Remember the “Van Buren Boys” episode of “Seinfeld?” Members of the Van Buren Boys gang flashed eight fingers, a nod to the eighth President of the United States.
But how much do you know about Martin Van Buren?
- Van Buren was of Dutch ancestry, and Dutch was his first language. He was baptized “Maarten van Buren.”
- He was the first American-born president. All his predecessors were born as British subjects before the Revolutionary War.
- At 5 feet 6 inches tall, Van Buren was among the shortest presidents and was nicknamed the Little Magician. He was rumored to wear corsets to maintain a slim appearance.
- Describing something as OK may come from another one of Van Buren’s nicknames, Old Kinderhook. (He was born in Kinderhook, N.Y.) His supporters called themselves the OK Club.
- Van Buren was partially responsible for the Panic of 1837, one of the worst depressions in American history.