Grippes, quincy & ague - presidential medical histories
September 28, 2003 7:12 AM   Subscribe

Medical histories of American Presidents - Washington "exuded such masculine power as frightens young women just wakening to the opposite sex." Jefferson had all his teeth when he died at 84. Wilson's handshake was described as "a ten-cent pickled mackerel in brown paper." Taft was once laid up for a few days after a bug flew into his eye. Facts & trivia about presidential health.
posted by madamjujujive (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Abraham Lincoln told the following physiological anecdote about Washington, which he attributed to Colonel Ethan Allen, a hero of the American Revolution. During a post-war visit to England, Allen's hosts took great pleasure in ridiculing Americans, particularly George Washington. To irritate Allen they went so far as to hang a picture of Washington in the "Back House" (toilet). Allen announced this was highly appropriate, because "there is nothing that will Make an Englishman Shit so quick as the sight of Genl Washington"

Fun stuff!
posted by adrianhon at 7:17 AM on September 28, 2003

thanks madam!
posted by mcsweetie at 7:51 AM on September 28, 2003

As Grant lay dying, a minister began spending time at his bedside. At one point, Grant became unconscious. The minister sprinkled water over him, and performed some rites. A short time later the doctor succeeded in reviving Grant. The minister exclaimed: "It is Providence. It is Providence." The doctor responded, "No, it was the brandy"

There goes my day. Thanks, mjjj.
posted by samuelad at 7:59 AM on September 28, 2003

Excellent. Thanks, mjjj!
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:00 AM on September 28, 2003

for those interested in Kennedy's medical history, here is Dallek's Atlantic Monthly interview.
His JFK book is essential reading for those interested in how Kennedy's terrible health influenced his performance as President
posted by matteo at 8:08 AM on September 28, 2003

This is fascinating, thank you so much! What a cool link!
posted by headspace at 8:20 AM on September 28, 2003

Ronald Reagan: Impossible hair: How can a 70 year old man have a full head of hair with no gray?

posted by kahboom at 8:25 AM on September 28, 2003

little known facts about US presidents (flash)
posted by donth at 8:33 AM on September 28, 2003

Poor Martin van Buren. Under Maladies and Conditions, the site lists "bald and short".

I also liked this description of a dinner in the "dry" Rutherford Hayes White House:

Not surprisingly, the lack of alcohol in the White House inspired many comments, including one from Secretary of State Evarts. Having just dined at the White House, he was asked if he had a good time: "Splendid! Water flowed like champagne."
posted by taz at 8:41 AM on September 28, 2003

The Tafts were the last residents of the White House to keep a milk cow. Named Pauline Wayne (but also known as Wooly-Mooly), she grazed on the White House grounds. She developed brucellosis, however, and had to be taken away.

Fillmore was the first President who was a health nut.

At the end of his term, when asked what a President should do after leaving office, [Pierce] sighed: "There's nothing left... but to get drunk"

This is wonderful stuff, madam j. Thanks.
posted by LeLiLo at 9:28 AM on September 28, 2003

Thanks for the heads up on the Flash, Donth. EvilTrailMix rocks. The movies were real kewl. Arnold Swarzenegger's special guest appearance as God just made my day. "I know I know I know your name, I know I know I know your name.." That's really catchy.

...uhm.. what were we talking about? Dead presidents?
posted by ZachsMind at 9:33 AM on September 28, 2003

Between 1889 and 1901, Harding paid five "protracted" visits to the J. P. Kellogg sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan "to recover from fatigue, overstrain, and nervous illnesses."

[I]'m convinced that I will live forever because my bowels are immaculate!

great stuff madam.
posted by clavdivs at 9:48 AM on September 28, 2003

what were we talking about? Dead presidents?

Manus Hand's site was one of the first things I really liked on the Internet, but he has had three dead presidents to go for years now. Come on, Manus, let's get those three over with.

(I also like his bonus question: Which President(s) Is (Are) Not Buried in U.S. Soil?
posted by LeLiLo at 2:03 PM on September 28, 2003

>(William) Harrison... enrolled for the two 16-week courses at the University of Pennsylvania that would have led to an M.D. degree.
Wow. Only eight months!

But, then again:
>At his trial, the assassin Guiteau admitted shooting the President, but denied killing him. Instead, he claimed that Garfield's physicians killed him... he was probably correct.
Garfield's original wound was 3.5 inches long... The wound was probed by the fingers of numerous physicians during the rest of Garfield's life so that, by the time of his death, the wound track was 20 inches long and oozing pus.

(To echo the others, good stuff madamjujujive.)
posted by philfromhavelock at 8:31 PM on September 28, 2003

This is awsome. Thanks for posting it!
posted by anastasiav at 2:12 PM on October 1, 2003

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