George Washington, Ace of Hearts 1st President of the United States, 1789—1797
A tall man of quiet strength, a surveyor, general and wealthy land owner, Washington was always fabulously dressed. He was the first and only President unanimously elected. It is quite possible that overzealous doctors desperate to save the “Father of the United States” from a sore throat may have bled and blistered him into a premature grave.
John Adams, The Seven of Spades 2nd President of the United States, 1797—1801
John Adams was a short stout man who claimed to have been so abused by artist’s depictions of him that he refused to have portraits done. He first gained notoriety by successfully posting the “Stamp Act”, the British crown’s attempt to tax the colonies without allowing them representation. His last words “Thomas Jefferson still survives, “were wrong. In fact Thomas Jefferson had died a few hours earlier. The date was July 4th 1826, fifty years to the day that both men signed the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson and Adams were the only two signors to become President of the United States.
Thomas Jefferson, The Jack of Diamonds 3rd President of the United States, 1801—1809
Thomas Jefferson was not a trendy man, he preferred comfort to fashion. A tall man with large hands and feet, he had a tendency to slouch. He was an architect, engineer, inventor, politician, and a connoisseur of fine wines. He designed his own home in Monticello, which appears on the flip side of his portrait of the nickel. Jefferson authorized legislation establishing religious freedom.
James Madison, The Four of Hearts
4th President of the United States, 1809—1817
A small soft-spoken man, Madison stood five foot four inches and weighed 100 pounds. He was the first President to wear trousers, preferring them to be black. Madison drafted the constitution, and is largely responsible for the Bill of Rights and therefore known as the “Father of the Constitution”. He was 43 when he married his wife Dolly.
James Monroe, The Three of Diamonds
5th President of the United States, 1817—1825
James Monroe was a handsome, well build, popular, sober hero who chuckled sparingly. Monroe did not worry about losing his run for a second term; he had no opponents. He was most famous for the “Monroe Doctrine”, which warned Europe not to interfere with the Western Hemisphere. Although a crafty real estate man when working on behalf of the United States (he doubled the size of the country by negotiating the Louisiana Purchase) Monroe died a poor man.
John Quincy Adams, The Six of Clubs
6th President of the United States, 1825—1829
John Quincy Adams suffered insomnia, indigestion, eye discomfort, nervous anxiety and mental depression. He developed a habit of skinny-dipping in the Potomac River near the White House, Which he continued until he was 79. It can only be speculated that these dips alleviated some of his discomforts. He was the son of John Adams, second President of the United States. Although Andrew Jackson actually received more popular votes and electoral votes that Adams, the House of Representatives named him president.
Andrew Jackson, The Seven of Hearts
7th President of the United States, 1829—1837
A master at exercising executive authority to implement his policies and thwart opposition, Jackson is considered the founder of the modern presidency. He was a tall narrow man and played the banjo. In 1806 after Charles Dickenson made a less that gentlemanly remark about Jackson’s wife, Jackson challenged him to a dual. Jackson was shot first, but killed Dickenson. Some sources estimate the Jackson participated in as many as 100 brawls and duals. During his administration an ardent fan sent him a 1,235 pound cheese. It is not known how many crackers were on hand at the White House that day.
Martin Van Buren, The Six of Diamonds
8th President of the United States, 1837—1841
Despite a head of unruly hair, Van Buren took great pains to ensure that he was always impeccably dressed. Van Buren was a leader in the fight against slavery. Because he had been threatened with assassination while vice president, he presided over the Senate with loads of pistols.
William Henry Harrison, the Four of Diamonds
9th President of the United States, 32 days, 1841
Harrison’s “Log Cabin Campaign” for president was one of the most imaginative in American history, with over 100 Harrison campaign songs, 200 Harrison campaign ribbons, and an unprecedented array of novelties. There were parades with floats designed to look like log cabins. Huge leather balls inscribed with slogans like “Tippecanoe and Tyler too” were rolled through towns. Voter turnout jumped from 57.8% to 80.2% of eligible voters. Harrison refused to wear a hat at his inauguration. He caught a cold and died a month later.
