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August 2016

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Aug. 31st, 2016

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Speaker of the House Galusha Grow

On this date in 1822, Galusha Aaron Grow was born. He represented Pennsylvania in House of Representatives from 1851 to 1863, and from 1894 to 1903. He was the 24th Speaker of the House, from 1861 to 1863. He lost his bid for re-election to the House in 1862, and was the last sitting House Speaker to be defeated until Tom Foley of Washington lost his seat in 1994. Born in Connecticut, he graduated from Amherst in Massachusetts and was admitted to the bar in 1847. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1864 and 1868, and moved to Texas in 1871, when he became president of the International Great Northern Railroad. In 1875, returned to Pennsylvania and the practice of law.

Aug. 30th, 2016

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First Lady Ellen Arthur

On this date in 1837, Ellen Lewis "Nell" Herndon was born in Virginia. Early in life, she was famous for being the daughter of William Lewis Herndon, a naval officer who became famous in 1857 when he went down with his ship, the Central America, after having safely evacuated the passengers and crew in a storm off Cape Hatteras. The year before, she had been introduced to Chester Arthur, and they married in late 1859 (on her father's birth date, October 25th). They lived in New York City, had a son in 1864, and a daughter in 1871. In January 1880, while waiting in the cold for a carriage, she caught a cold, which turned into pneumonia, which killed her two days later. Her widowed husband, Chester, was elected Vice President later that year, and succeeded to the Presidency in September 1881.

Aug. 29th, 2016

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Two Treasury Secretaries, a Press Secretary, and a Presidential nominee are born...

On this date in 1936, John S. McCain III was born at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone, where his father (then a junior US Navy officer, who eventually rose to the rank of four-star admiral) was stationed. After graduating from Annapolis, the younger McCain also served in the Navy, rose to the rank of captain, and while flying over North Vietnam, was shot down and held as a prisoner of war for five and a half years. McCain represented Arizona in the House of Representatives from 1983 to 1987, and has served as a Senator since 1987 (he is currently the 8th most senior Senator). In 2008, he was the Republican nominee for President (he lost to Barack Obama).

On this date in 1938, Robert Rubin was born in New York City. He received degrees from Harvard and Yale, and was the 70th Secretary of the Treasury from January 1995 to July 1999.

On this date in 1940, James Brady was born in Centralia, Illinois. On January 20, 1981, he became the 14th White House Press Secretary, and two months later, he was with President Ronald Reagan when John Hinckley shot them. Reagan recovered, but Brady was left paralyzed for the rest of his life. He kept the title of Press Secretary through the entirety of Reagan’s administration, though he was unable to work. He and his wife, Sarah, were staunch gun control activists until his death in 2014.

On this date in 1955, Jacob Joseph "Jack" Lew was born in New York City. He earned degrees from Harvard and Georgetown, and was the 26th White House Chief of Staff from January 2012 to January 2013. He is currently the 76th Secretary of the Treasury.

Aug. 28th, 2016

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Second Lady Hannah Tompkins

On this date in 1781, Hannah Minthorne was born in New York City. In February 1798, she married 23-year-old lawyer Daniel Tompkins. Between 1800 and 1814, she and Daniel had eight children. He was governor of New York from 1807 to 1817, when he took office as the sixth Vice President of the United States. Daniel died in 1825; Hannah survived him by a scant four years.
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First Lady Lucy Hayes

On this date in 1831, Lucy Ware Webb was born in Chillicothe, Ohio. When she was 21, she married 30-year-old Rutherford Birchard Hayes. In the next twenty years, they had seven sons and a daughter (four sons and the daughter lived to maturity). On March 4, 1877, Lucy Hayes became First Lady of the United States (they lived in the White House for one term). During her tenure in the White House, she became known as "Lemonade Lucy", for her strict adherence to the temperance movement, forbidding alcohol in the White House. She also initiated the custom of the White House Lawn Easter Egg Roll. In December 1877, for their 25th wedding anniversary, the Hayeses repeated their wedding vows in a White House ceremony attended by many guests who had been at their first wedding. Lucy was a former First Lady for eight years, before she died of a stroke in June 1889.

Aug. 27th, 2016

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Vice Presidential anniversary: the first Bidens

On this date in 1966, law student Joe Biden married Neilia Hunter, his first wife. They had three children in the next few years, and in 1972, he was elected to the Senate, representing Delaware. In December 1972, Neilia and their three children were in a car accident, in which she and their daughter, Naomi, were killed. Joe was sworn into the Senate in January 1973, and married again in 1977. In 2008, he was elected the 47th Vice President of the United States.
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President Lyndon Johnson

On this date in 1908, Lyndon Baines Johnson was born in Johnson City, Texas. In 1960, he lost the Democratic Presidential nomination to John Kennedy, but then Kennedy chose Johnson as his running mate. They went on the win the election, and in November 1963, Kennedy was assassinated and Johnson, the 37th Vice President, became the 36th President. He won his own term in 1964, served four years, and died in January 1973. Johnson was Senate Majority Leader from 1955 until 1961, leaving the post to become Vice President (a move which he said was a big step down). As a member of the House of Representatives (he served in the House from 1937 to 1949), Johnson was one of several Congressmen to join the military after the outbreak of World War II. While in uniform, he served as a roving inspector for President Roosevelt, until Roosevelt recalled all serving Congressmen, telling them their services were more required in Washington than in the war.
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Vice President Charles G. Dawes

On this date in 1865, 30th Vice President Charles G. Dawes was born in Marietta, Ohio. Following Warren Harding's death in 1923, Vice President Calvin Coolidge became President. In the election of 1924, Coolidge won his own term, with Dawes as his Vice Presidential running mate. They retired in 1929, and Dawes died in 1951. Dawes was a banker, and Comptroller of the Currency from 1898 to 1901, but he left the Treasury Department to run for a Senate seat in 1902. He lost that election, and declared himself finished with politics. In 1921, he was appointed the first Director of the Bureau of the Budget. In 1923, as a member of the Allied Reparations Commission (following World War I), he helped design the Dawes Plan (a program to enable Germany to restore and stabilize its economy). The plan was later deemed unworkable, and replaced, but before then, Dawes shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1925, the only Vice President to win one (and that, before he was Vice President).
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Vice President Hannibal Hamlin

On this date in 1809, 15th Vice President Hannibal Hamlin was born in Paris, Maine. A few months younger than Abraham Lincoln, he was Lincoln's running mate in 1860. Lincoln dropped him from the ticket in 1864 in favor of southern Democrat Andrew Johnson, who had stayed loyal to the Union. Hamlin died on July 4, 1891. Hamlin has the distinction of being the only President or Vice President to serve in the military during his term of office: for a few months in 1864, he enlisted in the Maine Coast Guard. He wasn't even an officer, just an enlisted man, a cook, and though he wasn't in combat, he was in the service.

Aug. 26th, 2016

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Cabinet: James Wilson

On this date in 1920, ten days after his 85th birthday, James Wilson died. Wilson was born in Scotland, and in 1897, President William McKinley appointed him the 4th Secretary of Agriculture. Following McKinley's assassination, Theodore Roosevelt kept him on in the post. After Roosevelt's term, William Howard Taft took office, and kept Wilson as SecAg. Taft and Secretary Wilson left office on March 4, 1913, when President Woodrow Wilson took office. James Wilson's sixteen years in his post make him the longest-serving Cabinet Secretary in US history.

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