Oct. 27, 2003.
This website offers a vast collection of anecdotes by and about famous
people, everyday issues, and human nature. The collection is searchable by
keyword, last name, first name, city, country, nationality, and occupation.
Sources are cited
A few examples:
- Search: law school.
When Robert Hutchins was dean of the Yale Law School, he once fell into
conversation with William Howard Taft, then Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court. "Well, Professor Hutchins," Taft remarked, "I suppose you teach your
students that the judges are all fools." "No, Mr. Chief Justice," Hutchins
replied, "we let them find that out for themselves."
- Search: holmes
One day in his eighty-seventh year, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. passed a
beautiful girl while out strolling with another old friend. "Oh," he remarked,
turning to watch her as she walked away, "to be seventy again!"
- Search: senator
John Glenn, the first American astronaut in space, was once asked to describe
his (presumably profound) thoughts just before taking off into space. "I
looked around me and suddenly realized," Glenn replied, "that everything had
been built by the lowest bidder!"
- Search by occupation: lawyer
One day John Marshall and his fellow Supreme Court justices, having heard
disturbing rumors of their own excessive drinking, jointly agreed to abstain
on their weekly consultation day - unless it was raining. The following
consultation day, Marshall (the Chief Justice) instructed Joseph Story to go
to the window and check for signs of inclement weather. Story soon reported
back: "Mr. Chief Justice, I have very carefully examined this case," he
declared, "and I have to give it as my opinion that there is not the slightest
sign of rain." "Justice Story," Marshall replied, "I think that is the
shallowest and most illogical opinion I have ever heard you deliver. You
forget that our jurisdiction is as broad as the Republic, and by the laws of
nature it must be raining some place in our jurisdiction. Waiter, bring on the
- Search by city: Seattle
In April 2003, Conan O'Brien learned that Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen had
announced plans to build a multi-million dollar Science Fiction museum in
Seattle, Washington. "It will be," O'Brien quipped, "the first museum in
America that won't require a girl's bathroom."
- Search by last name: Lincoln
One day while he was still practicing law, Abraham Lincoln was visited by a
prospective client who wished to file a suit for $2.50 against an impoverished
debtor. Though Lincoln tried to dissuade him, the man was bent on exacting
revenge. After considerable discussion, Lincoln reluctantly agreed to take the
case. Upon receipt of his $10 fee, he promptly gave half to the defendant, who
in turn immediately acknowledged, and paid, the $2.50 debt.