TIME White House

The Longest Vacation in U.S. Presidential History

James Madison
Stock Montage / Getty Images circa 1800: James Madison (1751 - 1836), fourth president of the United States of America.

And other away-from-the-White-House facts

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

JAMES MADISON
4 months

The War of 1812 was over. His administration was nearly at an end. So Madison, tired and eager to get away, slipped out of Washington in June 1816 and didn’t return until October. His four-month vacation was the longest of any president with the exception of John Adams, though Adams’s case, as you’ll see, is complicated. (It wasn’t really a vacation.) In other years his vacations lasted three months.

JOHN ADAMS
Seven Months on the Farm

In his celebrated biography, David McCullough insists that John Adams made greater sacrifices on behalf of the Revolution than almost any other Founding Father. Stingingly, McCullough observes, Jefferson went home during a critical moment in the deliberations of the Continental Congress while Adams remained, fighting illness, the flies and his fellow politicians. Poor Abigail had to put up with long absences.

But in the summer of 1798, during Adams’s presidency, when Abigail fell ill–at the height of our undeclared war with France–Adams ran home to be with her. He remained with her on their farm in Massachusetts seven long months. No other president stayed away from the capital as long. Enemies joked that he had abdicated.

THOMAS JEFFERSON
Runner Up

Jefferson never liked to be away from Monticello and in 1805 decided he need not be away as long as previously during his administration. He left for home mid-July and did not come back until October, setting the precedent for long presidential vacations which Madison was to improve upon. (As vice president, in 1799, Jefferson had remained away from the capital even longer–ten months.)

CHESTER ARTHUR
His Mysterious Vacations

About a year into his presidency, Arthur developed an illness that was to kill him: Bright’s disease, a kidney disorder, which in the nineteenth century was always fatal. Ailing and losing weight, Arthur began traveling around the country in search of climates more congenial to his condition than swampy Washington. On one trip–to Florida–he nearly died. His last year in office he repeatedly voyaged west, attracting crowds along with critical headlines. Why on earth was Chet Arthur doing so much traveling people wanted to know. He never told them. When reporters asked if he was ill he pretended nothing was wrong, though on one occasion he had holed up in New York City because he was too ill to make it back to the capital. He died shortly after leaving the presidency. Only then did Americans begin to understand the reason for his mysterious vacations. (He was, incidentally, the first president to lie about his health. None had lied before him because they did not have to–the press did not make a president’s health an issue of public debate until Garfield’s death. Garfield had lingered for three long months after he had been shot. Newspaper circulation shot up when reporters began providing daily presidential health bulletins.)

GROVER CLEVELAND
It’s Cancer, Sir

His second term was barely a week old when the economy collapsed. It was at this moment that Cleveland discovered he had cancer. His doctor told him an operation was essential to survival. Worried that the news might further destabilize Wall Street, Cleveland chose to keep his cancer a secret. That July when he took his annual vacation he underwent a furtive operation to remove the cancerous tissue, which extended up into his eye socket. The operation took place aboard a yacht to decrease the chances of discovery. Afterward, Cleveland retreated to Buzzards Bay in Massachusetts to recover. The country finally learned the truth about Cleveland’s summer vacation in 1917, when one of his doctors related the story in an article in the Saturday Evening Post. By then Cleveland was long dead.

DWIGHT EISENHOWER
Vacations Aren’t Good For You

Eisenhower was just a few months into his first term when he took his first vacation, in Augusta, Georgia, at his favorite golf club. There he suffered what now appears to have been his first presidential heart attack. (He’d had another apparent heart attack in 1949, which was covered up.) His spokesman put out the word that Ike was suffering from indigestion. Unfortunately, Ike could not afford to rest. The very next day he was scheduled to return to Washington to deliver his first major foreign policy address, in which he was to hold out an olive branch to the Soviet Union, which was undergoing change as a result of the recent death of Joseph Stalin. Despite his illness Ike insisted on returning to Washington and delivered his speech as scheduled, though he nearly collapsed. To steady himself he had to grab hold of the lectern. Beads of sweat formed on his forehead. He finally succeeded in finishing the speech only by skipping whole paragraphs.In 1955 Ike was on a vacation in Colorado when he was struck by yet another heart attack. It was serious and this time the country was told everything. Ike remained in convalescence for months. When he was able to return, he made frequent trips for relaxation to Camp David, the presidential retreat established by FDR. Ike when he became president had wanted to get rid of Camp David as an unnecessary extravagance–and as an all too vivid symbol of his famous Democratic predecessor. Mamie had forced him to keep it.

