Amity Shlaes and David Pietrusza: Calvin Coolidge Persisted, in Deed If Not in Word
Amity Shlaes, a Bloomberg View columnist, is the author of the forthcoming “Coolidge”; David Pietrusza is the author of “Silent Cal’s Almanack.” The opinions expressed are their own.
The White House messed up its history. That’s the contention of critics who pointed to references recently appended to the biography pages of past presidents on the White House website.
Scholars of Calvin Coolidge, the president who is our focus, found an error. The Coolidge “Did You Know?” item says that “On Feb. 22, 1924, Calvin Coolidge became the first president to make a public radio address to the American people.”
Alas, Coolidge was not the first, as a retired archivist with the National Archives and Records Administration, Jerry L. Wallace, noted in an e-mail to us. The first chief executive to deliver a radio address was Warren G. Harding, whose dedication of the Lincoln Memorial was carried over the airwaves on May 30, 1922....
The real story here is not the specific Coolidge error or whether you like the new White House comments. It is that accurate history is becoming much harder to deliver than it used to be. The Internet and databases have raised the bar for all writing on history. Your authors, both students of Coolidge, discovered this firsthand in researching an iconic quote long attributed to Silent Cal....
comments powered by Disqus
- Roman Gladiators ate a mostly vegetarian diet and drank a tonic of ashes after training
- Massachusetts is celebrating the 250th anniversary of the wedding of John and Abigail Adams
- King Tut had overbite, club foot because his parents were brother and sister
- Prehistoric humans were far smarter than previously assumed
- Priests race to save manuscripts from jihadists in Iraq
- 2 conservative groups are leading the fight against the new AP standards
- The secret of successful history departments
- AHA president suggests older historians should consider making way for younger historians
- Niall Ferguson Joins Schwarzman Scholars as Distinguished Visiting Professor in China
- Francis Fukuyama is still bullish on where history is headed, but Americans should worry: republics can decay.