Will Rogers’ Weekly Articles

April 6 - June 29, 1930

April 6, 1930


Well all I know is just what I read in the daily prints. Well sir what do you think happened? You couldent guess in a million years. The United States Senate passed the Tariff Bill. Everlasting life, and perpetual motion are the only other two things now that we have to look forward to, and after this, we can really look forward to them with more hope.

Of course Tariff has been to a Politician about what a bone is to a Dog, and fixed jury is to a Los Angeles Culprit. It’s not only his bread and butter, but it’s his desert and toothpick. Any President with Political knowledge always fights shy of the Tariff coming up during his Administration. They tried their best to drag Roosevelt into it, and he just took a well worn elm Club and wrapped it over any friend or foe’s head who suggested that his Administration get tangled up with that yellow fever.1 That’s where he got the reputation of the “Man with the Big Stick.” It was for hammering on Guys who wanted some Tariff gravy.

Coolidge was another they tried to land. Say that little red-headed Yankee dident cut his political teeth on a District of Columbia License Plate. He knew the tariff was Jamica Ginger, and would paralyze anybody that libated on it. So when Mr. Hoover come along, the old Political Boy’s mouth just watered. They said here is some new money in the game. Here is a fellow that learned his Politics feeding the Armenians.

Well they dident even let Mr. Hoover get elected till they started working on him. They got ahold of him during the heat of the Campaign, and got him to promise that if elected he would revise the Tarriff. Now if he had only known it he dident have to do this. Nobody was pressing him for Tarriff action but the Politicians themselves. Of course they made him think that it meant his election, but my goodness he was so far out in front that he couldent have been beaten with a Tammany Hall voting maching at every booth. He was in the bag the hour he was nominated. But he was foolishly made to announce, “If elected I will hold a Special Session of Congress, and revise the Tarriff to help the Farmer.”

Now there is another thing, that extra session of Congress. That’s just about as much misery to a President as the Tarriff. Why call ’em in Extra session, why call ’em in regular session? Here he was borrowing all this trouble for no reason at all.

The present Tarriff Bill originated in January 29, just exactly 14 months ago. It passed the House of Representatives on the last of May, last year, or less than four months from the day it went in there. The House then kissed it goodbye and sent it to the Senate. That was last June, now its pretty near next June.

Well they wore out that special session with it, and finally Mr. Hoover had to let ’em go home to think up some new rates and come back in time for the regular session. They took up the debate right where they had left off and never missed a word. That’s nine months those Birds have argued and debated over that Bill, and there is not one man in five hundred that you meet that know or care what in the world it’s all about.

The best prosperity the country had ever had was under the Bill that this one replaces. But it must be changed. Factories wasent closing. Manufacturing was paying a fine dividend. But Uncle Joe says, “My boys are kinder kicking on some little competition that is creeping in.2 It’s not much, but we better nip it while it’s young, and they have been mighty liberal with you Lads here during your various Campaigns, so we better give ’em some returns on their contributions.”

Well “Uncle Joe” took it to heart so much, that he just swallowed his pride and went into the Senate himself, says “Here I will show you Boys how to make a Bill.” He found out early that Reed Smoot was born, weaned, brought up, and turned loose just with one sole purpose in view, that was to get a higher Tarrieff on Sugar.3 The day there is a Bill passed to make it unlawful and punishable by death to extract the juice from the Utah Beet, that day will Reed be made a Mormon Prophet, and buried by the side of Brigham Young.4

Well Uncle Joe says to himself, “I am going to do for every Article Manufactured in Pennsylvania what Reed does for Sugar.” So he says, “Reed I’ll help you on sugar if you will help me on 1645 other Nick Nacks that are made up my way.” Now you would think that would be an unfair trade wouldent you? But not with Smoot. You get him his sugar, and you can bring in your articles by the million and he will O.K. your raise on ’em.

Of course there was no vote trading done during all this time. Who said there was anyhow? Well he ought to be ashamed of himself for slandering a fine bunch of men, if he said it. Seven Democrats traded themselves out of their Party. Bourssard of Louisiana stuck with his sugar too.5 Doc Copeland of N.Y. left the policies of Jefferson to string with the Doctrine of the best Treasurer the United States had before Andy Mellon.6 Key Pittman of Nevada, Lord knows what they manufacture up his way outside of Divorces.7 I guess the Sugar Beets has got over the line from Utah or else Smoot did him a favor in his early career.

