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A Confusing History of President’s Day and some Fun Presidential Facts

Today, the third Monday in February marks President’s Day. It’s technically known as Washington’s Birthday, even though his birthday is still four days away. America has been celebrating Washington’s Birthday on February 22nd unofficially since 1796. Then in 1880, Congress made the date an official holiday.

The holiday shifted dates to the third Monday in February in 1968 because of a bill introduced by Congress that shifted a few holidays to Monday, in order to give American workers as many three day weekends as possible. During the debate of the bill, the name President’s Day was discussed because of President Lincoln’s birthday being on February 12th, just 10 days before Washington’s and although never officially changed, the name President’s Day gained widespread use in the 1980s.

Now that you know the etymology of President’s Day, here a few more fun facts that you can use to impress your friends.

  • Our current president, Barack Obama, was the first president to ever send or receive an email while in office, while Rutherford B. Hayes was the first president to use the telephone and John Quincy Adams was the first president to be photographed.
  • The oldest president ever elected was Ronald Reagan who was 69 when he was inaugurated in 1980. The Youngest? John F. Kennedy, who was 43 years old.
  • There have been eight left-handed presidents, including four of the last five. George W. Bush has been the only righty to serve since Jimmy Carter.
  • Abraham Lincoln was the tallest president at 6 feet 4 inches a full foot taller than the shortest president, James Madison.
  • William Henry Harrison had the shortest presidency. He was president for only one month in 1841, before dying of pneumonia.
  • Eight presidents were born in Virginia, while 31 states, including Wisconsin, have never seen the birth of a future president. 



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