


Hard to believe, but here’s another president who was “hot for teacher.”

In this case, it wasn’t a formal relationship though. Turns out he was basically illiterate, she was not, and she tutored him in the early days of their marriage.

Like a surprising number of First Ladies, Eliza here was an invalid through most of her husband’s presidency. She would eventually die of TB, five months after her husband passed away.

Give up? They’re …

Andrew Johnson and Eliza McCardle Johnson.


Needless to say, this lady did look a lot more attractive at one time – say, 40 some years before this portrait was made. As it turns out, she was also quite smart and accomplished as well. She had no trouble keeping up with her equally smart husband, and their voluminous correspondence is quite fascinating.

She also played a major role in her husband’s administration, being called “Mrs. President” behind her back. She had very enlightened views on women’s rights, slavery, and religion.
So, I guess looks aren’t everything, huh?

Have you guessed who we’re talking about here yet? He was …

John Adams. And she was Abigail Adams.


When I said looks aren’t everything, I wasn’t kidding.

This First Lady, for example, may be the most impactful one we’ve ever had (if Hilary doesn’t get elected president next year, that is).

For one thing, she was First Lady longer than anyone else. She also spent a good deal of her “time in office” constantly travelling the country to tout her husband’s agenda (as well as her own). And, after “stepping down,” she took on the job of US ambassador to the UN.

Who is it? It’s …

Eleanor Roosevelt!


Holy cow!

I was worried that this one was a mistake. This particular First Lady wasn’t especially attractive, but all her other shots are a whole lot better than this.

Well, I did notice a couple of things about those other shots:
  • They were typically posed
  • She almost never smiled

So, maybe there was a reason for those two things. Anyway, here are a few more clues:
  • She and her POTUS met in childhood
  • They had only one child, a very talented daughter named Margaret
  • She hated being a public figure, and did as little being seen in public as she could get away with
  • She was the longest living FLOTUS, passing away at age 97

Who are we talking about here?

Bess and Harry Truman


Short, fat, and with crossed eyes, this poor thing takes the cake / steals the show / wins the blue ribbon / grabs the brass ring …

Julia here was actually quite a popular FLOTUS. She thoroughly enjoyed being First Lady, entertaining lavishly and relishing being the belle of the ball.

She and her hubby were also quite devoted to each other. Interestingly, though, their marriage was initially opposed by both families. On her side, they thought this future president would never amount to anything. On his side, they did not want their boy to marry into a family of slaveholders. 

Here is one last hint … She is buried in this guy’s tomb:

And she is Julia Dent Grant.

Alright, now how about some presidential mugs?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Presidential Notties

Well, we've had our presidential hotties (and first lady hotties as well). How about some guys from the other side of the aisle (so to speak)?


Not an unattractive fellow, it’s the hair that got this guy onto the list. I mean, honestly, had combs not been invented before the Civil War?

Yup, this guy was one of those mid-19th-century nobodies between Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln. Here are some other hints as to his identity:

  • Before becoming a Whig, he belonged to the Anti-Masonic party
  • He would later run for president on the Know Nothing ticket
  • He was the second VP to become president upon the death of his boss
  • He probably has the funniest name of all the presidents

Give up? It’s …

Millard Fillmore


Few knew it, but our 25th president was actually one of the undead.

This scary-looking guy is mostly known for getting shot. He also:

  • Was the only president between Jackson and Wilson to be clean-shaven
  • Served in the Civil War under another president, Rutherford B Hayes
  • Was the first president to ride in an automobile
  • Appeared on the $500 bill (last printed in 1934)
  • Annexed Hawaii and went to war with Spain

And our first vampire president was …

William McKinley
(hmm, not much of a difference between those two portraits, now is there?)


It’s amazing what a beard – a real beard, mind you – can do for you.

This guy was part of that blur of nobodies between Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. Not that much to remember him by, but I’ll give it the ol’ college try. So, did you know that this guy:

  • Was only 5’6”
  • Was a general in the Civil War (another one!)
  • Had the most states admitted during his administration, with six
  • Had electricity installed in the White House
  • Was known as “The Human Iceberg”
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the 23rd president of the United States …

Benjamin Harrison


Affectionately called President Porker …

Actually, this guy was not really an overweight tub of goo. Musta been the camera angle. Or maybe the lighting. Wait a minute ... This is a painting.

