Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Price of the Presidency

The Price of the Presidency - Article from Yankee Magazine examines the toll the presidency took on Coolidge's personal life.

From the site:

He was called Silent Cal, and the nation laughed at his taciturnity, his frugality, and his dry wit. But the Great Stone Face hid a sweet smile and a terrible anguish.

January 5, 1933 was a crisp mid-winter Thursday in Northampton, Massachusetts. In the redbrick Masonic Block, the city's most famous resident put in a short morning at the second-floor law office marked Coolidge and Hemenway. It was part of the comfortable routine Calvin Coolidge had adopted since leaving the White House nearly four years earlier. The 30th president of the United States made no pretense of being a practicing lawyer. Coolidge and Hemenway was a place to kick off one's shoes, lean back with a freshly clipped cigar, and pour over the morning's papers and ever-present mail.

The latter presented challenges of its own, reflecting the severe hardship that had fastened its grip upon the American economy like winter descending upon the Connecticut River valley. One day a package containing a diamond bracelet arrived at Masonic Block, sent by an admirer convinced that only the parsimonious Coolidge could safeguard her valuables in these uncertain times. "He treated that diamond bracelet as if it were a scorpion," recalled Coolidge's secretary, Herman Beatty. The unsolicited package was hastily returned, but only after the former president filed a post office receipt in front of several reliable witnesses.

No comments: