Famous Hobbies

Which hobbies inspired historical figures?


Sheltering at home, people are discovering past hobbies. Or realizing they don’t have hobbies and looking for something a little more interesting than laundry or cleaning to fill up their hours.

Have you been surprised by the home hobby postings of some of your nearest and dearest? One person’s hobby is another person’s crime scene. Restoring vintage doll heads might seem a perfectly charming pursuit or new evidence of horror villainy. And better practice your surprised delight look for all those painted rocks you’re going to be gifted next birthday.

Here’s how some renowned people of the past whiled away their hours:

A Sampling of Famous Hobbies

• Winston Churchill – painting
• Marie Curie – bicycling
• Emily Dickinson – baking
• Thomas Edison – watching silent movies
• Albert Einstein – the violin + sailing (albeit not so successfully as a non-swimmer)
• Duke Ellington – painting
• Sigmund Freud – hiking and mushroom-picking
• Thomas Jefferson – multiple including chess, the violin, archeology …
• Steve Jobs – the guitar
• Stanley Kubrick – collecting stationary and brown ink
• Felix Mendelssohn – drawing, painting, learning new languages
• Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – card tricks + games like bowling, billiards

Johann Nepomuk della Croce A Portrait of Mozart’s deceased mother overlooking Mozart, his sister Nannerl + father, Leopold. 1780-81


• Vladimir Nabakov – lepidopterist – moths and butterflies
• Napoleon – playing chess
• Nostradamus – jam making
• Georgia O’Keefe – camping
• Prince – table tennis
• Teddy Roosevelt – boxing and judo
• Frank Sinatra – model trains, painting
• Jimmy Stewart – aviation
• J.R.R. Tolkein – glossopoeia, ie: inventing new languages
• Mark Twain – patented suspenders, that is ‘Adjustable and Detachable Straps for Garments’
• Edith Wharton – interior decoration
• The Wright Brothers – cycling

Header: Georgia O’Keefe. In the Patio No IV. 1948


Signs To Keep Them Honest


Words For Lockdown

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton