Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Frank Neuhauser, Winner of First National Spelling Bee, Dies at 97 - The Washington Post

By Emma Brown

Frank Neuhauser, a Washington area patent lawyer who made headlines more than 85 years ago when he won the first-ever national spelling bee, died March 11 at his home in Silver Spring. He was 97 and had myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood disease.

The son of a Kentucky stonemason, Mr. Neuhauser was 11 years old in 1925 when he spelled “gladiolus” correctly to win the nation’s first spelling championship. His prize was $500 in gold, a bicycle and a trip to the White House to meet President Calvin Coolidge.

When he returned home to Louisville, he was greeted with a ticker-tape parade and crowds bearing bouquets of his new favorite flower — the gladiolus, a member of the iris family.


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