John Tyler, The Three of Hearts
10th President of the United States, 1841—1845
John Tyler had a small chin, large ears and nose, and sunken cheeks, but he carried himself with dignity. He played the violin and fathered 14 children who lived to maturity, more than any other president. Tyler became president on Harrison’s death and served as president without a party. He relied on the advice of his famed “Kitchen Cabinet” of long time friends. When Tyler died, the government made no official notice of his passing.
James Knox Polk, The Two of Clubs
11th President of the United States, 1845—1849
Polk was a grey eyed, avid horseman. He was the first “dark-horse candidate” to win the presidency. He was a firm believer in “manifest destiny”, the notion that the U.S. had the right and duty to expand throughout the North American continent. His annexation of much of the west by force from Mexico is still controversial. A conscientious worker who condemned “time unprofitably spent” Polk wore himself out and died three months out of office.
Zachary Taylor, The Ten of Clubs
12th President of the United States, 1849—1850
Zachary Taylor had little legs, so little that he needs help mounting his horse. He often walked or stood with one arm behind his back. The election of 1849 was the first presidential election held in all the states on the same day. Though he fought against the expansion of slavery, Taylor owned more than 100 slaves. .He died in office. The first lady allowed an Italian artist to sketch his corpse.
Millard Fillmore, The Two of Clubs
13th President of the United States, 1850—1853
Millard Fillmore did not drink or smoke. He became president when Taylor died, and by that time the charming president Fillmore had a splendid head of white hair. He was responsible for the “Compromise of 1850” which forestalled the civil war, but did not resolve the slavery issue.
Franklin Pierce, The Two of Diamonds
14th President of the United States, 1853—1857
Pierce was a heavy drinker, but a fine looking man with a Roman nose and dark wavy hair. Two months before becoming president, Pierce watched his 11 year old son Benjamin die in a train wreck, a tragedy that cast gloom over his White House years. One of his campaign slogans was “We Polked you in 1844, we shall Pierce you in 1852!”
James Buchanan, The Jack of Clubs
15th President of the United States, 1857—1861
Paunchy James Buchanan had little feet, and took tiny quick steps when he walked. He suffered a condition known as “wry neck” – having one eye near—sighted and the other eye far—sighted – which caused him to carry his head tilted to one side. He was called “the last of the dough—faces,” someone who spoke one way about slavery and voted another, Millard Fillmore and Franklin Peirce being the other two. He was our only president who was never married.
Abraham Lincoln, The Ace of Clubs
16th President of the United States, 1861—1865
Abraham Lincoln at 6’4” was our tallest president and the first to wear a beard. He was an unpretentious and kind—hearted man who liked a good joke. He suffered severe bouts of mental depression, and loved Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven.” He held the nation together during its most difficult time. Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, one of the most famous actors of his day.
Andrew Johnson, The Eight of Diamonds
17th President of the United States, 1865—1869
Andrew Johnson, a tailor by trade, did not smile much, but if you were down on your luck he would lend you a buck, and invite you to play a game of checkers. He was a simple man from a poor family. He never went to school, and was married at 18 to his 16 year old sweetheart Eliza. Johnson had thought the Civil War had been fought for the purpose of saving the union. His plan for reconstruction was met with hostility by those who thought the defeated south should be treated as a conquered nation. An effort to impeach Johnson failed in the Senate by 1 vote.
Ulysses S. Grant, The Seven of Clubs
18th President of the United States, 1869—1877
Grant was a mild mannered man who was repulsed by hunting, rare steaks, off—color language, and the thought of being seen naked. Lincoln put him in charge of all union armies during the Civil War. Almost any time during the day you could find him smoking – up to 20 cigars a day. He eventually developed mouth cancer. Grant ended his life a poor man in constant pain. To spare his wife a life of poverty he spent his last years writing his memoirs for her to sell. He died only 3 days after completing them.
