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January 3rd, 2017

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Supreme Court: Horace Harmon Lurton

On this date in 1910, Tennessee's Horace Harmon Lurton became the oldest person appointed to the Supreme Court. He was 65 years 311 days old on that day, when he took his seat as William Howard Taft's first appointment to the Court. Born February 26, 1844, he served four and a half years on the Court, dying, in office, on July 12, 1914.

Lurton is currently the second oldest Court appointee. Charles Evans Hughes broke his record on February 24, 1930, when he was 67 years 319 days old. However, this appointment -- as Chief Justice -- was Hughes's second (Taft had appointed him Associate Justice in 1910, but Hughes resigned from the Court in 1916 to run for President on the Republican ticket).
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Former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton

On this date in 2001, Hillary Rodham Clinton became the only First Lady of the United States to hold elective office in her own right. Two months earlier, she'd become the first to win an election, when New York elected her to the Senate seat held by retiring Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. For 17 days, she was both First Lady and a Senator. In 2006, she was re-elected to her seat. She resigned at the beginning of 2009, to become the first First Lady to be a Cabinet Secretary (she was the 67th Secretary of State, serving from 2009 to 2013).
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Former Vice Presidents: Alben Barkley and Hubert Humphrey

On this date in 1955, 77-year-old Alben W. Barkley became the third former Vice President (not counting Andrew Johnson) to take a seat in the US Senate. Barkley, who had been Harry Truman's Vice President from 1949 to 1953, represented Kentucky in the Senate for the last 16 months of his life (he died in office in April 1956). Barkley had been a member of the Senate from 1927 until he was elected Vice President, and before that represented Kentucky in the House from 1913 to 1927.

On this date in 1971, 69-year-old Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. became the fourth former Vice President to take a seat in the US Senate. Humphrey had been Lyndon Johnson's Vice President from 1965 to 1969, and represented Minnesota in the Senate until his death in January 1978. He had also been a Senator from 1949 until he was elected Vice President. From 1977, Humphrey was the first man to have the honorary title of Deputy President pro tempore of the United States Senate.
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First Lady Grace Coolidge

On this date in 1879, Grace Anna Goodhue was born in Burlington, Vermont. She graduated from the University of Vermont in 1902, and was working at the Clarke Institute for the Deaf in Northampton, Massachusetts, as a lip reading instructor when, in 1903, she met Calvin Coolidge. In October 1905, Grace and Calvin married. Following Warren Harding's sudden death, Calvin became President in the early hours of August 2, 1923 (his father swore him in), and then went back to bed. In the morning, he told Grace he was the new President. He was so reserved that, as First Lady, Grace only learned Calvin wouldn't be running for re-election in 1928 from the news. Following his Presidency, Calvin died in January 1933. Grace returned to her work for the deaf, played an active role in the Red Cross during World War II, and survived her President-husband by 24 years, dying July 8, 1957.