Sam Bratton of New Mex., where the sheep vote, joined the Republicans to get a higher rate on Navajo Blankets made in Brooklyn.8 Kendrick, a Cowman, Sheridan, from Wyoming, joined the sheepherders.9 Trammell of Florida stayed in the Republican column, to offset Fletcher of Jacksonville who evidentally Uncle Joe couldent come to terms with.10 The final vote was 53 to 31. Fourteen months of steady Oratory to change something that was already going good.

1For Theodore Roosevelt see WA 326:N 2.
2For Joseph R. Grundy see WA 332:N 3.
3For Reed Smoot see WA 336:N 14.
4For Brigham Young see WA 352:N 1.
5Edwin Sidney Broussard, Democratic United States senator from Louisiana from 1921 to 1933.
6Royal Samuel Copeland, physician and former New York City heath commissioner; Democratic United States senator from New York from 1923 until his death in 1938. For Andrew W. Mellon see WA 334:N 4.
7Key Pittman, Democratic United States senator from Nevada from 1913 until his death in 1940.
8Same Gilbert Bratton, Democratic United States senator from New Mexico from 1925 to 1933.
9Kendrick (see WA 352:N 3) operated a large cattle and sheep ranch near Sheridan, Wyoming.
10Park Trammell, Democratic United States senator from Florida from 1917 until his death in 1936. Duncan Upshaw Fletcher, Democratic United States senator from Florida from 1909 until his death in 1936.

April 13, 1930


Well all I know is just what I read in the papers. When a man comes around to our House nowadays or you get a letter you don’t know if it’s a Census Taker, a Literary Digest Poll Vote or a Bootlegger.

This is the year of the census. We take a tally. That’s what we used to call it when I was on a ranch and we counted cattle. In other words we run ’em by us and see how many we got. Well, Uncle Sam takes a tally every ten years, and it’s a good thing, not that it means much to anybody to know how many other people there are. But it’s an Old Spanish Custom, and it does give work to the ones that count and that’s what we got to do this year is to do something that will give everybody something to do.

California is sure excited over this census. Most places just take it as a matter of fact, but not out here. These Babies take it as a business. They have instructed every one of us on just what assumed names to give to the different Census takers, and when we have registered under every name we can think of then not to forget to use our right one. That’s how far they are going out here. They are all excited over the fact that the more votes we show we have the more Congressmen we will be allowed in the next Congress.

Well of all the silly arguments. Who wants more Congressmen? But they seem to think the more we have the more loot we will get from the National Treasury in the way of appropriations. Then the more we can advertise what we have out here the better they think it will make us. I don’t know about that. There ain’t much quality in numbers. But there is not an Editorial out here that don’t tell us how valuable it is to register all we can.

The Literary Digest poll is causing a lot of talk. It’s staying wet a little longer than I thought. That might be on account of the most of the drys can’t write. But I think when the old back country gets going good they will throw the thing the other way.

It’s given the Preachers something new to talk about anyway. They are getting out now and working like it was a regular election. I just heard a Couple of them over the Radio tonight.

Well, it’s a funny thing that a so-called busy Nation can take so much time to argue all this over something that can’t be changed now, no matter what happened. This is no election time, and all this talk will be for nothing. But we are that way. We can get more excited over something that can’t be done anything about. The Bootlegger is with us and like the Sunday Automobile accidents it just looks like both will be with us from some time.

The old Conference over in London is being slipped Oxygen between gasps. I don’t want to brag but when I went there and heard the King make his opening and then I come home, why I think I didn’t miss a thing. Here is all these poor newspaper men over there all this time. There was four hundred visiting correspondents there, just waiting day after day to find out something, and all this misunderstanding could have easily been found out at home before they left, for none of them have changed. We wanted Parity and we were never going to get it. Italy wanted equality with France and they were never going to get it. So these were things that should have been threshed out before anyone ever left. That is seen if it would be possible to fix such things.

I have always claimed that any International Conference does more harm than good, for they engender more hate than good will. It’s hatreds formed at Conferences that causes the next war. If I don’t meet you and have any business dealings with you, I think you are perhaps O.K., but the minute I meet you day after day and both of us are trying to do the best we can towards our own, why that just shows up our shortcomings, and we go home knowing the other fellow’s weaknesses.

I tell you when you commence to talking war you are on a pretty ticklish subject, and that’s all that disarmament is. It’s just talk about wars.

