The Long and the Short of William Henry Harrison
It was a dark and stormy night – No, actually, it was a dark and stormy day when 68-year-old William Henry Harrison, the 9th President of the United States, took his oath of office on the steps of the Capitol building.
Harrison delivered his inauguration address under rainy skies, but he refused to wear a hat or overcoat. (William, what did your mother tell you?!) He stood outside for the entire proceeding, dressed only in his suit coat. When the speech was over, Harrison greeted crowds of well-wishers at the White House and attended several celebrations that evening.
Apparently, it was too much for “Old Tippecanoe.” He contracted pneumonia, and by April, he was dead.
So President Harrison has two “stars” beside his name in the record book: The longest inaugural speech ever presented –one hour and 45 minutes; and the shortest term in office – just 32 days.
Longest, shortest, and most valuable. Since WHH’s term in office was so short, he didn’t have the opportunity to sign many Presidential papers. That’s why his Presidential signature is so scarce and worth a great deal.
A Presidential pardon signed by Harrison while in office sold for more than $75,000.00!