When a Coerced, Nude President Was First Interviewed by a Female Journalist

How did I get through so many years of school without hearing this strange “presidential history” anecdote about John Quincy Adams and Anne Royall?

According to the story, Adams (son of John Adams) customarily took a nude early morning swim in the Potomac River. Anne Royall, the first U.S. female professional journalist (i.e. did it as her occupation, for which she earned her living), knew of his 5 a.m. swims. After being refused interviews with the president time after time, she went to the river, gathered his clothes and sat on them until she had her interview (a statement from him about the Bank of the United States). Before this, no female had interviewed a president.

Belatedly, I can only say, “You go, girl.”

You can read more about Anne Royall on Wikipedia. She must’ve been quite a character!

John Quincy Adams, the first sitting U.S. President to be photographed. I guess he was probably used to the catcalls, based on this sultry photograph. (He was working the pouty look way ahead of his time!)

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get someone’s attention?

Cheekily yours,

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