Interesting Facts about Interesting People in History
This is a collection of interesting facts about people I consider notable and interesting. Note, these are not describing what the particular person is best known for, but rather interesting details that many may not be aware of. The range of notable people spans from ancient history to the twentieth century. These historical figures have nothing in common other than the fact that they are recognized as people who in some way aided in shaping the current world we live in today.
Napoleon Bonaparte – Napoleon has always been considered a short man. However, during his day, the French measurement for a foot equaled to about 13 inches. This made him about 5 feet and 2 inches tall. Using the English measurement of 12 inches, he would really be about 5 feet 6 inches tall.
Dr. Seuss – Dr. Seuss was not actually a doctor. Although he never received a PhD, he did receive several degrees that were considered honorary. He did intend to get a doctorate, but never did. He added the Dr. to his name because his mother had always wanted him to study medicine.
Thomas Jefferson – Jefferson spent eight years as president. At the time he left office, his bill for wine over those years equaled $11,000, nearly $200,000 today. Jefferson also died a broke man. He sold his collection of books to congress for $25,000. This would become the beginning of the library of congress.
Edgar Allen Poe – There has been much speculation as to how Edgar Allen Poe died, but after a recent autopsy study done by the University of Maryland 147 years after his death, it has been concluded that Poe died of rabies.
King Henry VIII – King Henry the eighth wanted to divorce his first wife but the church would not allow it. Because of this, Henry chose to declare himself the head of the church in England, refusing to allow the pope in Rome to have any control over it. He then allowed himself the divorce he desired.
Frank Sinatra – The last song Frank Sinatra ever sang in public was “The best is yet to come.” It was also put on his gravestone when he died. This was not done intentionally, but was realized later on.
William Shakespeare – Despite his fame, there is no record of William Shakespeare’s life at the time he moved to London. This period was when his career took off and spanned from the years 1585 to 1592.
Babe Ruth – the “Great Bambino” often wore a cabbage leaf under his hat. He did this because he said it helped keep him cool in hot weather. He reportedly changed the leaf out every two innings.
Abraham Lincoln – Abe was the first president to ever be photographed at his own inauguration. Ironically, the photo also portrays the future assassin of the president, John Wilkes Booth. The photo can be seen here: http://awesomepeoplehangingouttogether.com/2011/john-wilkes-booth-abraham-lincoln/
Walt Disney – Before the famous company Disney was established, Walt Disney the man had started a company called Laugh-O-Grams. Walt was only 17 at the time and the company fell bankrupt shortly after its founding. Afterwards, Walt headed to Hollywood with $20 and one suitcase.
Benjamin Franklin – Franklin started the first insurance company in America. It was called “Philadelphia Contributorship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss By Fire.” The basic idea was that every man in the community chipped in at a certain time periodically. If something like fire destroyed a member’s house, he was given a portion of the money for recovery expenses.
Mozart - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart went to Rome to attend a mass on Easter weekend. The pope’s choir would sing a piece called “Miserere”, which had never been printed and could be heard nowhere other than in St. Peters Cathedral. Upon returning home, Mozart had memorized the piece and wrote the music down in its entirety. He was 14 at the time.
Amelia Earhart – In 1920, Earhart paid one dollar for a ten minute plane ride in California. This was her first plane ride and many think it inspired a lifelong love of aviation, setting her up for her amazing career as a pilot.
Henry Ford – When the Model T Ford started being mass produced on the assembly line, it was only available in black. Henry Ford refused any other colors because the paint did not dry nearly as fast as black did. This allowed more cars to be produced in the same amount of time.
Alexander the Great – Alexander studied under the great philosopher Aristotle for three years beginning at the age of 13. He later went on to conquer much of the ancient world, becoming the closest leader in history to ever rule the world entirely.
Sir Isaac Newton – Newton was born on Christmas day in in 1642, the same day Galileo died. He was extremely premature and his mother stated that he could fit into a mug. He formulated his theory of gravity after watching an apple fall from a tree.
J.R.R Tolkien – The author of the Lord of the Rings series used to meet regularly with a group of men called the “Inklings”. The men reviewed others works, as well as their own works in progress. C.S Lewis, who was a member of the group, allowed Tolkien to read over “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Tolkien strongly disliked the work and advised Lewis to shelve the project and get onto something more worthwhile.
Al Capone – When the gangster was near death at the age of 48, he suffered from severe mental and physical illnesses. A physician declared it was neurosyphilis, which he contracted in his youth. In his last years, Capone’s mental capacity had deteriorated to that of a 12 year old.
Mother Teresa – Teresa spent 15 years teaching history and geography at a high school for daughter’s of wealthy families, but was distressed with the poverty all around her. During that time, she took a trip to Darjeeling for a retreat. There, she said she found her true calling: “I heard the call to give up all and follow Christ into the slums to serve him among the poorest of the poor.”
Albert Einstein – The genius was born with a larger than average size head. The doctors worried that it was a deformation and that Albert may have a form of retardation when he grew older. Doctors later said the head was shaping proportionately and was normal.
Christopher Columbus – Having never actually completed the task of finding a route to the Indies, Columbus was not considered a hero in his own day. This is true in spite of his discovery of the Americas. In 1506, he died in poverty in Spain.
Winston Churchill – Churchill often preferred to discuss matters in bed. This does not mean with people like family or friends. He often liked to discuss state matters of great importance while in bed. A special breakfast table was made to fit his bed to accommodate the unusual habit.
Beethoven – Beethoven gave his first public performance on the 26th of March in 1778 when he was seven years old. He died on the same day, March 26th in 1827.
- Napoleon Bonaparte: Revolutionary or Tyrant?
A brief look at the debate over whether or not Napoleon should be considered a savior, or tyrant of France