Famous Notaries and Fun Facts

Notaries have held important roles in society dating back to ancient Egypt. They've had front-row seat to history, and over thousands of years, have made a little history of their own.

Here is a list of famous notaries and fun facts about the profession.

Famous Notaries Public

  • Samuel Clemens: writer, humorist, entrepreneur; known better by his pen name - Mark Twain
  • Mindy Cohn: actress best known as Natalie Green in The Facts of Life
  • John Calvin Coolidge Sr.: Father of John Calvin Coolidge Jr., the 30th President of the United States; administered the Oath of Office to his son
  • Ser Piero da Vinci: Prominent notary; father of Leonardo da Vinci
  • Salvador Dalí i Cusí: Middle-class lawyer; father of surrealist painter Salvador Dalí
  • Jennifer Lopez: singer, actress, dancer, and producer
  • Thomas McKean: lawyer and politician; the last person to sign the Declaration of Independence
  • Joe Moeller: former professional baseball player; youngest pitcher in Los Angeles Dodgers history (19 years, 2 months)
  • Dwight K. Schrute: Assistant to the Regional Manager, Dunder Mifflin Paper Company Inc.
  • William Shakespeare: English poet, playwright, and actor
  • Stanley Tucci: Emmy Award-winning actor and producer

Notary Fun Facts

  • Notaries public were once church officials appointed by the Pope. When Henry VIII separated England from the Roman Catholic Church, the practice continued through the Archbishop of Canterbury, who commissioned notaries throughout England and the New World.
  • As European explorers began searching the far reaches of the globe, notaries went along for the ride. European monarchies used notaries to document all discovered treasures. When Columbus set sail for the Americas in 1492, he did so with notary Rodrigo de Escobedo in tow.
  • American notaries didn’t get off to a great start. Thomas Fugill was the first New World notary when he was appointed head record-keeper of the New Haven Colony in 1639. Fugill was excommunicated and returned to England in 1646 after it was learned he falsified records.
  • From the late 1790s through the early 1900s, the President of the United States appointed notaries public for the District of Columbia. That power now resides with the Mayor of D.C.
  • Following his surrender at Appomattox, Confederate General Robert E. Lee took an amnesty oath before notary C.A. Davidson swearing loyalty to the United States and its laws. The oath was misplaced before Lee received his pardon, and his citizenship was never restored in his lifetime. Lee received his citizenship posthumously restored by Congress in 1975 following the rediscovery of the notarized amnesty oath in State Department records.
  • Vice President John Calvin Coolidge Jr. was visiting his family’s farm in Vermont during the summer of 1923 when then-President Warren G. Harding unexpectedly passed away. John Calvin Coolidge Sr., a notary public and justice of the peace, administered the Oath of Office to his son in the family’s parlor, marking the only time a president has been sworn in by a notary public. President Coolidge was sworn in a second time upon his return to Washington, D.C. to avoid any potential controversy around a state official administering a federal oath.
  • More than two-thirds of notaries today are women, but this wasn’t always the case. Emily Calkins Stebbens was one of the first - if not the first - female notaries when commissioned by Iowa governor William M. Stone in 1866. Clara Foltz and Marilla Ricker, renowned for their advocacy during the women’s rights movement, served as the first female notaries in California and the District of Columbia, respectively. It wasn’t until the rise of urbanization in the late 1800s that demand for notaries prompted widespread access for women.
  • He may not be in the Hall of Fame, but you can bet Pete Rose had his own Wheaties box. In order to appear on the “Breakfast of Champions,” baseball’s all-time hits leader had to sign and swear before a notary that he’d eaten the cereal since he was a child.

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