Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940

August 10, 1998

Library of Congress Publishes Essays Reassessing the Coolidge Era

The 1920s in America gets a fresh look in Calvin Coolidge and the Coolidge Era, a collection of essays edited by John Earl Haynes, a historian in the Manuscript Division, and published by the Library of Congress in connection with the University Press of New England.

Fifteen scholars in Calvin Coolidge and the Coolidge Era study how motion pictures, woman suffrage, immigration, ethnic labor, income distribution, foreign policy, global warfare and Calvin Coolidge himself changed the nation. Long dismissed as an era of decadence and corruption, the decade between the First World War and the Depression is now the subject of a new wave of scholarship portraying it as a time of cultural, social and economic growth in America.

Prefaced by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, the 329-page book features innovative research by established and emerging scholars on Coolidge's presidency and the history of the 1920s. Their research was orginially presented during "Calvin Coolidge and the Coolidge Era," a 1995 Library of Congress symposium.

Economist Gene Smiley in his essay, "New Estimates of Income Shares During the 1920s," corrects an error in calculating income from the era, revealing that low-income groups gained financially before the Depression even as the gap between rich and poor increased.

Historian Lynn Dumenil examines recent scholarship into changing American racial attitudes, sexual ethics, gender roles and perceptions of youth culture in "Re-Shifting Perspectives on the 1920s: Recent Trends in Social and Cultural History."

The 30th president is studied in "Calvin Coolidge and the Last Arcadia," by symposium keynote speaker Paul Johnson. The prolific author reexamines the legacy left by Coolidge, who is remembered now for his aloof personality and laissez-faire fiscal policies but was widely credited at the time for historically unprecedented economic growth.

Other essayists include Michael A. Bernstein of the University of California, San Diego; John Braeman of the University of Nebraska; Warren I. Cohen from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Ronald Edsforth of Dartmouth College; Robert H. Ferrell, professor emeritus at Indiana University in Bloomington; Daniel J. Leab of Seton Hall University; Stephen A. Schuker of the University of Virginia; author George Nash; and historian Elisabeth I. Perry.

John Earl Haynes is the 20th Century political historian in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. His most recent book is The Soviet World of American Communism, published this year with Harvey Klehr and Kyrill Anderson.

Calvin Coolidge and the Coolidge Era is available for a credit card purchase of $50 plus $10 shipping and handling from the Library of Congress Sales Shop by calling (202) 707-0204.

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PR 98-117
ISSN 0731-3527

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