RONALD REAGAN
The Western White House

Ronald Reagan loved his ranch in Santa Barbara, California. According to the Associated Press,” Reagan spent all or part of 335 days in Santa Barbara over his eight-year presidency.”

BILL CLINTON
The Margin of Error is Plus or Minus Two Points

Clinton, famously, loved to party with the rich and famous in Martha’s Vineyard and the Hamptons. But in 1995 and 1996 he went to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for his summer vacation, on the advice of Dick Morris, who cited polls showing it would be to Clinton’s advantage. Even Morris later admitted it was a dumb idea.

GEORGE W. BUSH
Five weeks in Crawford

George W. Bush took more days of vacation than Ronald Reagan. He split his vacation time between the ranch in Texas (77 trips) and his family estate in Maine for a total of 879 days. In 2005 he spent five weeks at the Texas ranch.

BARACK OBAMA

Initially it wasn’t Barack Obama, but his wife, who received flack for taking a vacation. In 2010 Michelle Obama, children in tow, went on vacation to Andalusia, Spain, just as new reports indicated the loss of 131,000 jobs. In 2013 and 2014 Barack Obama was criticized for vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard.

MONEY

Paying a Public College President Big Bucks Doesn’t Always Pay Off for Students

The highest paid public college presidents and how their schools stack up in terms of value.

As concerns over the cost of college continue to grow, so has interest in how the schools spend their money—including the often generous salaries of campus administrators.

For the 2013-2014 year, the median salary for public college presidents who served a full year was $428,250, up from $375,000 five years previously, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

But those base salaries are often just a portion of their total compensation, thanks to bonuses, deferred pay, and perks such as homes and cars. Last year, half of university presidents enjoyed free housing and more than 70% received some type of car allowance, according to the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.

The highest paid administrators don’t always work at the biggest, or even the wealthiest, universities. There also appears to be little relationship between the value a college provides to its students and the largesse it provides to its leaders. For example, of the 10 public colleges MONEY ranks best for value, only one (Texas A&M) is represented on the list of the 10 highest paid college presidents. The rest were further down in our rankings, in some cases much further.

Here’s a peek inside the pay envelopes of the best-paid public college presidents, from the Chronicle of Higher Education data, along with how their schools stacked up in MONEY’s latest Best Colleges rankings. The most recent salary figures are from 2013-14, so some of these individuals are no longer in the same role.

Check out the new MONEY College Planner

  • 10. University of South Florida

    University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft
    Daniel Wallace—AP

    Judy L. Genshaft, president of University of South Florida

    Total compensation: $719,675

    Base salary: $719,675

    Money Best Colleges rank: 566

    Note: Genshaft is also president of the University of South Florida system, which includes two regional campuses.

  • 9. Rutgers University at New Brunswick

    Robert Barchi
    Frank Franklin II—AP

    Robert L. Barchi, president of Rutgers University

    Total compensation: $739,624

    Base salary: $649,624

    Money Best Colleges rank: 119

    Note: In addition to the main campus in New Brunswick, Barchi also oversees campuses in Camden and Newark.

  • 8. Virginia Tech

    Charles Steger
    Matt Gentry—AP

    Charles W. Steger, president of Virginia Tech

    Total compensation: $745,195

    Base salary: $466,191

    Money’s Best Colleges rank: 48

  • 7. University of Delaware

    Patrick Harker
    Saquan Stimpson—AP

    Patrick T. Harker, president of the University of Delaware

    Total compensation: $800,156

    Base salary: $682,502

    Money Best Colleges rank: 65

  • 6. University of Houston

    Renu Khator
    Pat Sullivan—AP

    Renu Khator, president of University of Houston

    Total compensation: $850,000

    Base salary: $700,000

    Money Best Colleges rank: 473

    Note: Khator is also chancellor of the University of Houston system, which has four universities.

