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Historical Ink

October 3, 2016

Tattoos are nothing new. Even some historical figures had them. This article was first published in our brand-new, 29th annual edition, Uncle John’s Uncanny Bathroom Reader
Historical Ink

Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919)

The rugged president was a pioneer of modern masculinity, including tattoos. As a young man, he had the Roosevelt family crest inked onto his chest.

Andrew Jackson (1767–1845)

Jackson’s policies displaced thousands of Native Americans from their homes. Ironically, he had a tomahawk tattooed on his inner thigh.

Winston Churchill (1874–1965)

Though Churchill spent his military career in the army, he had a naval anchor tattooed on his arm. (His mother, Lady Randolph Churchill, had a snake tattooed on her wrist.)

Barry Goldwater (1909–1998)

The U.S. senator from Arizona and father of modern conservatism got a crescent moon and four dots tattooed on his hand. It’s the symbol of the Smoki People, an Arizona group dedicated to preserving southwestern Native American history.

Czar Nicholas II (1868–1918)

While visiting Japan in 1891, the future Czar Nicholas II of Russia got a dragon tattoo on his right arm.

James K. Polk (1795–1849)

Tattoos of Chinese characters meaning “strength” or “peace” may be clichéd now, but the idea was very unusual when President Polk did it. He had a tattoo of a Chinese character that translates to “eager.”

George P. Shultz (1920– )

Shultz had a distinguished career as Secretary of Labor and Secretary of the Treasury under President Nixon, and as Secretary of State under President Reagan. He also has a tattoo of a tiger, the mascot of his alma mater, Princeton University, on his butt.

Harold II (1022–1066)

The last Anglo-Saxon king of England died during the Battle of Hastings in 1066. His body was so brutalized that the only way his Norman foes could confirm his death was by the tattoo of his wife’s name, Edith, on his chest.
Uncle John's Uncanny Bathroom Reader

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