You can’t discuss Battleships without discussing what they are to each other in battle. Why the London Conference, I was there and heard them for two weeks, and when they had each discussed Publicly their needs why there wasent a Navy afloat that would have been adequate for them. Everybody got up and got to talking about the amount of Coast line they had. Why you had no idea that there was anywhere that there was so much ocean front. Here out here I had been putting what little money I had in Ocean Frontage, for the sole reason that there was only so much of it and no more, and that they wasent making any more, then when I hear Nation after Nation arise and announce the amount of coast line they had, it sure was discouraging to me.

I tell you this old thing of telling another nation how to defend itself is bad dope. Every man protects himself according to his own needs and his best methods. But we did have a mighty fine bunch of men over there and we can always rest assured that they did all they could.

Say old Wall Street is picking up again. The Boys must have saved up and started to contributing again. They always did say that the heart of the American people was sound, in fact it was sounder than most of the stocks that the sound heart bought. I will always believe that Mr. Hoover pulled that Gang through a pretty tough place.

Anybody that wouldent have come to their help like he did might have left them in worse shape than they would have wished to admit. That rallying all those business men around him, while it looked kinder funny at that time, I believe it had a fine effect. Just to see those men’s pictures in the papers make us feel like we have something. So I still believe that Herbert will come through in fine shape, and I won nothing but two beach lots.

April 20, 1930


Well all I know is just what I read in the papers. You know one of the most welcome things that has hit us in many a moon is the return of the long dresses. It had to come but it was a long time doing it. You see according to law, fashions must change every year, sometimes every month, and in order to change dresses styles, you have to either go up or down, the crossways change don’t count, or show much. So if you can only change one way or the other and you have been going one way for years why it stands to reason that the worm must turn sometimes, even if it’s a silk worm. Well skirts had just gone so high there wasent anything to ’em, and the material people put up a howl. Men had just about lost interest in ’em, or below ’em.

It was just legs, legs, legs. The whole country had gone legs. Every imaginable shape, size, contour, was on free exhibition. Legs were one parade. Well you can get tired of anything if it’s dished up to you morning noon and night. We will watch an Elephant parading quicker than we will anything, and I doubt if even they could hold our attention if we couldent turn without having an eye full of elephant legs all the time.

They first showed us their calves. Well that looked fairly promising, and we seemed enough shocked to add spice to our views. But when they just practically overnight yanked another foot off their apparel and we woke up one morning with thousand of knees staring us in the face, why there is where I will always think they overstepped and took in too much territory. A knee is pliable but not what you would call gorgeous. There is 120 million people in this Country with knees, that adds up 240 million knees, subtracting the He knees, and figureing on a fifty percent male calf crop, that leaves 120 million She knees.

Now almost every part of the human anatomy has gained fame in some way or another. We speak of beautiful arms, necks, heads, feet, Body hands, nose, eyes and ears, but do you know out of 120 million knees we have never heard a word about a one of them only two belonging to little Anne Pennington.1 Now aint that strange? Of all the knees in the world there has only been one pair that rose to the distinction of ever being spoken of.

You read of some Girl imported from Europe to join Ziegy’s Follies and it tells of her legs, but there is never anything outstanding about her knees.2 The reason is they have a practical and not landscape value, in other words there had to be a joint somewhere for locomotion purposes and in order to get the joint in they had to break the line of the limb on the way down, that meant leaving some bumps there that it was practically impossible to get rid of. You see an ugly leg is just as apt to have a fair looking knee as a good looking leg is, that is if there was such a thing as a good-looking knee.

Now I was just telling you just now about Anne’s knee’s. I know Anne’s knees pretty well. I was in the show with them for years. We both had our little meal tickets. I had my chewing Gum and my rope and Anne had her knees. If I appeared without my rope there would have been a row, and if Anne had appeared without hers there would have been a Riot. When she wanted to disguise herself and not be recognized in public she used to cover up her knees and no one ever knew her. Hers kinder blended into the leg, they dident protrude.

Most people’s knees are practically knots, but little Anne’s were symetrical. I used to do a dance with her in the Follies and I could black up some nights, or send in a double, and let him do it for me, and I would never be missed. For when Annes knee’s were on the stage why your audience never looked up. But when the feminine world, or the dress designers who perhaps did it, thought “Why if Anne can startle the world with hers, why we will show ’em some knees.”

