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Back when we wrote Signing Their Rights Away, a Quirk book about the signers of the U.S. Constitution, we visited Philadelphia’s famous Christ Church Burial Ground, the final resting place of some Declaration and Constitution signers. Tourists typically make a beeline for Ben Franklin’s grave. Most never think to check out the stone of Major William Jackson—even if they’d know where to find it.

Jackson was the official secretary to the Constitutional Convention back in 1787, and served as George Washington’s “writing-aide” during that summer-long session to craft the U.S. Constitution. Jackson’s signature appears in the bottom-left corner of the U.S. Constitution. Since he was not a delegate from a particular state, historians don’t regard him as an official signer of the document. But people sometimes call him the “40th signer”—in quotes.

Jackson has laid in the Christ Church’s Burial Ground since his death in 1828, but the stone on his grave (and that of his wife Elizabeth) has, over time, suffered damage and erosion. (See photo here.) Historians at the church recently did some detective work among their records to identify the precise location of the Jacksons’ grave. They then donated their own money to commission a new plaque, which will be installed and dedicated this weekend, Sunday, May 18.

The event is open to the public, so come check it out: 1:00 pm at

Christ Church Burial Ground, 5th and Arch Streets, in Quirk’s hometown of Philadelphia, PA.

Posted by Joseph D'Agnese

What If We Cast Actors in Presidential Biopics Based on Last Name Alone?

Inspiration can come from anywhere. Sometimes it is grand and beautiful, with great implications about what it means to be human. Sometimes it comes from Twitter.

After seeing this tweet from Blair, one of my esteemed editors at Quirk, [Hello! —Ed.] I could not help but throw out name after name. Inspired, I put this post together, complete with shoddily photoshopped MS Painted movie stills. I don’t know about you, but I think at least one of these would be a blockbuster. [OBVIOUSLY. —Ed.] If not, I definitely have some sequels in mind.

Posted by Brian Morell

Eat More Books, Episode 19: Meetings

President’s Day: Celebrating Fictional Presidents Who Saved The Day

In our darkest hours, it is comforting to know that the leaders of our country are doing everything they can to save us, whether it’s fighting off an alien invasion or trying to prevent a giant asteroid from obliterating us all. Here are some of our favorite fictional presidents who saved the day!

President Thomas J. Whitmore – Independence Day: Yes, many cities around the world were destroyed and countless lives were lost, but when it came down to it, we were fortunate that the President of the United States happened to be a decorated fighter pilot.

President Whitmore did his best at stopping the alien invasion from a cockpit, but his rousing speech before the massive assault on the motherships will never be forgotten.

President James Marshall – Air Force One: When Air Force One was hijacked by Russian terrorists, President Marshall didn’t run to protect himself. He used the emergency escape pod as a diversion, hiding on the plane so he could take it back from the bad guys, including a double-crossing Secret Service agent.

In the end, he saved his family and democracy, telling the Soviets, “GET OFF MY PLANE!”

President Tom Beck – Deep Impact: 1998 was a year that sharply divided America. Were you a fan of Deep Impact or Armageddon? You can’t like both, ok!

While Armageddon grossed more at the box office and spawned a terrible Aerosmith song, Deep Impact was more scientifically accurate and also had Morgan Freeman as President Beck, so choose your side wisely.

President David Palmer – 24: The presidents of the 24 universe faced disasters and adversity constantly, only to be helped or taken down by Jack Bauer. Out of all them, there is no president who was more respected by Bauer than David Palmer, who had to deal with threats of nuclear and biological weapons during his presidency.

President Palmer was shown to be a strong leader, but perhaps his greatest strength was putting his trust in Jack when no one else did.

Are there any presidential heroes that you love but we left off our list? Let us know in the comments!

Brian Morell is an awesome librarian from New York City. He writes about his travels and life at That Long Yellow Line and about music for The Ruckus. Follow him on Twitter @goodinthestacks.

Posted by Brian Morell

Eat More Books: Episode 3 “The West”

Posted by Rick Chillot

The Limerick: A Brief History

 One of the first limericks known to man. Note the obscenity in line two.

Sunday, May 12, is National Limerick Day, an event traditionally celebrated by dressing like Edward Lear and rhyming things with Nantucket. But for all the hallowed tradition surrounding this beloved poetic form, most of us know precious little about the limerick and how it became such a popular from of rhymery. So this weekend, while you’re out mailing limerick cards and singing limerick carols and visiting the nuclear power plant in Limerick, PA, take a moment to ponder the storied history of this simple but profound method of expressing life’s truths.

Posted by Rick Chillot