President and Mrs. Rutherford B. Hayes. c 1877. Library of Congress
- John Tyler was the first president to marry while in office.
- The only president to be married in a White House ceremony was Grover Cleveland in 1886. He married 21-year old Frances Folsom, the daughter of a former law partner.
- Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to travel outside the United States on official business. His destination: Panama.
- The first president to ride in an automobile while in office was Theodore Roosevelt.
- William Howard Taft was the first president to have an official White House automobile.
- Woodrow Wilson was the first president to hold a doctorate–his degree was in political science.
- Woodrow Wilson was the first president to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
- After his term in office, Theodore Roosevelt took a ride in an airplane on October 11, 1910. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first presidential candidate to fly to a convention to make his acceptance speech in July 1932 and traveled widely by air during his tenure in office.
- Benjamin Harrison brought the first Christmas tree inside the White House in 1889.
- The Gilbert Stuart likeness of George Washington, obtained in 1800, is the oldest remaining possession of the White House.
- During the War of 1812, Dolley Madison saved the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington before the approaching British troops torched the White House.
- President Andrew Johnson learned to read and write with his wife’s help and was a tailor before he entered politics.
- At age 46, President Clinton became the first president elected from the "baby boom" generation.
- William Howard Taft was the only man ever to serve as president and chief justice of the United States.
- Thomas Jefferson once described the presidency as "a splendid misery" and Andrew Jackson called it "dignified slavery."
- President Jefferson disliked ceremony and replaced the custom of bowing as a gesture for greeting guests at the White House with the more democratic practice of shaking hands.
- In 1812, Dolley Madison arranged the first nuptials held at the White House–the wedding of her widowed sister, Lucy Payne Washington, to Supreme Court Justice Thomas Todd.
- In 1881, a metal detecting device invented by Alexander Graham Bell was used in an attempt to locate a bullet and save President Garfield’s life after an office-seeking fanatic shot him. The bed’s steel springs were not removed as Dr. Bell had ordered and the attempt failed.
- On February 25, 1828, young John Adams, grandson of one president and son of President John Quincy Adams, married Mary Catherine Hellen in the White House. The event marks the only time that a President’s son has been married in the mansion.
- After applauding war hero Andrew Jackson’s inaugural address at the Capitol, a crowd of thousands descended on the White House to enjoy the reception for the "People’s President"–to the accompaniment of crashing china and glassware. President Jackson escaped the crush of the crowd of merrymakers and would-be handshakers by leaving through a window.
- No alcoholic beverage was served at any function during the Hayes administration - a prohibition earning the First Lady Lucretia Hayes the nickname of "Lemonade Lucy."
- Abigail Fillmore, a former schoolteacher, obtained congressional funds in 1850 for the first official library in the Executive Mansion.
- Eight chief executives have died in office, four of them by assassination (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and Kennedy).
- Two pathologists and seven doctors congregated in the Prince of Wales Room on the second floor of the White House to perform or to witness President Abraham Lincoln’s autopsy shortly after he died–the victim of an assassin’s bullet--on the morning of April 15, 1865.
- A woman, probably a clerk-typist, first appeared on the White House staff payroll in 1889, when Harrison came to office.
- President Harding regularly hosted poker parties in the White House during his administration (1921-1923).
- All of the presidents from Ulysses S. Grant to Chester A. Arthur wore beards. Cleveland broke the custom, although he did wear a mustache.
- Very few cut flowers were used in the White House during the Polk administration because it was a commonly held belief at that time that flowers in close quarters gave off unhealthy vapors and absorbed valuable elements from the air.