Illustration by Sterling Hundley
Could words have killed our ninth president? On March 4, 1841, without coat, hat or gloves, Virginia-born William Henry Harrison delivered the longest inauguration speech in United States history. For nearly two hours, Harrison addressed the crowd. Prolonged exposure to the elements was followed by a cold one week later. Harrison’s cold quickly developed into pneumonia, and within a month, the shortest presidential term in United States history came to an end with the death of William Henry Harrison.