I owe many debts that I, unlike President Coolidge and his Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon, am hard pressed to repay. Here I shall list my necessary debts, ever thankful that I incurred them.
The list begins, of course, Professors Kesler and Rossum, who kept me out of (most) trouble these four years. What Charles Garman was to Coolidge; Rossum and Kesler are to me. They have opened their minds, their libraries, and even their homes to me. “The great distinguishing mark of all of [my professors] were that they were men of character,” Coolidge noted about his time at Amherst. So, too, could be said of my favorite professors at Claremont. In particular, special thanks go to Professor Kesler. It was said that Garman alone in the wilderness would be a university; the same is true of Professor Kesler, who, gave his attention – and more importantly, his encouragement – to this project.
Ryan Williams, Linnea Powell, Daniel O’Toole, Bryce Gerard, John Kienker, Sam Corcos, and, as always, Bernadette, listened to me recount my love of the ‘20s. Some of the aforementioned read the pages presented before you for consideration. Coolidge once said that it takes a “great man to be a good listener.” I am surrounded, then, by great men and women, who tolerated me even when I was intolerable, which I am ashamed to say was often.
An especially patient man is David Frisk. He is a great friend and a magnificent editor, who poured his attention into this project, with all of the enthusiasm that the perennial student of history and government can muster.
The family Corcos, to whom this work is dedicated, are the greatest friends I have ever had. When I had not a lot they took me in for Christmas, not once, not twice, but thrice and gave me the greatest Christmases ever.
This is fitting because in some key respects, it is always Christmas with them. When Coolidge said, that those who have “the real spirit of Christmas,” are those who “cherish peace and good will,” and are “plenteous in mercy,” I picture the Corcos family. How lucky I am to count them among my friends; how different these years would have been without them.
My parents inspire from afar, in the land that so desperately needs another Coolidge. They are truly public servants, serving the public schools where they teach, not for their pay, but for the love of, and respect of, the children in their charges. I, of course, was their first pupil – and for that I am always welcome.
Grateful, too, am I for the opportunity to study Calvin Coolidge. He was not silent, but silenced and here I hope to have him speak for himself. As we shall see, he has much to say – if we would only listen.