Grateful American® Foundation

Press Release: Historian Thomas Fleming Shares 10 Fascinating Facts About the Founding Fathers

May 16, 2014

May 16, 2014, New York, NY — “Novelists focus on the intimate side of life,” insists best-selling author Thomas Fleming, who has penned dozens of historic books including his recent novel, The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers.

“This is the first time anyone has looked at the intimate side of the lives of these famous Americans with an historian’s eyes,” Fleming told David Bruce Smith and Hope Katz Gibbs, co-hosts of the The Grateful American™ TV Show.

The video interview with Fleming was shot in the beautiful formal dining room of Alexander Hamilton’s home, The Grange, in New York City, where Fleming shared anecdotes about the men and women who shaped the founding of the United States.

“Hope and I are big fans of Tom Fleming, so it was a privilege to feature him on our new TV series,” says Smith, who created the Grateful American™ Series with the goal of restoring enthusiasm for American history in kids, and adults.

“Historians like Tom have done amazing amounts of research and it’s fascinating to listen to them share their in-depth understanding of what the people who founded the Unites States were really like. This interview was a high point in our Series.”

“The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers,” is Fleming’s 50th published work. Twenty-three of his books have been novels, and he is the only writer in the history of the Book of the Month Club to have main selections in fiction and in nonfiction. Many have won prizes.

Click here to watch the video on The Grateful American™ TV Show. And learn more about the entire project at


Did you know:

  1. Of the founding fathers who became president, only George Washington did not go to college. John Adams graduated from Harvard; James Madison from Princeton; and Thomas Jefferson attended the College of William and Mary.
  2. John Adams was the first president to live in the White House, moving in during November of 1800. He only lived there four months, however, since he lost that year’s election to Thomas Jefferson.
  3. On March 4, 1793, George Washington delivered the shortest inauguration speech in American history: 133 words. William Henry Harrison gave the longest—8,443 words—on March 4, 1841. The day was a cold, blustery one, and Harrison caught a chill, which ultimately led to his death a month later.
  4. Author Washington Irving described James Madison as “a withered little apple-john,” and his wife Dolley as a “fine, portly, buxom dame.”
  5. The Marquis de Lafayette thought so highly of George Washington that he named his son George Washington Lafayette. Over the years, Washington developed tremendous affection for Lafayette, referring to him as “my French son.”
  6. John Adams was the only president to be the father of a future president—John Quincy Adams—until George W. Bush, son of George H.W. Bush, became president in 2000.
  7. Thomas Jefferson often spent $50 a day (about $900 in 2014 dollars) on groceries for the lavish entertaining that he did. The wine bill for his eight-year presidency was $11,000 (equivalent to almost $200,000 in 2014).
  8. Although George Washington called for the emancipation of slaves in his Last Will and Testament, it was his wife Martha who freed the slaves that Washington owned. However, she was unable to free the slaves that she owned. Under the terms of her first husband’s will, these slaves—about half of those living at Mount Vernon—belonged to her children and grandchildren.
  9. Originally, George Washington was to be buried in the U.S. Capitol, beneath the Rotunda floor, under the Capitol dome. But he died before the Rotunda was finished, and he and his wife Martha are both buried at Mount Vernon in Virginia.
  10. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the same day: July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. James Monroe died July 4, 1831.

About Thomas Fleming

Thomas Flieming’s book, The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers, is his 50th published work. Twenty-three of his books have been novels, and he is the only writer in the history of the Book of the Month Club to have main selections in fiction and in nonfiction.

Many of Fleming’s books have won prizes. Recently he received the Burack Prize from Boston University for lifetime achievement. In nonfiction he has specialized in the American Revolution. He sees “Intimate Lives” as a perfect combination of his double talent as a novelist and historian. His wife, Alice Fleming, is a gifted writer of books for young readers.

For more information:

About The Grateful American™ Series:

Dedicated to restoring enthusiasm in American history for kids, and adults, David Bruce Smith’s Grateful American™ Series is an interactive, multi-media project created in 2014. The series includes:

  • The Grateful American™ Radio Show on the Inkandescent Radio Network, which features interviews about historical figures (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, etc.) with the chief executives of the nation’s presidential homes, historians, and other experts:
  • A TV series on YouTube, DCTV, and other public access, and national TV stations.
  • The Grateful American™ Guidebook: Coming in 2016, this book will feature insights from the leaders of the presidential homes, and interactive exercises that explore, engage, and help readers develop an interest in American history.

Learn more about The Grateful American™ Series at

About David Bruce Smith

Author and publisher David Bruce Smith is a graduate of The George Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in American Literature, and a master’s in journalism from New York University, Smith has spent decades as a real estate executive and the editor-in-chief/ publisher of Crystal City magazine.

He is also the author of 11 books, including his most recent, American Hero: John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States.

For more information, visit

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