Doggone it!

A recent post at sheds a long overdue light on scientific research into the importance of dogs in politics. If only Mitt Romney had known about this earlier! And now we know one more reason why Calvin Coolidge often was seen accompanied by dogs – the clever Vermonter must have known about the payoff in popularity even then.

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Dances with Collies

It’s close to the end of the month, and I’m desperate for more clicks… so, on the theory that there’s always interest in handsome animals, if not in undeservedly obscure 1920s presidents, I give you Calvin Coolidge with one of his quadruped White House friends, the collie Rob Roy. And maybe it’s just me, but I thought it almost looked as if the two of them are dancing 🙂

Calvin Coolidge and Rob Roy, Oct. 31, 1924

Calvin Coolidge and Rob Roy, Oct. 31, 1924

A Coolidge anecdote

The other day I received a copy of Grace Coolidge and Her Era, by Ishbel Ross – a used copy from the 2nd printing of this interesting biography published in the year of my birth, 1962. The dust jacket was missing, but I understand that it features the painting by Howard Chandler Christy of the then First Lady in an elegant red gown.

Grace Goodhue Coolidge and canine friend

The book contains the story of this portrait:

Christy’s painting of Mrs. Coolidge in a red dress with Rob Roy, her white collie, became a favorite on the walls of the White House. It was the first painting done of the First Lady, and it was the gift of Pi Beta Phi – if you look closely, you can see that the gold arrow pin of the first national college fraternity for women is painted on to her gown.

The president (who also was painted around that time by Christy) apparently showed great interest in the preliminary arrangements and was consulted about Grace’s gown. When Christy suggested the First Lady wear red for the purpose of contrast with the white collie, the president demurred – he preferred a white brocaded satin gown that he particularly liked on his wife. “If she wears red, we’ll have the blue sky and the white dog to make it red, white and blue,” the painter argued.

“She could still wear the white dress and we’d dye the dog,” said Coolidge with a deadpan expression. The painter prevailed, but later also painted her in white satin, perhaps to accede to Calvin Coolidge’s wish.

Grace Goodhue Coolidge actually was the first regularly initiated fraternity member to become First Lady. In 1927 she gave her original fraternity pin to the Smithsonian Institution, where it was attached her gown.

As indicated by the link, you can still find good used copies of this highly recommended book.