  • 5. University of Illinois at Chicago

    Dr. Paula Allen-Meares
    M. Spencer Green—AP

    Paula Allen-Meares, former chancellor of University of Illinois at Chicago

    Total compensation: $872,458

    Base salary: $422,458

    Money Best Colleges rank: 154

  • 4. Washington State University

    Elson Floyd
    David Smith—AP

    Elson S. Floyd, former president of Washington State University (now deceased)

    Total compensation: $877,250

    Base salary: $725,000

    Money Best Colleges rank: 96

  • 3. Ohio State University

    Joseph Alutto
    Adam Cairns—AP

    Joseph A. Alutto, former interim president at Ohio State University

    Total compensation: $996,169

    Base salary: $634,572

    Money Best Colleges rank: 134

  • 2. Texas A&M University

    R. Bowen Loftin
    Aaron M. Sprecher—AP

    R. Bowen Loftin, former president of Texas A&M University

    Total compensation: $1,128,957

    Base salary: $155,525

    Money Best Colleges rank: 20

    Note: Loftin’s total compensation is for a partial year as president of Texas A&M. He left mid-year for position at a different university.

  • 1. Pennsylvania State University

    Rodney Erickson
    Abby Drey—AP

    Rodney A. Erickson, former president of Pennsylvania State University

    Total compensation: $1,494,603

    Base salary: $633,336

    Money Best Colleges rank: 157

    Note: The president of Penn State’s flagship campus also has some administrative responsibilities for the other 23 branch campuses that make up the university, though each campus has its own president or chancellor.

TIME White House

The List of Presidential Assassination Attempts Is Shockingly Longer than Anyone Thought

Rutherford B. Hayes
National Archives / Getty Images Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States

A new study shows that half a dozen presidents faced the threat of death in cases that were hushed up

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

In 2014 my book, Hunting the President, was published. It included previously unknown assassination attempts against American presidents from the time of FDR to President Obama. (HNN ran articles based on my research here and here.) My latest book, Hunting the President II, examines attempts to assassinate U.S. presidents from George Washington to Herbert Hoover.

My research has revealed numerous never-before-told incidents when the president’s life was put in danger, including stories of attempted stabbings, shootings and bombings. Many of the assassination plots and assassination attempts I write about have been well-chronicled. Others, however, have remained largely hidden from the public; some buried in newspaper archives and others in government reports, presidential memoirs, bodyguard memoirs, Secret Service agents’ memoirs, the National Archives, the Library of Congress, and presidential libraries.

Amongst the many stories of assassination attempts I reveal in my book, particularly shocking are the previously unknown attempts to assassinate presidents James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur, Rutherford Hayes, Benjamin Harrison and Theodore Roosevelt.

Although James Buchanan, like all presidents, was subject to threats it has been assumed he passed through his one-term presidency without any attempt to assassinate him. Yet there is compelling evidence to suggest otherwise. When a group of Civil War army veterans held a reunion in 1887 one of them revealed a plot to kill Buchanan. The veteran revealed how Kansas abolitionists, believing that if Buchanan could be assassinated Kansas would fall into their hands, hired an assassin to murder the president. Buchanan’s would-be assassin arrived in the capital determined to shoot him as he strolled through the grounds of the White House. However, the plot was foiled by an informant and the assassin was arrested.

Ulysses S. Grant said there had been a “deliberate attempt” on the life of President Andrew Johnson during a visit to Indianapolis. Johnson and his party, including Grant, were staying at a hotel in the city during the visit. When they gathered in one of the rooms booked for the party a shot was fired from a second-story window on the opposite side of the street from the hotel. The bullet struck a Chinese lantern near where the president was standing and passed within three feet of Grant’s head. Local law enforcement agencies made no arrests.

A would-be assassin stalked President-Elect Rutherford B. Hayes and plotted to kill him during the inauguration ceremonies at the Capitol in March 1877. The plot was investigated by Washington Police Chief Major A.C. Richards. The assassin was eventually tracked to the city’s Imperial Hotel and was immediately arrested with the ‘unofficial assistance’ of two US Secret Service agents who happened to be in the hotel’s vicinity. During police questioning he admitted to his assassination plans. (Author’s Note: The Secret Service did not assume the duties of Presidential protection until the time of President Theodore Roosevelt but the agency did provide ‘unofficial presidential protection’ during the presidencies of Cleveland and McKinley.)

