I hope everyone has already checked out the refurbished and spiffy website of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation… there is always something new to discover there! And for those who rightly feel that the contents of this blog have been a little shallow lately (or ever), they are much encouraged to read and ponder two new footnote-laden essays by Bob Kirby and Jerry Wallace on two areas that are contentious – the alleged culpability of the Coolidge administration in causing, not preventing, or laying the groundwork for (you take your pick) the Great Depression (Kirby), and the question of how the Coolidge administration reacted to the activities of the Ku Klux Klan (Wallace). Not to spoil the fun for you, but I’d say our man comes out looking pretty good after all the evidence has been presented – as if there was ever any doubt about that!
And (in the hope that Jerry won’t mind), I’ll add an anecdote from the footnotes that was new to me – Jerry Wallace, who calls this one of his favorite stories and I must agree, includes it to illustrate Calvin Coolidge’s good relations with the Jewish community. The story is told by Representative Sol Bloom, a good friend of the president’s:
“With my wife and daughter, I once had the pleasure of taking David Belasco to the White House to meet the President. The great producer, then past seventy, was as shy and nervous as a schoolboy, and when I presented him he almost whispered as he said, “Mr. President, I am deeply honored…” “No, Mr. Belasco,” interrupted Calvin Coolidge. “I am deeply honored. There have been many Presidents of the United States, but there is only one David Belasco.”