Rutherford Birchard Hayes, The Five of Clubs
19th president of the United States, 1877—1881
This spelling bee champion possessed a high forehead, a full beard and a fondness for chess. His election was the most disputed in history. He lost both the popular and electoral vote to Samuel Tilden, but Tilden was one electoral vote shy of the requisite 185. The final decision was left to bi—partisan electoral commission made up of seven Republicans (in favor of Hayes), seven Democrats (in favor of Tilden), and one independent. The independent unexpectedly retired and a republican was substituted. Hayes was elected.
James Abram Garfield, The Eight of Clubs
20th President of the United States, 199 days, 1881
James Garfield was a Jane Austin fan with an attractive nose, Frank Sinatra Eyes, and a ready arm to throw about a friend’s shoulders. Less than 10,000 votes determined Garfield’s Presidency. He was mortally wounded four months into his presidency by a disappointed office seeker.
Chester Alan Arthur, The Two of Spades
21st President of the United States, 1881—1885
Arthur was a romantic. He had large seal eyes and a full round face on which he sported walrus whiskers. A recent widower on entering the White House, Arthur had flowers placed before his wife’s portrait every day and never recovered from her death. He was also deeply haunted by Garfield’s assassination. He was considered honest, but his party at that time – not so much. They didn’t nominate him for a second term. He died a broken man less than two years out of office.
Grover Cleveland, The Jack of Clubs
22nd President of the United States, 1885—1889
24th President of the United States, 1893—1897
As the result of an operation that cured Cleveland of cancer, part of his upper palate and jaw were made of rubber. This did not interfere with his enjoyment of German food and beer. He had large brown eyes and was a frequent poker player. Cleveland was the only president to serve two non—consecutive terms. He received the popular vote 3 times, but lost the electoral vote to Harrison during his second presidential race. He married 21 year old Francis Folsom, the daughter of his law partner, in the White House during his first term.
Benjamin Harrison, The Nine of Hearts
23rd President of the United States, 1889—1893
Benjamin Harrison was a stiff reserved man, large in the barrel and low on the pins, who liked to shoot billiards and ducks. He was the grandson of president #9 William Henry Harrison. Benjamin Harrison revived one of his grandfather’s campaign gimmicks by having huge feather balls covered in slogans rolled down America’s main streets. This brought color to his campaign, and a new phrase to the English language: “Keep the ball rolling.”
William McKinley, The Ten of Hearts
25th President of the United States, 1897—1901
McKinley had intense deeply set eyes and a habit of biting cigars in half and chewing on them. He was patiently devoted to the care of his beloved invalid wife Ida Saxon who suffered from frequent seizures. She was always seated next to him at state dinners so he could attend to her, She was also present at many important meetings; McKinley would often get up and adjust her shawl. McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist during the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.
Theodore Roosevelt, The Eight of Spades
26th President of the United States, 1901—1909
At 42, Teddy Roosevelt was became the youngest President of the United States. A flamboyant adventurer, he loved to draw cartons, do jujitsu, ride horses, wrestle, box, play tennis, hike, hunt, swim, and row. He was the first American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and the first President to ride in an automobile, fly in an airplane, be submerged in a submarine, and to visit a foreign country while in office. Thousands of toy bears are named after him. He fought for conservation of natural resources, and finished the Panama Canal when the French effort went bankrupt. On Teddy’s way to a campaign speech a would—be assassin shot Teddy in the chest. Teddy made the speech, but noted that he would be brief as there was a bullet in his body.
William Howard Taft, The Five of Hearts
27th President of the United States, 1909—1913
Rotund Howard Taft, owner of one of the world’s most glorious mustaches, was the first president to itch a ball to open a baseball season. During his presidency, the 16th amendment to the constitution was ratified, giving congress the power to collect income taxes and giving future generations something to grumble about.
Woodrow Wilson, The King of Diamonds
28th President of the United States, 1913—1921
Wilson had a gift for telling stories and making people laugh. He was the first president to speak on the radio. Scholarly and dignified, Wilson was the president of Princeton University, and is on the $100,000 bill. He got congress to declare it legal for working men to strike. President during the First World War, he founded the League of Nations to prevent future international conflicts. In 1914, President Wilson was heartbroken at the loss of his beloved first wife Ellen. During his second tern he married again, this time to the charming Mrs. Galt.