President Chester A. Arthur was the victim of two assassination attempts. The first attempt was made at the Butler Mansion in Washington DC and the second occurred at the White House. When Arthur was staying in the Butler mansion prior to moving into the White House after President Garfield’s assassination, a “shot was fired at a reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer who was sitting talking to Senator John P. Jones” and, “…the villain took the reporter for Arthur.” The shot came through a window but missed the target. The incident was corroborated in a statement Senator Jones gave to the Philadelphia Times many years later. The second incident which endangered Arthur shortly after he became president occurred on October 31, 1881 when a would-be assassin entered the White House armed with a pistol and attempted to see the president. Following a struggle with the doorkeepers he was subdued and arrested.

Although rumors of assassination attempts were prevalent throughout Benjamin Harrison’s presidency there is compelling evidence that a serious attempt on the president’s life actually occurred in 1890 but was covered up by White House aides.

A United States Senator had received letters threatening to kill President Harrison. The letters were turned over to US Secret Service Chief John S. Bell who conducted an unofficial investigation as the Secret Service, although used as a detective agency by many government departments during this period, did not have official sanction to investigate threats to the president. The letter writer was tracked down by two of Bell’s detectives to Petersburg, Virginia, and trailed to the capital. On May 23, 1890, the would-be assassin stationed himself on Pennsylvania Avenue at around 9:30 in the morning. He was approximately twenty feet away from Harrison as the president passed by in his coach. As the assassin attempted to draw his revolver he was quickly subdued by the agents. During his interrogation the assassin confessed “boldly” that he had intended to kill the president. Bell confirmed the story to newspaper reporters and “verified it in every particular.” Although the White House denied the assassination attempt, additional credible evidence to corroborate the story is provided in my book.

John Schrank’s shooting of ex-President Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 is widely regarded as the only serious assassination attempt Roosevelt experienced. But there were at least two occasions when armed assassins breached Roosevelt’s security when he was president. In September 1903 Roosevelt came within a hair’s breadth of assassination when Henry Weilbrenner pointed a loaded gun at him. The incident has been reported in a number of journals and books. However, a similar incident occurred a month later after an armed man, Peter Elliott, breached the president’s security armed with a loaded pistol but was subdued by White House doormen and arrested. When Elliot’s pistol was examined it was discovered he had prepared the bullets with poison. The Secret Service concluded that the only purpose for coating the bullets in such a way was to kill the president.

Many assassination plots were hidden from the public because of presidential secrecy and a fear that publicity would inspire others. In 1901 a ‘clerical employee’ at the White House told the Boston Evening Transcript, “Few persons realize how vital a subject at the White House the possibility of presidential assassination always has been. Of course, nothing of this discussion gets out except in the cases where a shot is actually fired or some other overt act committed which startles the country. Of the larger number of seemingly suspicious cases that, whether alarming or not, are nipped in the bud, little is ever known.” White House guard William Crook noted in his memoirs that, “Episodes of [violent behavior] were a frequent occurrence in the White House. We dealt with them quietly and they rarely got into the newspapers.”

In Harrison’s case the president was unaware of the plot to kill him as, according to US Secret Service Chief John S. Bell, the president’s aides and political friends kept the incident from him and were sworn to secrecy. Supportive evidence of the cover-up resides in the discovery by this author that the president’s private secretary, Elijah Halford, had been economical with the truth when he told the press that the assassination story was false.

In October 1903 President Theodore Roosevelt’s private secretary, William Loeb, met with Secret Service Chief John E. Wilkie. They discussed how the agency could effectively carry out its protection duties. Loeb announced his intention to suppress every fact in connection with the arrest of would-be assassins. Loeb also said he would ‘make trouble’ for any police officer or Secret Service agent who failed to observe his orders in this respect. The policy decision was extended to the Washington police force.

Before his death Loeb admitted that “many frustrated attempts upon the life of the president [were] kept secret.”

