The Quick 10: The Careers of 10 Presidential Kids

We know George W. followed in his dad's footsteps, and we know John Quincy Adams did the same. But what did children of other Presidents end up doing? Some of them are pretty predictable: Politicians, lawyers, etc. But some of them are quite surprising, and a strange number of them have become novelists. I'm playing fast and loose with the "10" theme, by the way. Hope you guys don't mind.

adams1 and 2. Charles Francis Adams, one of John Quincy's sons, made his own bid for the Presidency. Well, the Vice-Presidency. That had to be a terrible burden "“ if your grandpa and your dad were both Presidents of the United States, I imagine it's pretty much expected that you give it a go as well. In 1848, he unsuccessfully ran for V.P. as a member of the Free Soil Party with future President Martin Van Buren as President. But I'd say he was pretty successful, even if he wasn't the third Adams to be President: he graduated from Harvard, studied law with Daniel Webster, he was a member of the House of Representatives, served in the state senate, founded and edited the Boston Whig journal, was an ambassador for Abraham Lincoln, was offered the position of Harvard President (he declined), and constructed the first-ever presidential library to honor his dear old dad. JQA had two other sons: John II we don't know much about, but George Washington Adams also graduated from Harvard and was elected to the House of Representatives. However, it's possible that the stress was too much "“ he disappeared off of a boat in the Long Island Sound in 1829; his body was found about six weeks later. Most historians believe it was a suicide.

3 and 4. Harry "Hal" Garfield was only 17 when he watched his dad get gunned down by Charles Guiteau "“ even worse, his little brother was only 15.

Both brothers went on to be very successful, though "“ Hal became a law professor and was eventually named the eighth president of Williams College. He also taught at Princeton, where he made friends with Woodrow Wilson, pre-Presidency. When Wilson became President, he asked Hal to run the Federal Fuel Administration. Hal's brother, James Rudolph, studied law at Columbia, then ran a law firm with Hal. James was in the Ohio State Senate for three years, and served as a member of Teddy Roosevelt's Cabinet as Secretary of the Interior.

alice5. Speaking of which, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Teddy's oldest daughter and only child by his first wife, is totally fascinating. At least, I think so. Alice was named after her mom, and Teddy was so heartbroken at her death that he refused to call his daughter Alice. She went by Baby Lee (her middle name). He also nicknamed her "Mousiekins" in a letter to his sister. But that's neither here nor there. As an adult, she helped William Howard Taft (Teddy's Secretary of War) in a diplomatic trip to Japan. On the boat ride over, Alice jumped into the ship's pool with all of her clothes on and managed to convince a Congressman to do the same. While married to Congressman Nick Longworth, Alice had an affair with Senator William Borah. Alice later admitted Borah was the father of her daughter, Paulina. After the Tafts took over the White House, Alice would openly heckle Nellie Taft at White House dinners and other social events. Eventually, the Tafts banned her from the residence altogether. The Wilson Administration also banned her when she made a dirty joke about the President. During the Great Depression, Alice found herself dealing with the hard times just like everyone else. To make ends meet, she appeared as the model in tobacco ads and published her autobiography (which I think I'm going to have to get). She remained a staple in Washington until her death in 1980.

6, 7, and 8. The Taft children were also quite accomplished. The only daughter, named Helen, after her mother, was a highly accomplished academic. She was a professor at Bryn Mawr for 40 years. She was also an avid suffragist. Her brother, Charles Phelps Taft (Mr. Cincinnati), was the Mayor of Cincinnati from 1955-1957, but prior to that, he held various positions in the FDR Administration. Robert Taft became a U.S. Senator. In fact, in 1957, a Senate committee led by JFK named Robert Taft one of the five best Senators in history.

9. Elliott Roosevelt was the son of FDR and Eleanor. He was a bombardier in the United States Army Air Forces in WWII, but after that, he was kind of all over the place. He owned a radio station, he tried ranching, he was the mayor of Miami Beach for one term, and he wrote a mystery series featuring his mother as the main character. He was married five times and had five children and four stepchildren who took the Roosevelt name.

meg10. Oddly, Margaret Truman is another Presidential child who made a living writing mysteries as an adult. I suppose it makes sense "“ they probably have insights that the rest of us don't. Anyway, Margaret was on track to be a singer for a while in the late 1940s and early 50s. After one of her vocal recitals was aired on the radio, a critic at the Washington Post said she was very pretty, but couldn't hold a tune. President Truman wrote the critic a letter and said that if the two of them ever met, the critic was going to need "a new nose and plenty of beefsteak and perhaps a supporter below." After she stopped singing in the mid 50s, she started writing "“ she wrote biographies about both of her parents, wrote books on the First Ladies and First Pets and wrote a bunch of murder mysteries set in Washington, D.C.

