Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Origin of the Word "Lobbyist" Started in a Hotel Lobby?

The Willard as it was known back in when it was first built in 1816, was host to many famous guests over the years including Abraham Lincoln, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, General John J. Pershing, Walt Whitman, Harry Houdini, and Charles Dickens.
The Willard Hotel in Washington D.C. is believed to be the birthplace of the word "Lobbyist"
The Willard Hotel in Washington D.C. is believed to be the birthplace of the word "Lobbyist"

Ulysses S. Grant used to walk to the Willard hotel to relax and have an afternoon brandy during his Presidency in the 1870s.  He would sit in the lounge area of the lobby enjoying his drink and smoke cigars.  This being his daily routine, people would go there and sit with him to discuss their political needs with him.  After this went on for some time, President Grant would refer to these people as "lobbyists".  The term has stuck to this day, even though they do not go to the lobby of the Willard hotel to lobby for their cause.  It is thought that the ghost of Ulysses S. Grant can still be seen there on occasion.


It is thought that President Ulysses S. Grant coined the phrase "Lobbyist" from meeting political activists in the lobby of The Willard Hotel
It is thought that President Ulysses S. Grant coined the phrase "Lobbyist" from meeting political activists in the lobby of The Willard Hotel

Other Interesting Facts About The Willard Hotel

The Willard flies the Presidential flag whenever a U.S. President is staying there.  Such as the time when Warren G. Harding passed away, Calvin Coolidge used it as temporary residence until Harding's widow moved out of The White House.

Julia Ward Howe was staying at The Willard Hotel when she heard a Union regiment returning from battle singing while marching on the street below.  It was then she wrote "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".

Just before Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I Have A Dream" speech, he was staying at The Willard Hotel.  He wrote the now famous oratory in his hotel room.




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