Who was the First President to…
Be on TV?
Though Franklin D. Roosevelt made the first
presidential appearance on black and white TV
in 1939, for the World’s Fair, Harry S. Truman
was the first to give a presidential speech on
TV in 1947, during which he encouraged
Americans to aid European famine.
Truman was also the first president to have his
inauguration broadcasted on television in 1949.
Later, John F. Kennedy would be named the
"first television president" for pioneering live TV
coverage of political events, such as his
presidential debate against Republican
presidential candidate Richard Nixon.
Use the Radio?
Warren G. Harding was the first president to
install radio in the White House and broadcast
his voice nationally, in 1922. However, the
following president, Calvin Coolidge, was the
first to do regular addresses over radio.
Fly in an Airplane?
In January 1943, Franklin D. Roosevelt
became the first president to fly in an airplane
on official business. The plane, a Boeing 314
Flying Boat, also known as the "Dixie Clipper,"
helped a 60-year-old Roosevelt secretly and
hurriedly fly to the Casablanca Conference in
Morocco, where he discussed WWII strategy
with Winston Churchill.
Ride in a Car?
President William McKinley became the first
serving president to ride in a car in 1901, when
he took a short car ride in a car that was called
the “Stanley Steamer”. Theodore Roosevelt
became the first president to publicly ride a
government automobile in 1902.
Have his Voice Recorded?
During his first year in presidency in 1889,
Benjamin Harrison used a phonograph wax
cylinder to record his speech regarding the first
Pan-American Congress. The speech is now
the oldest surviving recording of a president’s
voice. While Rutherford B. Hayes did record a
speech several years prior, it was sadly lost.
Use a Telegraph?
The 1844, invention of the telegraph baffled
both the American people and government up
until Abraham Lincoln’s presidency in the
1860s. During his term, Lincoln used the
telegraph frequently to communicate with
generals during the Civil War.
In 1866, Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson
installed the first telegraph room in the White
House so that he could efficiently relay urgent
Have a Phone?
In May 1877, Rutherford B. Hayes was the first
president to install a telephone in the White
House’s telegraph room. For his first call, he
called the inventor of the phone, Alexander
Graham Bell, who was located 13 miles away.
President Herbert Hoover installed the first
telephone in the Oval Office in 1929, to enable
the power of communications right at the