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The American Presidency

A Glorious Burden: "As to the presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the office and my surrender of it." President Martin Van Buren

President William McKinley poses for a photograph with his wife Ida Saxton McKinley in his office circa 1900

First Lady Mamie Eisenhower enjoying a Good Humor ice cream bar in 1955.

April 6, 1965. Lady Bird plants a cherry tree at the Cherry Blossom festival in the Washington D.C. Tidal Basin.

During a photo op with Congressman Curt Weldon and his family in the oval office, President Ronald Reagan is 'photobombed' by Weldon's youngest son on September 14, 1987. Weldon was a ten-year member of the United States House of Representatives representing Pennsylvania.

Gerald R. Ford, Jr. high school graduation portrait. 1931

President Obama and Former Presidents Carter, Clinton and Bush joke backstage at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

June 29, 1956 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Federal Aid Highway Act, creating the Interstate Highway System.

Photo shows boy scouts standing outside the White House after receiving badges from President Woodrow Wilson on February 11, 1915. Left to right: Howard Gatley, recognized with an honor medal for saving a life; and new Eagle Scouts Edward Pardoe, Samuel Hardy, Edward Sheiry, Clinton Allard, and Frank Watson.

With President George Bush and Barbara Bush.

Katharine Hepburn, 1940 // Eating chowder with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at his Val-Kill cottage in Hyde Park, New York. A group of writers, actors and musicians had gathered there to plan a radio show in support of him.

President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jackie Kennedy, and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson watching a broadcast of Alan Shephard's space flight, May 5, 1961. Photo by Cecil Stoughton. Public domain.

Betty Ford and comedian Marty Allen grooved to the Marine Band’s rendition of “I Feel the Earth Move.” Everyone else cleared the dance floor...

Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, informal shot in Newburgh, New York. (May 7, 1905)

On March 6, 1933, Eleanor Roosevelt held the first of her 348 women’s only press conferences. Before this time, First Ladies had little contact with reporters. Eleanor recognized that holding regular conferences could enhance the public role of the First Lady - a role she transformed during her 12 years in the White House.

Future First Lady Lou Henry posing on a burro at Acton, California, 8/22/1891 (Hoover Presidential Library) Lou Henry Hoover was a scientist, polyglot, author, Girl Scout supporter, and world traveler. She mixed smarts, practicality, and adventure. Apparently Herbert Hoover was charmed “by her whimsical mind, her blue eyes and a broad grinnish smile.”

Infographic on where our presidents did (or didn't!) go to college.

Teddy Roosevelt at Jackson's Tomb at the Hermitage, Nashville, Tennessee.

FDR, Eleanor, and their first two children

President Andrew Johnson grew up in poverty. When he met and married his wife at the age of 18, he only knew the alphabet and could read a little. His wife was better educated than him and taught him how to write and do arithmetic.

Almost every member of Teddy Roosevelt's family owned a pair of wooden stilts including, some sources state, the President and First Lady. He once caught his son Quentin trampling the flower bed with his stilts and ordered his son out of the gardens. At his rebuking Quentin sullenly responded, “I don’t see what good it does me for you to be President.”

Hoover aboard ship, January 11, 1917

Lt. John F. Kennedy receives the Navy and Marine Corps Medal from Capt. Franklin Conklin, commanding officer Chelsea Naval Hospital, Mass. in 1945.

George W. Bush on a field trip with his dad, George H.W. Bush, to the oil fields outside Midland, TX, circa 1955.