Happy Presidents’ Day!…Or Is It?

Image of presidents on Mount Rushmore

To celebrate this Presidents’ Day I thought I’d round up some fun trivia. It’s not all money related, but even I can use a break from money talk every so often. Well, not really but I figured you could. ;o)

So…did you know…?

  • The federal holiday isn’t actually called Presidents’ Day. It’s Washington’s Birthday. But when it was moved from the actual anniversary of Washington’s birth (the 22nd) to the 3rd Monday of February, it fell between Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays. So retailers started combining them and calling it Presidents’ Day in their marketing.
  • Established in 1879, Washington’s Birthday was the 5th nationally recognized holiday. Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s and Independence Day were previously approved in 1870.
  • Washington’s actual birthday never falls on the 3rd Monday of the month.
  • The first $1 bill issued in 1862 had a picture of Salmon P. Chase (the Treasury Secretary under President Lincoln) on it. George Washington replaced him in 1869, but in 1928 the Treasury honored Chase by putting him on the $10,000 bill (apparently that’s a thing).
  • As wild as it seems that there was a $10,000 bill, it’s even crazier that there was a $100,000 bill! Woodrow Wilson graced the front of it.
  • Only 3 greenbacks don’t feature a president – the $10 bill (Alexander Hamilton), the $100 bill (Benjamin Franklin), and that elusive $10,000 bill (Salmon P. Chase)
  • Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to his granddaughter containing a list of 12 “Canons of Conduct in Life” – in essence, rules to live by – in which he stated rule #3 as “Never spend your money before you have it.” Ironically, Jefferson died with a huge amount of debt. Maybe he was sharing the lesson that took him a lifetime to learn.

Well, I think that’s enough trivia for one day. Hopefully you learned something new and found one or two tidbits to share with others. As a parting gift here’s a gallery of the faces that grace each bill if you want to brush up on your trivia for next time. ;o)

Images courtesy of the US Treasury

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