THE PRESIDENCY: The White House Week: Jan. 7, 1924

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The White House Week

¶ Mr. Coolidge wrote his Christmas greetings to the disabled veterans of the War: "My warm felicitations and cordial wishes go to the War's disabled at this Christmas time. The heart of America is with those who made the great sacrifices in defense of our ideals. Whether you continue in the hospitals fighting for recovery or are battling to reestablish yourself in civil pursuits, the Nation will be mindful of its obligations to those so honorably stricken."

¶ The day before Christmas the President spent at his office. Mrs. Coolidge and their two sons went to market and purchased an eight-foot Norway spruce Christmas tree which they erected and decorated in the Blue Room of the White House. Mrs. Coolidge also despatched 50 bunches of roses from the White House conservatory to the sales girls of the store where she obtained the great portion of her "White House trousseau." At 5 p. m. the President pressed a button, lighting the great National Christmas tree rising 60 feet high in the oval south of the White House. A choir from the Epiphany Episcopal Church and a brass quartet of the Marine Band gave a concert. At nine in the evening the choir and an assembled multitude sang Christmas carols on the north lawn. At midnight a group of Negro voices renewed the carolling about the great Christmas tree.

¶ On Christmas day the President spent only a few minutes at his office. There were no guests at the White House except Mr. and Mrs. Frank W. Stearns of Boston. Accounts differ and probably no one, except the participants, knows exactly whether the Coolidges visited their indoor Christmas tree and exchanged presents before or after breakfast. They went to the First Congregational Church for services. They met Senator "Jim" Watson at the door of the church and he sat with them. The only guests at luncheon and at dinner in the evening were Mr. and Mrs. Stearns. After dinner the Coolidges spent three hours with disabled veterans at Walter Reed Hospital and saw the first exhibition of Abraham Lincoln, an historical motion picture.

¶ Mrs. Coolidge entertained the ladies of the Cabinet at tea, an event which is henceforward to take place regularly on the last Wednesday of every month.

¶ Two visitors entered the White House offices, passed through the police guard and other attendants until they came to the domain of Edward Clark, private secretary to the President. They gave Mr. Clark their names, and explained their business as much as possible. Mr. Clark said he believed he could arrange an audience for them with the President, if they would kindly wait. The two visitors seated themselves in the chairs provided and waited their turn. After an hour Mr. Clark told them they could now see the President. He led the way down the corridor and, opening the door of the President's private office, introduced Messrs. John and Calvin Coolidge, Jr. It was said that the two visitors emerged shortly "blushing and with a look that may have meant they probably would not horn in on a busy day again."

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