On Biography

Former President and Mrs. Coolidge, honored guests at the Vermont Dinner held in Boston, February 1932.

Former President and Mrs. Coolidge, honored guests at the Vermont Dinner held in Boston, February 1932. Courtesy of the Leslie Jones Collection.

“There are two kinds of biography which fall short of giving their readers the help which should be secured from an acquaintance with great men. Some of them endow their subjects with all virtue and all wisdom. Such characters appear removed from the reach of common people. They may admire and worship, but they do not feel any kinship. They gain only an impression of a superior being dwelling apart from his fellow men. It would seem almost sacrilege to attempt to imitate him or hope to be like him. Others, proceeding in an opposite direction, represent great men as devoid of most good qualities who have reached the positions they hold by being crafty and successful imposters. They are made to appear unworthy of credit or admiration and left to the inference that all greatness is a sham and a pretense. The logical conclusion is meant to be that there are no heroes and nothing is holy. Neither one of such portrayals is in accord with human nature or the truth” — Calvin Coolidge, February 22, 1932 (Read into the Congressional Record, 75: part 4, pp.4453-55)

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