Barack Hussein Obama II was born, on 4 August 1961, to University of Hawaii graduates Barack Obama Sr. and Ann Obama, nee Dunham. Barack Sr. was from Kenya, Ann was from Kansas. He left the family when his son was two, studied at Harvard University for a time and then returned to Kenya where he died in an automobile accident nineteen years later. After her divorce from Obama, Ann married another foreign student, Lolo Soetoro from Indonesia. For the four years between ages 6 through 10, Barack lived with his parents in Indonesia, attending Catholic and Muslim schools. As an adult, Barack remembered: “I was raised as an Indonesian child and a Hawaiian child and as a black child and as a ...
The son of the forty first president of the United States was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1946, while his father was finishing his sophomore year at Yale University. The baby was christened George W. Bush but soon came to be known as Georgie to his family. His upbringing was modest, considering his lineage was as close to aristocratic as Americans become. The Bushes lived at 37 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven which was a warren of apartments that had been carved out of a single house. The tenants were all veterans, their wives and children, a total of forty people in a space that was originally designed for a single family. The elder Bush had already given thought to what he would do afte...
William Jefferson Blythe III was born on 19 August 1946, in Hope, Arkansas, three months after his father, William Jefferson Blythe Jr., died in a traffic accident. The young Bill spent his early years being raised by two strong women: his mother and his grandmother, Edith Cassidy, although his mother was often away, taking nursing classes in New Orleans. His grandmother taught him to read as she tried to shape her grandson’s character. Bill remembered loving them both although often caught between them during their arguments.
In 1950, when Bill was four years old, his mother, Virginia Cassidy Blythe, married Roger Clinton, of Hot Springs, Arkansas and moved with him to Hot Springs. Rog...
George Herbert Walker Bush was born into a family with a tradition of public service, on 12 June 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts. His parents were Prescott Sheldon Bush and Dorothy Walker Bush who moved the family to Greenwich, Connecticut when George was still a boy. Prescott, an investment banker, and Dorothy were wealthy but taught their children to be modest, stressing the importance of public service and giving back to society. Prescott was a Republican senator from Connecticut from 1952 until 1963.
Despite the ideas of modesty, George left home to attend Phillips Academy Andover which was an exclusive boarding school in Massachusetts. While there he was elected captain of the baseball and...
Ronald Wilson Reagan was born, on 6 February 1911, to Nelle and John Reagan in Tampico, Illinois. With his older brother Neil, Ronnie and his family moved around Illinois, as John looked for sales work, until 1920 when they settled in Dixon, which Ronnie always considered his home town. John Reagan had a high-school education and was a gifted salesman. Unfortunately he was also an alcoholic. He died in 1941, leaving nothing for his family. Nelle nurtured her sons and gave freely to charity, though she had little for her children. Ronald always remembered his mother’s compassion and generosity and spoke of her fondly. She died in 1962.
In 1928 Reagan graduated from Dixon High School wher...
James Earl Carter was born 1 October 1924 in Plains, Georgia. The Carter family had lived in America since the 1630s moving to Georgia just after the American Revolution. Earl and Lillian Carter owned a peanut farm and warehouse and a store outside Plains. Earl was smart, hardworking and a very good business man. Lillian was a trained nurse who gave up her career when she discovered that she was pregnant, shortly after her marriage. The Carters had four children: James Earl was the oldest. His siblings were: Gloria, Ruth and William. Mother Lillian was well read and curious about her world and she crossed the strict lines of segregation by counseling poor black women in matters of health car...
Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. was born 14 July 1913 to Leslie Lynch King and Dorothy Ayer King, nee Gardner. The infant was named Leslie Lynch King, Jr. Because of the elder King’s alcoholism and abusive behavior, his wife left him sixteen days after Ford's birth. Dorothy King took her young son to the home of her parents in Grand Rapids, Michigan, divorced her abusive husband within the year and, less than three years later, married Gerald Rudolff Ford who was a paint company salesman. “Jerry Jr.” took his name from his stepfather although his name was not legally changed until he was twenty two years old. King, Sr. is believed to have seen Ford only once while he was in high s...
Richard Milhous Nixon was born 9 January 1913 in Yorba Linda, California, a far western suburb of Los Angeles. He grew up in Whittier, California; an equally small town north of Yorba Linda. Richard’s parents, Frank and Hanna Nixon had five sons. Richard was the second in line. His family was working class: his father ran a grocery store and gas station. The elder Nixons were not happy with their circumstances and passed on to their son a strong sense of ambition as well as a feel for both sides of the personality coin: father Frank was an argumentative man while Mother Hanna was sweet-tempered. While still a young man Richard suffered the deaths of two of his brothers: Arthur, a young...
Lyndon Baines Johnson was born in Texas, 27 August 1908, to Sam Ealy Johnson, Jr. and Rebekah Johnson nee Baines. He was the first of their five children, big brother to Rebekah, Josefa, Sam Houston and Lucia. The Johnson family ancestors had been among the earliest settlers of what would one day become the Lone Star State. They were cattlemen, cotton farmers and soldiers in the War Between the States – fighting on the side of the Confederacy. Lyndon’s family home was in a small farmhouse, situated on the Pedernales River not far from Johnson City, which had been named for the original settlers. His family did not prosper as his father was not cut out to be a farmer. The elder Jo...
John F. Kennedy was born in 1917 to a wealthy family, the second of nine children. Both of his grandfathers had been active in politics, and had been labeled by those who remembered them as disreputable. As a result, John's parents experienced prejudice among their peers, despite their wealth. Their social status was also marred as the family was of Irish descent, which was looked down upon by many who were considered upper class.
Joseph and Rose Kennedy, John's parents, decided to make their children their "best friends" and chose not to go to many dinners and bridge parties with others of their acquaintance. They eventually were able to afford a staff including a governess and nurse. Althou...