Mel Ayton is the author of numerous books and articles. His book, Hunting the President, an examination of plots, threats and assassination attempts against American presidents, was published by Regnery in April 2014.

TIME Presidents

Presidents Clinton and Bush to Speak Together in Dallas

Former President Bill Clinton and former President George W. Bush speak during the launch of the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program at the Newseum in Washington on Sept. 8, 2014.
Saul Loeb—AFP/Getty Images Former president Bill Clinton and former president George W. Bush speak during the launch of the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program at the Newseum in Washington on Sept. 8, 2014.

Will address the Presidential Leadership Scholars program they helped launch on Thursday

In a rare moment of public kinship between former Commanders-in-Chief, Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush will appear together in Dallas Thursday to send off the inaugural class of their joint leadership program.

Since the Presidential Leadership Scholars program began in February, the first class of 60 scholars has traveled to four different presidential centers around the country to hear lectures and use case studies to learn core leadership skills. Both Clinton and Bush’s presidential centers participated in the initiative, as well as those of Presidents George H. W. Bush and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Unveiling the program in Washington, D.C. in September 2014, Clinton said he hoped it would inspire the scholars to “have vigorous debate, serious disagreements, knock-down, drag-out fights, and somehow come to ultimately a resolution that enables the country to keep moving forward.”

Daniel Anello, a graduating scholar and the CEO of a charter school initiative in Chicago, echoed this sentiment when he described his experience. “A recurring topic throughout the program has been a need and want for differing perspectives to come together where there is common ground to solve complex issues,” he said. “When we met with former leaders from various administrations, they pointed out how this had occurred at key moments in our nation’s history and paved the way for some key events that shaped who we are as a country, and frankly, made us better.”

According to Bush, the first class of scholars was comprised of “people from all walks of life and different political persuasions… [And] people who have shown the capacity to succeed.”

Casey Gerald, another graduate who founded a program that sends people getting MBAs out to work with small businesses and entrepreneurs, says this diversity is part of what made the program a success. He describes meeting Bush at his presidential center in Dallas: “Here I was, a poor kid from inner city Dallas who by some divine conspiracy made it to Yale and Harvard Business School, having a conversation with a former president who shares not only both of my alma maters but also now resides in my hometown. That night, it didn’t matter that I was black and he was white, that I was broke and he was wealthy, that he was a former president and I was a common citizen, that he was a conservative and I was a progressive…There’s no program on the planet aside from PLS that could make that happen.”

Clinton and Bush will speak in a moderated discussion at the graduation ceremony at the George W. Bush Presidential Center Thursday afternoon at 5 pm CDT.

TIME Tourism

Meet the U.S. President Responsible for the Most Tourism

Richard Nixon, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter.
Stanley Chow Richard Nixon, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter.

It's not Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt did a lot to help American tourism with his strenuous advocacy for national parks, but other presidents have him beat when it comes to actual tourists.

TIME looked at all the federal land each president established, according to the National Park Service — from national parks to battlefields to national historic sites — as well as each president’s library and monuments to him. (We did not count roadways.)

Totaling the annual visitor statistics for each location, the president who came out on top was Richard Nixon, with more than 31 million tourists visiting his sites in 2014.

Nixon may not have founded any of the gorgeous parks in America’s heartland that we tend to associate with this kind of tourism: Yosemite was Abraham Lincoln, the Grand Canyon was Teddy Roosevelt, and Yellowstone was Ulysses S. Grant, to name a few.

But Nixon has a trump card that launches him to the No. 1 spot: Golden Gate National Recreation Area, an 80,000-acre park in San Francisco with views of the bridge. It attracted more than 15 million visitors in 2014, dwarfing the Grand Canyon’s 4.7 million. (The park with the second-most visitors after Golden Gate is Great Smoky Mountains, established by Calvin Coolidge, which garnered more than 10 million visitors in 2014.)

Here are the leading presidents based on tourism numbers, and their top site:

1. Richard Nixon – 31,597,349/Golden Gate National Recreation Area

2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt – 27,110,229/Lake Mead National Recreation Area

3. Calvin Coolidge – 24,789,380/Great Smoky Mountains National Park

4. Lyndon B. Johnson – 19,997,226/Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

5. Jimmy Carter – 17,118,803/Vietnam Veterans Memorial

This article was originally published in the July 13 issue of TIME.

