Before he was President: Richard Nixon
Milhouse Nixon, 1969-1974 lawyer, writer
He once worked at a game booth at the Slippery Gulch Rodeo.
While in the Navy in the 1940's, Richard Nixon noticed that his
friends were winning money in poker games. Always the opportunist,
Nixon had the best poker player in his unit teach him how to play
the game. Within only a few months, Nixon had won around $6,000 in
poker games, which he used to fund his first congressional campaign.
Richard Nixon's great grandparents had their home sold at sheriff's
sale in order to pay creditors. Page 6
In 1920 Richard Nixon was 7 and earned $1 for every 12 hours of work
he did as a bean picker. As a teen Nixon worked as a janitor,
chicken plucker in a poultry shop, and carnival barker.
While he was a student at Duke Law School, Nixon did not have much
money. So, every day for breakfast he ate a candy bar. The candy
bars cost 5 cents.
Gerald Rudolph Ford, 1974-1977
Busboy, male model
Gerald Ford spent some time as a male model. Ford and his girlfriend
were in a Look magazine spread in 1939, and in 1942 he was the cover
boy of Cosmopolitan.
Gerald Ford held part-time jobs in high school and college. In high
school he worked part-time in order to help pay family expenses
during the Great Depression. During college, he worked part-time
jobs in order to pay the various educational and living expenses
that were not covered by the football scholarship he had won from
the University of Michigan.
James Earl Carter, Jr., 1977-1981
peanut farmer, sailor, nuclear submarine commander
Jimmy worked so hard for his money as a child that getting a rare
bonus was memorable. He recalled one year that the circus had just
left a neighboring small town and he, along with other children,
examined every square inch of grass in the area the circus had been
performed on. His painstaking work paid off. He found 2 nickels and
Living in primitive conditions was the norm until a stroke of luck
brought electricity to the Carter home in 1938 during America’s
Rural Electrification Program. Not only was the Carter family
fortunate enough to have one light bulb in their home, but their
$10.00 electricity bill was one of the highest in the area after
they were fortunate enough to install a electricity guzzling
refrigerator and stove!
An interesting note about this was that because of the Carter’s
“enormous” use of electricity, Jimmy’s father was elected to
represent the area at the Sumter Electric Membership Corporation.
This position introduced Jimmy’s father, and the family, to
politics, thus giving Jimmy an early education on politics.