Work for Coolidge

Hubert Work in 1922

Hubert Work in 1922


Hubert Work was a central, albeit inconspicuous, figure in the administrations of presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, whom he served as postmaster-general and secretary of the interior between the years 1922 and 1928. Still, his activities remain largely unheralded.

Born on a farm in rural Pennsylvania on July 3, 1860, he studied medicine and went out west, settling first in Greeley, Colorado, then in Pueblo. Active in Republican party politics from early on, he was chairman of the Colorado state Republican convention in the contentious year of 1908, and he also was a regular Republican delegate to the national convention that nominated William Howard Taft. During the campaign of 1920, Republican chairman Will Hays named him to organize farmers in support of the Harding-Coolidge ticket, and after that ticket’s resounding victory, he became assistant to Hays’ postmaster-general. When Hays left that post to head the National Association of Motion Picture Producers and Distributors in 1922, Harding picked Work to succeed him, surely in part because he remembered and appreciated his efforts on behalf of the ticket. Continue reading

Smoke-filled room or insurrection? The 1920 GOP vice-presidential nomination

Irvine L. Lenroot, 1869 - 1949

Sometimes, reading a patent falsehood on the web or elsewhere will prompt the wish to set things straight with a blog post of one’s own. The other day I read somewhere that Calvin Coolidge was named the 1920 GOP vice-presidential nominee as the result of a cabal in a smoke-filled room. As we Coolidge fans and followers know, that is the opposite of what happened.

The 1920 Republican national convention began June 8, 1920, at the Chicago Coliseum. Balloting for the nomination of the presidential candidate began Friday, June 11. Going in, the leading candidates were Frank O. Lowden, the well-regarded, moderate, and wealthy governor of Illinois, and General Leonard Wood, a long-time friend and associate of the late Theodore Roosevelt – these two were deadlocked. The other leading contenders were the fiery progressive Senator Hiram Johnson of California, and the amiable and undistingished, yet eminently presidential-looking Senator Warren G. Harding of Ohio.

Continue reading