TIME foreign affairs

Quiz: What’s the Right Role for America in the World?

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives for a signing ceremony for a memorandum of understanding with Tunisian Minister of Political Affairs Mohsen Marzouk at Blair House, the presidential guest house, on May 20, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Mandel Ngan—AFP/Getty Images US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives for a signing ceremony for a memorandum of understanding with Tunisian Minister of Political Affairs Mohsen Marzouk at Blair House, the presidential guest house, on May 20, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Take an interactive quiz to discover what you think America's role in the world should be

In his new book Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World, TIME foreign affairs columnist Ian Bremmer diagnoses the drift in U.S. foreign policy—and offers a few alternatives for the next President. But where do you want to see the U.S. go? Take this quiz and find out:

 

TIME Software

See How Presidents Age in the White House, According to Microsoft

Perhaps no job can add gray hairs and wrinkles like serving as President of the United States. While Presidents do live longer than their fellow citizens (“Even in the 19th century, when the average man died at age 47, U.S. Presidents lived an average of 69 years,” according to Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy), their looks show the weight of the office famously quickly. But how fast? By using Microsoft’s new age-guessing tool how-old.net, released Thursday, we might be able to get an idea. While Barack Obama’s only been in office six years, judging by a photograph from 2009 and 2015, the wizards at Microsoft claim Obama’s looks have aged 13 years. George W. Bush, according to these two images, added nine years to his face during his eight years working in the Oval Office. Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush worked in the White House for four years–and his face grew four years older too. Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan both served for 8 years. Clinton’s features clocked 15 years while Reagan added a mere 2 years onto his looks during the same stretch.

 

 

TIME movies

How a Photo Reveals an Early Encounter Between Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth

See a clip from the HBO documentary 'Living With Lincoln'

It was 150 years ago this week, on April 14, 1865, mere days after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, that President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth. The act put an end to the life of one of history’s most revered men.

As shown in the exclusive clip above, a photograph from the time provides evidence for a claim that circulated in the days following the crime: that Booth was actually within firing range of the president during Lincoln’s second inauguration, about a month before the assassination actually took place.

That proof of a near-miss is just one of the ways that photographs have illuminated Lincoln’s story. In the HBO documentary Living With Lincoln, from which this exclusive clip is taken, Peter Kunhardt explores his family’s history collecting Lincoln artifacts and photographs like this one—a hobby, obsession and calling that has come down through the generations for a century and a half. The Kunhardt family’s collection has contributed to the ways the world remembers Lincoln—their pictures include the portraits used to design the penny and the five-dollar bill—and also links the 16th President to, oddly enough, LIFE Magazine and the children’s book Pat the Bunny.

Living With Lincoln premieres on HBO on April 13.

TIME Food

Here’s How Many Jelly Bellys Ronald Reagan Ate Each Month

With news of the company's warehouse relocating, a look back at of one of the candy's biggest fans

Ronald Reagan eating jelly beans during a meeting
NBC/NBCU Photo Bank—Getty Images Ronald Reagan eating jelly beans during a meeting.

Residents of Pleasant Prairie, Wisc., were sounding a dirge Wednesday for the Jelly Belly Candy Co. warehouse, which company officials announced will be sold as operations relocate to Tennessee. By now the news of changes to the company have probably reached the candy’s number one fan somewhere in the great beyond.

Ronald Reagan loved jelly beans like pre-vegan Bill Clinton loved jalapeño cheeseburgers and FDR loved acronyms. And the 4oth president’s fondness for the bite-sized sugar capsules rubbed off on the American public. As TIME reported in 1981: “Now, with Ronald Reagan in the White House, they seem fated to achieve the luster that the praline of sugar and nuts enjoyed in the court of France’s Louis XIV.”

Reagan was not down with any old generic brand beans, however. As TIME explained:

The type most esteemed by the President is brand-named Jelly Belly, which—addicts vow—is to the ordinary jelly bean what foie gras is to liverwurst. About one-fourth the size of the Easter-basket staple and three times as expensive (up to $4 per lb.), Bellys come in an array of 36 flavors. Their manufacturer, Herman Goelitz Co. of Oakland, maintains that the flavors are so delicate that the beans should be eaten one at a time, not by the vulgar handful. How else to appreciate the richness of the coffee mocha, the tang of the piña colada, the bouquet of the strawberry daiquiri?

