Magazine article USA TODAY

Presidents Past Air Their Wares

Magazine article USA TODAY

Presidents Past Air Their Wares

Article excerpt

From George Washington's diary to Bill Clinton's saxophone, artifacts on view at the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, Pa., provide a unique glimpse into the lives of our nation's presidents. Visitors also will experience firsthand the evolution of the voting process through a display of historic voting machines, including a wooden ballot box from the 1800s and a Palm Beach County voting booth from the controversial 2000 election. The assortment of 30 artifacts from collections around the country can be seen in the Center's main exhibition, "The Story of We the People." The artifacts will remain until the end of the year.

Highlights of the presidential collection include:

Washington's Personal Pocket Diary (1796). The Father of Our Country kept this pocket diary during the final year of his presidency. In it, he recorded temperature, wind direction, and general observations on the weather, revealing his continued interests as a farmer even while serving in public office.

Thomas Jefferson's First Inaugural Address (1801). In this printed copy of his speech, the new president calls for peace between the political parties after a bitter campaign. Jefferson's inauguration marked the first change of power from one party to another.

William Henry Harrison Campaign Flag (c. 1840). This flag shows Harrison standing confidently in front of a log cabin. As the first presidential candidate to campaign for office actively, Harrison used log cabins and hard cider to promote himself as a common man.

Andrew Johnson Impeachment Trial Ticket (1868). This ducat admitted spectators into the Senate gallery for the U.S's first presidential impeachment trial. Johnson was acquitted by a single vote on May 26, 1868.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Fedora (c. 1937). Jaunty fedoras became one of FDR's trademarks as president. He purchased this one while in office.

"I Like Ike" Stockings (1952). One of the catchiest campaign slogans of all-time, "I Like Ike" captured the positive feelings toward Republican candidate Dwight Eisenhower. The phrase appeared everywhere during his 1952 presidential run--even on women's stockings.

Gerald Ford's Pardon of Richard Nixon (1974). …

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