Warren Gamaliel Harding, The Three of Spades
29th President of the United States, 1921—1923
Warren Harding was a handsome humble ladies man with snow white hair and dark brown eyes. When he was 24 he had a nervous breakdown and spent weeks in Dr. Kellogg’s Sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan. He once gambled away an entire set of antique White House china. He was the first president whose wife could have voted for him (women got the right to vote in 1920). He brought so many of his friends into the administration that they became known as “the Ohio gang”. Harding’s unexpected death after two years in office touched off rumors, scandals, arrests, and suicides. Speculation drifted across the country that he had committed suicide, or that first lady Florence Harding had poisoned him. Maybe she did, he was a notorious philanderer.
Calvin Coolidge, The Five of Diamonds
30th President of the United States, 1923—1929
Coolidge slicked back his hair with petroleum jelly and carried himself in a stiff formal manner when he wasn’t riding the mechanical horse he kept in the White House. A man of very few words, “Silent Cal” Coolidge became president after Harding died in office. He believed in limiting the powers of the presidency and in leaving business alone. The roaring twenties roared along until the stock market crash of 1929, by which time a decade of speculative excess brought about the great depression.
Herbert Clark Hoover, The King of Spades
31st President of the United States, 1933—1945
Herbert Hoover, “Bert” to his friends, was a shy hard—working man, orphaned as a child, and a self—made millionaire by the age of 40. A mining engineer, Hoover was named by Columbia University, along with Thomas Edison, as one of the two greatest engineers in US history. Before he became president, Hoover was already famous for getting food to millions of hungry people in Europe following the first world war.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, The Ace of Diamonds
32nd President of the United States, 1933—1945
Franklin D. Roosevelt was a dashing stylish charmer. He was the first president to appear on television and the only president to be elected four times. As a result of contracting polio in 1921, he required braces and crutches to walk and used a wheelchair. He saw the United States through the Great Depression and World War Two.
Harry S. Truman, the King of Clubs
33rd President of the United States, 1945—1953
Former haberdasher Harry s. Truman dressed fashionable and wore spiffy yellow specs. He was a talented pianist and loved Mozart, Bach, and Chopin. Truman was a judge, Senator, and Vice President, and Became president suddenly upon Roosevelt death. During the first three months in office the war in Europe was ended, the Atomic age was begun, Japan was defeated and the United Nations Charter was drafted. The “Truman Doctrine”, established containment of communist nations as US policy. Despite the best efforts of the media and pollsters Truman’s energetic “whistle stop campaign” and plain honest style spoke directly to the American people, who defined all predictions to elect the much loved Harry Truman to a second term. He appreciated fine arts, walked two miles every morning, and established the “fair Deal” which increased the minimum wage, extended social security, funded urban renewal, and expanded the armed forces.
Dwight David Eisenhower, The Two of Hearts
34th President of the United States, 1953—1961
Eisenhower was a fair skinned, blue eyed golfer with a wide smile and a flair for the culinary arts. Eisenhower was a hard working president who taught himself to relax by doing oil paintings. Eisenhower, a brilliant military strategist, was commander in chief of the allied armies during World War Two. As president he sent troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce school desegregation. By emphasizing home, family, and traditional “feminine” roles for women to a public that craved stability after World War Two, Ike became the first president for whom the women’s vote played a major role in the candidate’s victory. Eisenhower launched a creative campaign to inspire women to vote. Pamphlets were distributed double entendre “be a Party Girl”. Housewife imagery, such as brooms for sweeping out the White House, was used widely and successfully in the campaign literature. Fun campaign novelties included “I like Ike” stockings, pot—holders, telephone dials and jewelry.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, The King of Hearts
35th President of the United States, 1961—1963
Stop Action Assassination, John F Kennedy, King of Hearts
John Kennedy and Richard Nixon were the first presidential candidates to debate on television. Kennedy was the youngest candidate ever elected to presidency. He committed the nation to putting astronauts on the moon within ten years, and we did. He forced Russian to withdraw missiles from Cuba in our closest brush with a nuclear war. In a deck of card the king of hearts is the “suicide king”, so called because the king is nearly always thrusting a sword through his head. Stroboscopic photography made possible the “stop action” image of a bullet passing through a playing card. Television made possible the 22 November 1963 “stop action” image of a bullet passing through a president.
