Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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August 22nd
A Few Presidential Firsts
On August 22, 1902, Theodore Roosevelt became the first U.S. president to ride in a car in public when he rolled through the streets of Hartford, Connecticut, in a purple-lined Columbia Electric Victoria, followed by a twenty-carriage procession. The New York Times reported that “two expert New York chauffeurs” had charge of the automobile. “The President expressed his satisfaction at the substitution of drives for conventional handshaking,” the paper said. “This method of entertainment seems to have given the people the opportunity desired of seeing him.” A few more presidential firsts:

Who was the first president to ride a train while in office?
Andrew Jackson, June 6, 1833

Who was the first president to be photographed in office?
James Polk, February 14, 1849

Who was the first president to have a White House telephone?
Rutherford B. Hayes, 1879

Who was the first president to have electricity in the White House?
Benjamin Harrison, 1891

Who was the first president to make a radio broadcast?
Warren G. Harding, June 14, 1922

Who was the first president to appear on TV?
Franklin D. Roosevelt, at the New York World’s Fair, New York City, April 30, 1939

Who was the first president to fly in an airplane while in office?
Franklin D. Roosevelt, January 1943, to the Casablanca Conference with Winston Churchill

Who was the first president to hold a press conference filmed for TV?
Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 19, 1955

Who was the first president to fly in a helicopter?
Dwight D. Eisenhower, July 12, 1957

Who was the first president to hold a live televised press conference?
John F. Kennedy, January 25, 1961

American History Parade
1787
Inventor James Fitch tests a steamboat on the Delaware River as delegates to the Constitutional Convention look on.

1851
The schooner America defeats several other yachts off the English coast to win the trophy that becomes known as the America’s Cup.

1902
In Hartford, Connecticut, Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first president to ride in an automobile in public.

1906
The Victor Talking Machine Company of Camden, New Jersey, manufactures the first Victrola.

1996
President Clinton signs legislation ending federal guarantees of lifetime welfare benefits.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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