Bucknell University Press, 1994 $47.95
Gilded Age America: while cities grew, railroads, labor unions, and immigration changed the face of the country, rural Vermont remained in a time warp, almost unchanged from the colonial era. A shy, studious boy, Calvin Coolidge did not want to leave the only home he knew, the remote mountain farm where everything seemed simple and clean. But his father pushed him...
Robert M. Ferrell, Professor Emeritus, Indiana University: "A first-rate subject, a first-rate book."
Robert M. Saunders, Christopher Newport University: "Booraem's greatest strength is his vivid depiction of the physical and psychological nature of life in late nineteenth-century rural Vermont. Although he makes no explicit reference to the new social history, Booraem's description of Plymouth ranks as a worthy and valuable contribution to the effort of social historians to get 'inside' the life of ordinary people and places."
"Young Coolidge spent most of the next four years of his life at B.R.A., and established a distinct image for himself, quite different from the one he had had in Plymouth. Serious, bespectacled Clara Pollard, one of many B.R.A. students who helped Cal with his algebra assignments at one time or another, remembered him clearly: 'He was known as the "dude" of the Black River Academy, because he always carried a cane, wore a derby hat and a carefully starched dickey [shirt front].' Roy Bryant, a Ludlow doctor's son who was several classes behind him, had much the same impression. Coolidge, he recalled, would play ball with the other boys occasionally, always with his derby hat on. Other students' memories touched on other characteristics -- his quiet aloofness, his violently red hair ('you are a red woodpecker,' one fellow student wrote in his autograph book), his extreme slenderness -- but the most surprising and vivid trait about Coolidge was the way he dressed. In a school where boys were required to wear coat, tie, and stiff collar, he overdid it. In a remarkably short time, the nondescript country lad in overalls and copper-tipped boots turned into a sort of slick town dude." (Chapter 7, "The Academy Dude")