So, you’re probably wondering who this might be. Well, I can tell you that he was indeed bald. I can also relate that:

  • He was ambassador to Russia, Prussia, and the Netherlands before becoming president
  • He was sworn in using a copy of the Constitution, and not the Bible
  • While president, he liked to swim naked in the Potomac
  • After being president, he was elected to the House
  • Oh, his dad was president too

No, it’s not George W Bush. It’s …

John Quincy Adams


Future presidents learned from this man not to overdo the makeup when sitting for their official photos.

Now, this guy wasn’t especially good looking, but I can guarantee you he looked a lot better than he looks here. Here are some other clues to his identity:

  • He was awarded 87 honorary degrees
  • He lived in China and spoke a little Chinese
  • He was the first president born west of the Mississippi
  • He was a member of Stanford’s first graduating class
  • He’s one of two Quaker presidents

He also did quite a deal of good, but is mostly remembered for the Great Depression. He’s …

Herbert Hoover


They say his brain was the size of a small watermelon …

Well, I don’t know about that. I do know that he was bald, and was also rather famous for his whiskers.  I can also tell you that he:

  • Was the first president born an American citizen
  • Grew up speaking Dutch
  • Ran for re-election without a vice presidential candidate
  • Was known as The Red Fox,” “The Little Magician,” and “Old Kinderhook”

So, who do we have here?

Martin Van Buren


It’s an odd – and unfortunate – thing when your portrait is ten times less attractive than your photograph. I thought they could fix that kinda stuff up.

In addition to being not this bad looking, this president also:

  • Campaigned with the slogan “Fifty-four, Forty or Fight”
  • Promised not to run for re-election (and kept that promise)
  • Was the first president to have his photo taken while in office (see below)
  • Took us to war with Mexico
  • Died three months after leaving office

He also just so happened to have been born two miles down the road from me. I kid you not.

Did that last hint totally give it away? Yup, this dude is indeed …

James K Polk


Hey, nice hat!

I’m trying to think of another president who looks less like his younger self than this guy. Quite an interesting fellow, some of his many accomplishments include:

  • Climbing the Matterhorn
  • Writing 38 books
  • Winning the Congressional Medal of Honor
  • Winning the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Being the youngest president ever

Could it be? Yes, it is. It’s …

Teddy Roosevelt


This picture alone includes two important clues. This president fought in World War I. He also wore glasses (in fact, he had incredibly poor vision).

Need some more clues? How about:

  • His mother was in an internment camp during the Civil War
  • He read every book in the his hometown’s public library
  • He never went to college
  • His middle initial didn’t stand for anything

Yup, that weird looking dude is none other than …

Harry S Truman


Kind of ironic that our greatest president was also our least attractive. I'm sure there's no way this guy would ever have gotten elected dog catcher these days.

There’s been a lot of speculation over the years about what accounts for this fellow’s less than good looks. One early culprit was Marfan syndrome. Some of its symptoms – which he shared – include excessive tallness, long limbs, large hands and feet, and a sunken chest.

He was, however, strong and athletic, unlike most Marfan victims. He also seems to have none of the heart or eye problems that often come with the syndrome.

The latest theory holds that Lincoln suffered from a marfanoid disorder called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B (MEN2B). Whatever it was, he most certainly got it from his mother, Nancy Hanks, who shared many of the same physical characteristics.

Well, whatever it was, I’m sure you’ve already guessed that this fellow is indeed …

Abraham Lincoln
(the best looking picture I could find of him)

Dishonorable Mention
  • William Howard Taft
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Andrew Johnson
  • James Buchanan
  • Grover Cleveland
  • LBJ
  • Zachary Taylor
  • James Madison
  • William Henry Harrison
  • Richard Nixon

Saturday, April 11, 2015

First Lady Hotties


Not typically considered a hottie, there are definitely some pix out there (like this one) that have to make you wonder. Of course, there are also some out there that seem to argue just the opposite. I guess you could say she’s kind of a polarizing figure.

Love her or hate her, there is no arguing she is the most accomplished First Lady of all time. A Wellesley and Yale Law grad, she also practiced law, was a U.S. Senator and also Secretary of State.

There’s a chance we may soon be calling her Madame President as well. May I present to you …

... Hillary Rodham Clinton


She wasn’t First Lady for very long – a mere seven months. Her husband was shot by a demented office seeker less than four months into his term. He lingered for another three, but eventually succumbed (some say to the primitive medical treatment he received).

She would survive him by 36 years, never remarrying. The two had met in college, married when they were both 26, had five children together, and were said to have a very close, loving marriage.

He was …

... James A Garfield. She was the former Lucretia Rudolph. 


