Trivia

Hard

Which U.S. President’s Middle Initial Wasn’t Actually Short For Anything?

Harry S. Truman
John F. Kennedy
Rutherford B. Hayes
James K. Polk

Answer: Harry S Truman

George W. Bush, John F. Kennedy, Rutherford B. Hayes–there are many U.S. presidents with prominent middle initials. In the case of Harry S. Truman, however, there’s a bit of an anomaly. Although we could hardly fault you for guessing that the S. stands for something like Samuel, Sebastian, or Sherman, it actually stands for “S” and nothing more.

In a 1962 interview, a reporter asked Truman why his name sometimes appeared in print without a period after his middle initial. He explained that it wasn’t a middle initial at all, but that his middle name was in fact simply “S.” Why the peculiarly terse middle name? His parents couldn’t decide which of his grandfathers to name him after: Anderson Shipp Truman or Solomon Young. As a compromise, they made his middle name “S” as a nod to elements of both his grandfathers’ names.

Although technically his name should be written “Harry S Truman” just like one would write “John Fitzgerald Kennedy,” stylistically it looks odd and it’s a nightmare for copy editing if the copy editor is not aware of the interesting history of Truman’s name. As such, it is common practice for both Truman’s name and any name wherein the middle name is a single letter to include a period after it.

Trivia

Easy

The Mast Of The Empire State Building Was Originally To Serve As What?

Trivia

Hard

Which Widely Used Internet Acronym Is Coincidentally Self-Referential In Dutch?

Trivia

Hard

The Prohibition-Era’s Most Successful Enforcement Officers Made Many Of Their Arrests Posing As?

Trivia

Hard

In Ancient Warfare, Both The Greeks And Romans Fought Off War Elephants With?

Trivia

Hard

Television Broadcasting Derives Its Name From What?

Trivia

Easy

Painted Navigational Markers Left On Hiking Trails Are Called?

Trivia

Hard

Big Ben, The Famous Clock Of London’s Palace of Westminster, Is Calibrated Using?

Trivia

Hard

Which Video Game Is Considered To Have Defined The Genre Of Real-Time Strategy Games?

Trivia

Very Hard

Which Video Game First Inspired Widespread Controversy?

Trivia

Hard

The Only Albino Gorilla Ever Discovered Was Found In?