Happy New Year!

As this blog starts into 2011, following a record-setting December and Dec. 31st (most blog visitors in a month, respectively a day), I feel more than ever that Calvin Coolidge is a subject worth exploring and developing further. With Glenn Beck coming out as a Coolidge fan last summer, and with the publication date of Amity Shlaes’ new biography approaching, not to mention the publication of “Why Coolidge Matters” by the National Notary Association, it appears that interest in the 30th president hasn’t crested yet.

I trust in time more people will come to share the assessment by Coolidge’s authoritative and sympathetic biographer Claude M. Fuess (“Calvin Coolidge: The Man from Vermont”, p. vii):

Some statesmen diminish in size and importance under microscopic study. Coolidge, on the other hand, has seemed to me to grow more interesting. I finish this biography with the conviction that he was not only a useful public servant but a great and good man.

This same conviction guides me as I continue to write this hopefully intermittently interesting blog in the coming year.

3 thoughts on “Happy New Year!

  1. Fuess makes a great observation.

    I might recommend two books by historian Walter McDougall “Freedom Just Around the Corner” and “Throes of Democracy” which cover the period of American events from 1585-1877. Fascinating and fun reads as he gives us the human side (warts and all) of the men and women that built this country.

  2. Dr. Claude Moore Fuess name presents a problem to many Coolidge scholars and historians. How do you pronounce his last name? This was true in his life time, too. His friends called him “Jack” and I will do well to let him tell his own story:

    “I have become accustomed to answering to Fuss, Few-ess, Fuse, and Foos.” In fact no pronunciation of the name has ever startled me very much.”

    In his readable 1952 autobiography “Independent Schoolmaster” he provides this helpful verse, titled
    “Fuess, please”:

    He’ll exclaim, “Oh, what’s the use!”
    When he hears you utter “Fuess.”
    And he’ll like it even less
    If you say its Mr. Fuess.
    If you want to hear him cuss
    Just be sure to call him Fuess.
    All his wonted calm he’ll lose
    If perchance you murmur “Fuess”;
    But he’ll thank you on his knees
    If you will but call him “Fuess.”

    Dr. Fuess was Headmaster at Andover Academy & was notorious for not remembering his students names.

    • Well, thank you! I must admit I had been pronouncing it wrong all the time; I was with the “use/lose” faction. The name does appear to indicate German or perhaps Swiss ancestry (perhaps you know, having read his autobiography?) and in that case, the “ue”-umlaut would be pronounced differently again.

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