Goelitz began supplying Reagan when he was governor of California, during which time he and his visitors plowed through two dozen 1-lb bags monthly, amounting to approximately 10,200 beans. As president, Reagan placed a standing order of 720 bags per month (306,070 beans), to be distributed among the White House, Capitol Hill and other federal buildings.

It’s probably time for the Jelly Belly Candy Co. to start lobbying presidential hopefuls to get their product back in the Oval Office.

Read the full article, here in the TIME Vault: Living: Hill of Beans

TIME photography

Meet the Man who has Photographed Mount Rushmore for Eight Decades

The monument turns 90 years old on March 3. 'People change...but the mountain stays the same,' says Bill Groethe

Bill Groethe was only a baby when Congress first passed legislation authorizing the establishment of a monument to “America’s founders and builders” at Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota, on Mar. 3, 1925. When the work of carving began — an event celebrated by President Coolidge, who wore a cowboy outfit to the ceremony in 1927 — Groethe was too young to care very much.

But that didn’t last long. Groethe, who is now 91, grew up and still lives and works in Rapid City, S.D.. He has seen the monument evolve over the years, and not just with his eyes: Groethe has been photographing Mount Rushmore since 1936.

“The first time I went up to the mountain as an assistant was in 1936 when Franklin Roosevelt was here to dedicate the Jefferson figure,” Groethe tells TIME. “I carried the film bag for my boss. I was 13 years old and I have pictures of me standing by the [president’s] limousine.”

Groethe, who grew up next door to the man who owned what was then his town’s only camera shop, got his first camera at age 10 and ended up working for the photographer Bert Bell by trading his labor for photo supplies. Bell had been sent to photograph South Dakota by the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad in order to drum up interest in tourism and ended up settling in Rapid City.

Courtesy of Bill GroetheBill Groethe holds a camera during his time as a photographer for the Army Air Corps in WWII.

Groethe apprenticed for Bell beginning in 1935 and began to take his own photos with a folding Kodak in 1937. Groethe worked for Bell for another two decades (with the exception of three years during World War II when he was photographer for the Army Air Corps). In 1957, he opened up his own photography business. Groethe also ended up inheriting files from before his own time, of early Mount Rushmore construction; he has thousands of those negatives, from which he still makes prints.

All these years later, Roosevelt’s visit to Rapid City — the occasion for Groethe’s first trip up Mount Rushmore — ranks among his favorite memories of monument. He remembers that people came from several states nearby to attend. TIME noted the following week that the crowd nearly doubled the town’s population. “At a signal from Sculptor Borglum’s daughter, his son, across the valley, dropped the flag, revealing an heroic head of Jefferson, 60 feet from crown to chin,” the magazine reported. “Simultaneously five dynamite blasts sent rock clattering down from the space where Lincoln’s face is to be carved.”

Courtesy of Bill GroetheBill Groethe with his 8×10 camera in front of Mount Rushmore, c. 1990s.

What Groethe remembers of that day is a little different, though no less exciting. “When you’re 13 years old you’re thinking mostly of being lucky to have a job and get to go along and go up in the cable car,” Groethe says. “I continue to have that interest in the mountain, of course. It means a lot to me. I still get a good thrill out of seeing the mountain. It hasn’t changed much. People change and facilities change, but the mountain stays the same.”

Mount Rushmore has not been without its detractors. The mountain is considered defaced by some, for reasons relating to the environment or Native American traditions. But Goethe says that, in his experience, the arguments against the monument don’t take away from its grandeur.

“I can attest to the fact that when I sit at a table [at Mount Rushmore], as I have for the last almost 20 years every week for a day or two in the summer, I have people from Europe and all over Asia come and tell me that all their lives they’ve wanted to come and see Mount Rushmore,” he says. “It’s an international symbol of freedom.”

Read TIME’s original story about FDR’s trip to Rapid City, here in the TIME Vault: Roosevelt & Rain

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