A Rare look at the U.S. Presidents: Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren, seen in this painting was the 8th President of the United States from March 4, 1837 - March 3, 1841. (AP Photo)

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?

  1. Van Buren was of Dutch ancestry, and Dutch was his first language. He was baptized “Maarten van Buren.”
  2. He was the first American-born president. All his predecessors were born as British subjects before the Revolutionary War.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Van Buren was partially responsible for the Panic of 1837, one of the worst depressions in American history.

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