Mental Floss

The Quick 10: The Careers of 10 Presidential Kids

Stacy Conradt
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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