Lyndon Baines Johnson, The Four of Spades
36th President of the United States, 1963—1969
LBJ was a rugged wrinkly Texan who favored western clothes and Lincoln Continentals. He received the highest percentage of popular votes of any presidential election – 61% — although he did not receive the highest percentage of electoral votes. He appointed Thurgood Marshall — the first African American on the U.S. Supreme Court. Johnson pushed for civil rights, anti—poverty measures, and consumer protection.
Richard Milhouse Nixon, the Ace of Spades
37th President of the United States, 1969—1974
Richard Nixon was a conservatively dressed, jowly, slope nosed poker player from humble means. He was the first former Vice President to become President who did not succeed the President whom he served. A brilliant, Hardworking and wily political strategist, Nixon – in spite of making a career of anti—communist – was responsible for opening relations with China, and negotiated major arms agreements with the USSR. As a result the Watergate scandal — one of the most widely known political disasters in American history — Nixon became the only American President to resign from office.
Gerald R. Ford, The Six of Hearts
38th President of the United States, 1974—1977
The very blonde, square faced Leslie Lynch King Jr. (late named Gerald Ford after his adopted father) deeply resented his carefree and indifferent father, whom he first remembered meeting at the age of 17. Ford, who became president after Nixon resigned, was the first chief executive not elected either President or Vice President. His calm responsible Presidency reassured the American public after the controversial Nixon years. Ford helped heal the wounds of Vietnam by offering clemency to tens of thousands of Vietnam draft evaders provided they swore allegiance to the United States and performed two years public service.
James Earl Carter, The Nine of Spades
39th President of the United States, 1977—1981
Toothsome southerner James Earl Carter almost stumped the panel on the television show “What’s My Line” two years before he became president. Carter brought together Israel and Egypt to sign the Camp David Accords in 1978. The first major Israeli—Arab treaty, the Accords set a framework for peace in the Middle East and ended the 31 year state of war between Israel and Egypt. A deeply religious man, both during and after his presidency, Carter worked tirelessly to improve human rights and living conditions and to expand democracy throughout the world.
Ronald Reagan, The Ten of Diamonds
40th President of the United States, 1981—1989
Tall blue eyed dark haired Reagan had a reassuring voice and presence. As a former lifeguard, movie star, sports announcer, and Governor of California, charismatic Ronald Reagan was well rehearsed to play the role of President. Reagan was one of the most popular presidents in history. Under President Reagan the United States economy boomed and we had a huge military expansion – paid for by doubling the national debt. Toward the end of his presidency Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev began the difficult work of dismantling the huge arsenals of the USA/USSR Cold War.
George Bush, The Jack of Hearts
41st President of the United States, 1989—1993
George Herbert Walker Bush is a tall fisherman with a crooked grin who dislikes seafood and favors conservative neckties. Bush was one of our most broadly experienced presidents, having served as a US Congressman, Director of the CIA, Ambassador to China, Ambassador to the United Nations, and Vice President. He was also pilot and a decorated World War Two veteran. The Campaign between George Bush and Michael Dukakis has gone down as one of the most negative in American Presidential politics. He appears occasionally on Saturday Night Live.
Bill Clinton, The Seven of Diamonds
42nd President of the United States, 1993 – 2001
Blue eyed saxophonist and occasional jogger Bill Clinton was a master of getting himself out of sticky situations. Clinton led the United States to its only federal budget surplus in the last fifty years. Clinton was the first democrat twice elected president since FDR. Clinton was the first president whose wife would become a senator, and maybe more.