On Smiling

While Calvin Coolidge could be downright loquacious when the subject warranted, he rarely recounted humorous stories, especially if they were lengthy — yet he loved to listen to them. The stories he did tell were usually in the vein of clever wordplay or illustrations of the antics common to human (or animal) nature. Moreover, in contradiction to decades of assurances by “historians,” contemporaries, and critics, Calvin could and did smile. While we are often reminded that photographs do not capture the full context behind an occasion, we encounter in these pictures windows into stories that deserve a retelling. Here are just a few of the whimsical moments across the Coolidge years.

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