2020 presidential election
Culture

See Which Presidents Did It First

You don't have to memorize this information but this is the stuff you should know about the men we made president.

BY Rick Bursky
Nov.30,2019 / UPDATED ON JAN.08,2020

The 2020 presidential election is coming. If the coming election is anything like the previous elections, half the voters are going to be happy about the result, and the other half is going to be unhappy. Of course, the Electoral College will have the final say. In the meantime, here at Fine Medium and Broad, we thought you might enjoy a list of some presidential firsts. For instance, who was the first president to fly on an airplane, the first one to serve ice cream in the White House, first president to talk on a phone, we even have a fun first — the first president to invite a magician to perform at the White House. Oh, we have one last on the list, the last president not to graduate college. So here we go in no particular order.


  • The first and only president to serve two non-consecutive terms: Grover Cleveland.
  • The first president to win the Medal of Honor: Theodore Roosevelt.
  • The first president photographed: John Quincy Adams.
  • The first president to answer a phone: Rutherford B. Hayes. It was June of 1877, and the caller was Alexander Graham Bell.
  • The first president to have a phone on his Oval Office desk: Herbert Hoover, 1929. 
  • The first president to fly on an airplane: Theodore Roosevelt, October 1910, though he was no longer the president.  
  • The first president to invite a magician to the White House: Abraham Lincoln. He invited magician Compars Hermann to perform in 1861.
  • The first and only movie star to become the president: Ronald Reagan.
  • The last president not to graduate college: Harry S. Truman. POTUS number 33, took some college classes but never graduated. 
  • The first president to be submerged on a submarine: Theodore Roosevelt.
  • The first president to invite an African American to the White House for dinner: again, Theodore Roosevelt, this is his third appearance on the list. His dinner guest was Booker T. Washington. 
  • The first president to live in the White House: John Adams. He was also the first president to have a son as president, John Quincy Adams.
  • The first president to have a father who was president: John Quincy Adams.
  • The first president to pay off the entire national debt: Andrew Jackson. We’re probably not going to see that again. 
  • The first president to serve ice cream in the White House, and we’re not kidding: Thomas Jefferson.
  • The first president to marry in the White House: Grover Cleveland.
  • The first president to have his inauguration  filmed: William McKinley.
  • The first president to be a bachelor: James Buchanan.
  • The first president to be born as an American citizen: Martin Van Buren. All the previous we British citizens when they were born. 
  • The first president to be under fifty years old when elected: James K. Polk.
  • The first president who was an Eagle Scout: Gerald Ford.
  • The first president to be born in a hospital: Jimmy Carter. Yep, this is true.
  • The first, and only, president to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: Ronald Reagan. 
  • The president to show a movie in the White House: Woodrow Wilson. He screened Birth of a Nation in 1915. 
  • The first president to appoint a woman to the Supreme Court: Ronald Reagan. He appointed Sandra Day O’Connor.
  • The oldest person elected president: Donald Trump. He was seventy years old at the time.
  • The first president to install central heating in the White House: Franklin Pierce.
  • The first president to have a mustache: Ulysses Grant. 
  • The first president to have his voice recorded: Benjamin Harrison.
  • The first left-handed president: James A. Garfield.
  • The first president assassinated: Abraham Lincoln.
  • The first president impeached: Andrew Johnson.
  • The first president to have electricity in the White House: Benjamin Harrison.
  • The first president to ride in an automobile: William McKinley.
  • The first African-American president: Barack Obama
  • And, the first president: John Hanson, yep, George Washington wasn't the first. Hanson became president in November of 1781.


Okay, you are now qualified to be a presidential historian. One day someone will make another list like this with entries like “the first president to visit Mars.”

Keywords: 2020 presidential electionpresidential firstsBarack ObamaDonald Trumppresidential historian
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