Since the death of former president Ronald Reagan over the weekend, you might be hearing and reading about his life for the first time. Did you know that he loved jelly beans or that he made a movie with a monkey?
Most presidents have done a lot of things with their lives before taking office. (By law the president must be at least 35 years old; Ronald Reagan was 69 when he was elected.) Some presidents were war heroes. Some were athletes. Some were well educated, and some never went to school.
See if you can match the names of the presidents to their accomplishments or interesting facts. We think some of them might amaze you. The answers are at the bottom of the page.
John Quincy Adams
Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison
James K. Polk
Ulysses S. Grant
Rutherford B. Hayes
Chester A. Arthur
William Howard Taft
Warren G. Harding
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard M. Nixon
Gerald R. Ford
George H.W. Bush
George W. Bush
1. Defended the British after the Boston Massacre.
2. Our smallest president, he was 5 feet 6 inches and 100 pounds.
3. Served as a minister to Great Britain for his father.
4. Got the nickname "Little Magician" for being such a good politician.
5. Was Virginia governor and senator who supported slavery.
6. Was poorly educated and likely to be a farmer until his brother died and he entered the army.
7. The term "dark horse" for an unlikely winner was first used to describe him.
8. Worked as a rail-splitter, ferryboat captain, postmaster and store clerk.
9. His name got changed by accident when he entered West Point.
10. Was principal at Hiram College in Ohio.
11. Taught at school for the blind and wrote a book about cows.
12. Was twice elected governor of Ohio and served in the House of Representatives for 14 years.
13. His love of baseball led to a new presidential tradition.
14. Editor and publisher of an Ohio newspaper.
15. Worked as an engineer in mines in China.
16. His family couldn't decide if his middle name should be Shippe or Solomon, so he just got an initial S.
17. Only president to win a Pulitzer Prize, for the best nonfiction book in 1957.
18. Son of a grocer, he got the nickname "Tricky Dick."
19. He was a peanut farmer.
20. He ran the nation's spy agency.
21. Owned part of the Texas Rangers baseball team.
22. He adopted his wife's two children.
23. An early laptop user, he wrote the Declaration of Independence on a portable desk.
24. Wounded in the Battle of Trenton, George Washington commended him for "bravery under fire."
25. In a duel, shot a man who insulted his wife.
26. Defeated Shawnee Indians at the battle of Tippecanoe.
27. The oldest kid in a family of 10, he never had any children of his own.
28. Married his teacher.
29. Russian ambassador and secretary of state for President Polk.
30. A tailor's apprentice whose wife taught him to read and write.
31. Civil War veteran and governor of Ohio.
32. Taught penmanship in Vermont to pay for school.
33. His great-grandfather signed the Declaration of Independence; his grandfather was president.
34. Although he had asthma as a child, he became a hero as a "Rough Rider."
35. Taught at Bryn Mawr and Wesleyan colleges; was president of Princeton.
36. His non-chatty nature earned him the nickname "Silent Cal."
37. Developed polio as a grown man, making it hard for him to walk.
38. Led the invasion of Europe 60 years ago.
39. Everyone in the family had the same three initials, including a dog named Little Beagle Johnson.
40. Played football at the University of Michigan.
41. Sports announcer, actor, governor.
42. Only Rhodes Scholar to become president.
Answers: Washington-22; Adams-1; Jefferson-23; Madison-2; Monroe-24; J.Q. Adams-3; Jackson-25; Van Buren-4; W.H. Harrison-26; Tyler-5; Polk-27; Taylor-6; Fillmore-28; Pierce-7; Buchanan-29; Lincoln-8; A. Johnson-30; Grant-9; Hayes-31; Garfield-10; Arthur-32; Cleveland-11; B. Harrison-33; McKinley-12; T. Roosevelt-34; Taft-13; Wilson-35; Harding-14; Coolidge-36; Hoover-15; F. Roosevelt-37; Truman-16; Eisenhower-38; Kennedy-17; L. Johnson-39; Nixon-18; Ford-40; Carter-19; Reagan-41; G.H.W. Bush-20; Clinton-42; G.W. Bush-21. Sources: "Presidents" by James Barber (a Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Book); biography.com; The World Almanac 2004; "Facts about the Presidents" by Joseph Nathan Kane; Washington Post archives.