11 and 12. Steven Meigs Ford, Gerald and Betty's youngest son, is an actor. He was actually cast in the original Grease as Tom Chisum, Lorenzo Lamas' character, but dropped out. He was on The Young and the Restless from 1981 to 1987 and has since been in movies such as Armageddon, Heat, and When Harry Met Sally. His sister, Susan, is another writer: in 2002, she wrote Double Exposure: A First Daughter Mystery. Before that, she was a photojournalist for the AP, Newsweek, Money, Ladies Home Journal and several newspapers. She also had another career: her first marriage was to one of her dad's Secret Service agents and they ran a security company in Washington for a while.

Quick True/False: World Capitals
Bain News Service - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
10 Pats Born on St. Patrick's Day
A photo from the 1919 wedding of Princess Patricia of Connaught to the Hon. Alexander Ramsay.
A photo from the 1919 wedding of Princess Patricia of Connaught to the Hon. Alexander Ramsay.
Bain News Service - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Need some St. Patrick's Day conversation fodder that doesn't involve leprechauns or four-leaf clovers? Ask your friends to name a "Pat" born on St. Patrick's Day. If they can't, they owe you a drink—then you can wow them with this list of 10.


Princess Patricia was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who gave up all of her royal titles when she married a commoner. She was born at Buckingham Palace on March 17, 1886.


The Dallas star was born on March 17, 1949. And here's a totally random fact about Duffy: His nephew is Barry Zito, former MLB pitcher for the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants.


Pattie Boyd
Larry Ellis, Express/Getty Images

Pattie Boyd is well-known to lovers of classic rock: She has been married three times, including once to George Harrison and once to Eric Clapton, who both wrote a couple of the most romantic songs in rock history in her honor (including The Beatles's "Something" and Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight"). Boyd was a model when she met Harrison on the set of A Hard Day's Night in 1964; the pair were married two years later. They divorced in 1977 and she married Clapton, Harrison's close friend, in 1979. She also had an affair with Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones toward the end of her marriage to The Quiet Beatle.


Belfast-born Pat Rice is a former footballer and coach who spent the bulk of his career with Arsenal F.C. (that's "football club," a.k.a. soccer to us Americans). He joined the Gunners in 1964 as a mere apprentice, turning pro a couple of years later. He became captain in 1977 and left the club for a few years in the early 1980s to go to Watford, but returned after he retired from playing in 1984. In 2012, after nearly 30 years with the organization, he announced his retirement.


Patty Maloney is an actress with dwarfism who stands just three feet, 11 inches tall. She has appeared in many movies and T.V. shows over the years, including operating the Crypt Keeper puppet in Tales from the Crypt. She also played Chewbacca's son Lumpy in The Star Wars Holiday Special.


Michael C. Hall and Mathew St. Patrick in 'Six Feet Under'

Ok, so Mathew St. Patrick is the stage name of the actor, but he was born Patrick Matthews in Philadelphia on March 17, 1968. You probably know him best as David's boyfriend Keith on Six Feet Under.


He may not be a household name, but the recording artists Patrick Adams writes for and helps produce certainly are. Adams has been involved in the careers of Salt-N-Pepa, Sister Sledge, Gladys Knight, Rick James, and Coolio, among others.


It's possible you look at Patrick McDonnell's work every day, depending on which comics your newspaper carries. McDonnell draws a strip called Mutts featuring a dog and a cat named Earl and Mooch, respectively. Charles Schulz called it one of the best comic strips of all time.


 Singer/Guitarist Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins performs onstage during Live Earth New York at Giants Stadium on July 7, 2007 in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Evan Agostini, Getty Images

Yes, you know him better as just plain old Billy Corgan: he's the face of the Smashing Pumpkins, engages in public feuds with Courtney Love, and maybe once dated Jessica Simpson. He made his debut on March 17, 1967.


Patricia Ford is a retired model probably best known for her Playboy photoshoots in the 1990s.


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