"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
"When he went the power and the glory of the Presidency went with him." Calvin Coolidge fell into clinical depression and effectively ceased to function as president after the death of his teenaged son, a recent biography maintains. The Atlantic's Jack Beatty writes:
On the afternoon of June 30, 1924, Calvin and his older brother, John, played several sets of tennis with the two White House doctors; Tuesday, they played again, and agreed to play once more on Wednesday. Calvin Jr. did not show up for the Wednesday match. He was in bed with a temperature. He had not worn socks to play tennis, and had developed a blister on one of his toes. The doctors discovered it too late to stop the systemic infection that, five days later, killed him. As he was dying, his father repeatedly pressed a locket into his hand until his son fell into a coma and could no longer grip it. "It contained a photograph of [the President's] mother and a lock of her hair," Gilbert writes, "so similar to young Calvin's in color and texture."
That locket closed a circle of loss and grief: when Calvin was twelve Victoria Coolidge, thirty-nine, died of tuberculosis at their Plymouth Notch, Vermont home. "Mother wants to see you both before she dies," his father, John Coolidge, told him and his younger sister, Abbie. "Hurry now and remember no crying. Not now, you're almost a man." In his 1929 Autobiography Calvin Coolidge wrote: "The greatest grief that can come to a boy came to me. Life was never to seem the same again." Five years later, Abbie, to whom Calvin was especially close, died, probably of appendicitis, with her brother by her side. Calvin suppressed his emotions to withstand these losses, which left him vulnerable to major depression after his son's death. "The loss of a child often reactivates earlier losses suffered by the parents," Gilbert observes, "and precipitates a global reaction encompassing virtually every area of life."
That describes the next four years of the Coolidge presidency. Calvin Coolidge displayed all ten of the symptoms listed by the American Psychiatric Association as evidence of major depression…
Etc… The Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation recalls the 30th president, as does C-SPAN * Grace Coolidge's letters, recently made public, include a poignant description of her son's dying moments * A photo of the Coolidge family, Calvin Jr., Grace, Calvin and John, from the Coolidge presidential collection housed in the Northampton public library
A Massachusetts Democrat born and raised with a D next to her name writes she plans to break with tradition and vote Republican in November * From the Atlantic Monthly archive, Oct. 1948: The Democrats Can Win * The Henry M. Jackson Papers at the University of Washington * The blurb for a Scoop Jackson biography at Amazon: Henry "Scoop" Jackson may be one of the most underappreciated American politicians of the second half of the 20th century. He was certainly one of the Democrats' greatest cold warriors, and a man who might have saved his party from the doomed politics of McGovernism if he had only won the presidency, an office he sought twice…