Ask Not What Your Socks Can Do For You…

Happy Birthday #35!  On May 29, 1917, President John F. Kennedy was born in Brookline, MA.

President Kennedy’s legacy includes a Pulitzer Prize for his book Profiles in Courage.  Though, maybe Jack should have also written children’s books.  In a 2011 interview, his daughter, Caroline, recounts his story-telling skills.

My father was spectacular at making up stories. And he used to tell me about a purple shark…. He said there was a purple shark that used to follow the Honey Fitz[the small presidential yacht]. It liked to eat socks. My father would make people throw their socks overboard, and they’d disappear. He’d say, “See? See? Did you see the purple shark? He ate the socks!” And I’d go [gasps like a child], “I don’t really see him. Oh, oh, I think I see him! Look, the socks are gone, so it must have been the shark that ate the socks!” Those stories were fantastic.

Here’s to President Kennedy and to purple sharks.


Happy Birthday #18!

“I have never advocated war, except as a means of peace.
Nor have I advocated the wearing of socks with sandals.”

~Ulysses S. Grant, 1889

Born today in 1822, Ulysses S. Grant gained notoriety leading the Union Army to victory during the American Civil War.  He went on to be elected President twice and his face now graces the $50 bill.  That bill, though, would only buy you two and a half pairs of Confederate Army socks, adjusted for inflation.  At the time, a pair of soldier’s socks in the South were $1, or $17.50 in today’s dollars.  Good thing the North won.

Happy Birthday #4 & #7!


Two presidential birthdays on two consecutive days!

President #4, James Madison, was born today in 1751.  The United States owes a great deal to Mr. Madison.  Known as the “Father of the Constitution,” Madison was instrumental in its drafting and ratification.  As well, he was the primary author of the Bill of Rights.

Andrew Jackson, president #7, was born yesterday in 1767.  At the age of 13, he was captured by the British while serving as a courier during the Revolutionary War.  The rest of his career is no less dramatic, and certainly controversial.  On the one hand, you’ve got to respect a hardcore duelist who died with more than a half-dozen bullets in his body.  On the other hand, he signed and enforced the Indian Removal Act.

If you’ve got presidential aspirations of your own, show your swagger in a pair of POTUS socks from

Friday the 13th – AGAIN!

Friday the 13th in two consecutive months – what are the odds?  Well, it’s 11%.  It happened in 2009, but won’t come around again for another eleven years.  This isn’t the last one of 2015.  November 13 also happens to fall on a Friday.  But don’t worry, we can’t ever have more than three in one year.  Find out more at

Little is known about why Friday the 13th is considered unlucky.  Some believe it started in the Middle Ages as an allusion to the Last Supper (Jesus plus his 12 disciples).  Though, it’s likely it began in the early 20th Century.

Twenty-third President Benjamin Harrison,1 suffragist Susan B. Anthony,2 and Scopes monkey trial lawyer Clarence Darrow3 all died on March 13th.  Though, none occurred on Fridays.

1. 1907, aged 67
2. 1906, aged 86 
3. 1938, aged 80

The Lincoln Library’s Dirty Laundry

Oh, the stories these stockings could tell.  From the Lincoln Library’s official Tumblr page:

“Like the famously flashy artifacts that attract visitors from around the world, one lowly pair of socks teaches us just as much about American history. By studying Lincoln’s handwriting, experts can conclude something about the man’s character. By studying an unnamed young woman’s bridal hosiery, we can also conclude something about her character. Are the socks well cared for? Are there rips, or holes, and if so, were they mended? If they were mended, perhaps the owner couldn’t afford new ones. Perhaps there is a lesson in conscious consumer responsibility here. Alternatively, what kinds of materials were used in making socks in 1835? Are the socks plain, or do they have embroidered patterns? What does this tell us about fashion trends of the day?”

Thank you Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum for recognizing that socks have important stories to tell about history.