Martin van Buren was our nation’s 8th president, serving one term, 1837-1841.
This photo is roughly 15 years after van Buren left office, taken in the Washington, D.C., studio of Matthew Brady, whose photography gained fame from his work photographing battle sites during the American Civil War.
Martin van Buren was born December 5, 1782, in Kinderhook, New York. He is the only president to have the first name Martin. He’d be 236 years old today, and still king of the mutton chop sideburns among presidents.
One the grammar school myths of Van Buren is that the initials for his nickname, “Old Kinderhook,” are the origins of the term “O.K.”
Van Buren died on July 24, 1862.
- Ridiculed in his lifetime, historians now view Van Buren as a key character in the development of the American presidency and government; the Miller Center at the University of Virginia details Van Buren’s life and presidency
I confess, I’m not sure where in New York, Kinderhook is. I suspect it’s not far from the Hudson Valley.
Were one to head in that direction, it would be a great idea to learn where the bench is and join him.
I also recommend the statues of presidents in Rapid City, South Dakota. There are 44 of them.
And there’s a Ben Franklin on a bench, at the University of Pennsylvania.
After recommending those, I confess I haven’t yet found the Mark Twain on the bench in Fort Worth, let alone joined him in discussing a book.
Too soon old, too late sentimental and informed enough to do it all.
Oh, I would love to sit on that bench with him!