This is one of the tougher ones. The difference between the bathing beauty in this photo and the white-haired, grandmotherly figure we know from her days in the White House is pretty much as complete as can be.

Need a hint? Well, she’s one of only two first ladies who had a son to go on to become president. And I understand there’s a possibility she might become the first First Lady to have two sons become president.

Hard to believe but, yup, it’s …

... Barbara Bush



Our country’s only presidential bigamist, she married her future POTUS when she was still married to somebody else. It would become something of an issue when he subsequently ran for president.

She would actually never officially become First Lady, though, dying less than four months before her husband was inaugurated. Her death would send the president-elect into a major depression, and he would stay unmarried, until his death, almost 20 years later.

Though no actual photographs of her were ever taken, it was said that she had:

lustrous black eyes, dark glossy hair, full red lips, brunette complexion, though of brilliant coloring, [and] a sweet oval face rippling with smiles and dimples.

You’ve actually run across her hubby before, under Presidential Hotties. He was none other than … 

... Andrew Jackson. And she was Rachel Donelson Robards Jackson.


Between Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, our nation had ten presidents, none of whom can – or should – be remembered. This lovely lady was married to one of those guys.

His main claim to fame was his incredible whiskers. She was known for dying young, at age 42, less than two years before her husband became president. He never really fully recovered.

Two interesting facts about her:

  • She had an excellent (soprano) voice
  • She was from Virginia, and had kinfolk fighting for the Confederacy while her husband fought for the Union

He was … 

... Chester Alan Arthur. She was Ellen Lewis Herndon.


This lovely young thing was also married to one of those latter 19-Century ciphers. The two were, in fact, married in the White House – the first time that had ever happened.

They were a bit of an odd couple. He was an inveterate bachelor, not quite 50 years old, 260 lbs., and with a ridiculous walrus mustache.  She was 21, petite, gorgeous, and his ward.

She would become a phenomenon, as would their child, Baby Ruth (whence the candy bar). She would later remarry, living until after World War II.


Grover Cleveland. Her? Frances Folsom Cleveland Perkins.


Well, heck, they were both movie stars. So, I would imagine they would both rank pretty high.

The first one was wed to the president long before he became the president. They were married nine years before divorcing. She actually won an Oscar for Best Actress (in Johnny Belinda), but is probably better known as the matriarch on Falcon Crest.

The second one is the one who hung around and made First Lady. She had about a fifth of the credits of the first wife. She was very devoted to her POTUS, but was something of a controversial figure, including:

  • Spending incredible amounts on inaugural parties, clothes, and china
  • Having very strained relations with her children, step and otherwise
  • Employing an astrologer to help with presidential decisions

Guessed yet?  You probably got the last one …


… Nancy (Davis) Reagan. The first was Jane Wyman.


This is a modern re-creation, but it is based on some sophisticated age-regression analysis from the Forensic Anthropology department at a major university. And what it’s telling me is that a woman who everyone thinks of as a frumpy, plump presidential matron was – at least at one point – a pretty darn saucy, petite little hottie.

She was also a widow with enormous amounts of money, and the story is usually that her future husband (and future POTUS) married her just for that. This re-creation tells me, though, it might have been more than just that.

Give up? Well, would you believe this is the first First Lady? Yup, it’s … 

... Martha Washington


Another recreation, this is not, however, the result of any sophisticated software. That said, this lady was supposed to be quite the looker.

Her husband, the future president (and something of a hottie himself), was quite enamored of her. After her death, from complications of childbirth at age 33, he would faint, then not leave his room for three weeks. Though quite the lusty fellow, he would stay unmarried until his death, 43 years later.

This is a bit of a tough one. This lovely lady was married to this guy:

Yup, it’s Thomas Jefferson and Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson.



As if there was any doubt. Her husband was a hottie as well. I think it’s pretty obvious who this is, but I’ll bet you didn’t know that she:
  • Had a sister who married a Polish prince
  • Spoke perfect French
  • Was a photojournalist before marriage
  • Won an Emmy
  • Left a $43M dollar estate at her death

Yup, it’s …

... Jackie O, AKA Jacquelyn Bouvier Kennedy Onasis

Honorable Mention:
  • Michelle Obama
  • Lucy Hayes
  • Betty Ford
  • Louisa Adams
  • Letitia Tyler / Isabella Gardiner Tyler
  • Lou Hoover
  • Lady Bird Johnson
  • Sarah Polk
  • Jane Appleton Pierce
  • Dolley Madison

How about some presidential hotties? Or maybe some First Ladies from the other end of the spectrum?