The Fog Of Historical Pictures: Grace Coolidge’s Pet Raccoon

The Coolidge coon via Presidential Pet

My friend and fellow horrid punster James Karst is up to his usual tricks, which are for kids. Silly rabbit. I meant silly raccoon. Here’s the tale of FLOTUS Grace Coolidge and Rebecca the raccoon tout suite in three tweets:

Yikes. The raccoon *does* appear to be something of an ankle biter. They’ll eat anything. Besides, it’s bound to be tastier than tin cans and coffee grounds…

That’s right, boys and girls, the beautiful and vivacious wife of dour and shy Calvin Coolidge kept a pet raccoon at the White House:

Imagine Michelle Obama cradling a raccoon in her buff arms. Grace Coolidge’s pet raccoon, Rebecca, was a celebrated resident of the White House, dragged out for Easter egg rolls and held like a cat while the First Lady posed for the camera.

While Rebecca may seem like a bizarre object of love for a first lady, this picture wouldn’t have seemed nearly as strange to people living in the 1920s. In her bookPets in America, historian Katherine Grier writes about families in the nineteenth century who kept crows, woodchucks, foxes, deer, and squirrels as household pets.

How did I miss out on this vital historical story? It’s the most interesting thing I’ve ever read about the Coolidge administration other than the whole “he looks like he was weaned on a pickle” thing.

You learn something new every day, especially when you follow James Karst on Twitter.

I tried to resist posting a certain Beatles tune but I couldn’t help myself. Let’s give Macca the last word:

Speaking of oddities, the King of Swing meets Macca:

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