A Coolidge poem

Calvin Coolidge, by then (just barely) ex-president, and his election to the board of the New York Life Insurance Company served as the inspiration for a short New Yorker poem by E.B. White in the magazine’s April 20, 1929 edition:


I Want To Be Insured By Calvin Coolidge

I want to be insured by Calvin Coolidge,

Oh let me buy a policy from silent Cal!

I want to get the benefit of Calvin’s knowledge

In taking out a twenty-thousand mu-tu-al.


I want to pay my premiums to Calvin Coolidge,

I want to take them person’ly to North-amp-ton,

I want to build my character and save for college,

And leave my heirs a pretty pence when life is done.


I wouldn’t get insured by Darwin Kingsley*,

Or Lawrence F. Abbott, or Willard King,

When I can get insured by Calvin Coolidge…

And life will lose its hollowness and death its sting.

*probably Darwin P. Kingsley, former president of the Chamber of Commerce of New York

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