And Brother they did, some knees and How, and why? It was just old bumpy knees to the right of us, exposed joints to the left of us, volleyed and rattled.

Well to be honest with you the idea just dident get over. Women made a mistake, like everybody else makes the same mistake when they are allowed to much kneeway. They always spoil a good thing by going to far, and that’s what they did when they showed us their knees. We would have thought much more of ’em, both morally and artistically if they had just kept ’em covered. So they had to do something, nobody was looking at ’em any more, and they was tired of looking at themselves. So they had to do something radical so some genius conceived the idea of not only covering the knee up but the whole thing again, and you would be surprised how much better they look. You see short dresses was made for certain figures, but fashion decrees that everybody be fashionable, so that means there is going to be folks try and keep up with fashions that while they might be financially able, are physically unfit, their purse is good but their build is bad. Now with long skirts that will all be remedied. Every girl gets an even break till she hits the beach. So long skirts mean democracy, there is no privalge classes. Society is not rated on its curves as it has been. You got to get by with your head now instead of underpinning.

Defects are hid now and not made exhibits. The biglegged Girl and the skinnylegged one are coming back. That’s going to cut out a lot of this fool reducing too. That was what was the matter with the prosperity of this country, people wasent eating and buying enough. Course they can hide their legs for a few years now, and we grow up a new generation that never saw them why that will mean that they can take another whirl at the old exposure stuff. But We hope it don’t come during our generation, for we have seen enough legs and knees to tide us over the balance of our existence. You watch the marriages pick up now. Concealment will beat exposure anytime. 1For Anne Pennington see WA 355:N 2.

2For Flo Ziegfeld see WA 336:N 3.

April 27, 1930


Well all I know is just what I read in the Magazines, and about all I read in the Magazines is what Mr Coolidge puts in there. In one out a couple of weeks ago that just happened to fall into my hands because it had some nice dress advertisements in there that my Wife had bought it too look at, why among all these Tooth Paste, Linolium, “Stay sleep” matresses, “Pick me up Tonic” memory courses, Face massage cream, and Corn Plaster adds, why here was an Article by Mr Coolidge advising Ex Presidents not to run for the United States Senate. In the meantime Mr Taft had passed away and that left practically no one left to take this warning outside of Mr Coolidge himself.1

But the way he put it it sounded mighty sound. He says if he was in the Senate that “it would not be agreeable to many of my Colleagues.” Now he is right about that. There is some of them in there that might object cause you take a Body of men, and no matter how exclusive you try and keep it or how high you make the fees to get in, there is bound to creep in an undesirable element.

Well the Senate is no different. There is a pack of Democrats that have got in there, and been kinder lodged so long that it is going to take time to root ’em out. Now naturally they would kinder object to Mr Coolidge coming in there. They are just narrow minded enough to prefer some Massachusetts Democrat to the scholarly presence of an Ex President.

Then another thing that might have had its effect on Mr Coolidge’s inclination to not desire to crave to run, was the fact that in his very District some lowly Democrat beat the ears off a Republican for the office of Congressman, and that was in Massachusetts where up to then Democrats had been confined mostly to Zoo’s. Then too Mr Coolidge seemed to anticipate some little embarrassment to some of his fellow members of the Republican side of the Senate.

You see there is another ailment cropped up in the last few years. We had no more than eradicated yellow fever and small pox than “Insurgentry” broke out in our midst. Well it has quite a sprinkling of victims, and like all ailments it has naturally reached the Senate. Well Lepers kinder naturally flock together, so these observation cases in this Insurgentry ward kinder drifted in with the old Democratic Lumbago bunch, (they had weak backs from carrying their troubles). So these two naturally pooled their troubles, and you would be surprised the amount they had accumlated. Now what Mr Coolidge meant is if he went in there, he would naturally be called upon to be nice to them, and it would be embarrassing.

Then he knew also of a third group, that was recognized members of his own Doctrine, but members who who had failed to make the breakfast table when he was presiding over the pancakes in the good old days of the feed trough. They havent forgot that he kinder high hatted some of them, and if he come in there with nothing but just a membership card why he would not even get the loan of the privalege of the floor from them. Then another thing he knew is that when you went in there, you had to start at the bottom, that is if you was not Grundy, course he was an exception.2 He put all these in there so naturally when he come in, he got the best in the House.

But Mr Coolidge had no list of Campaign contributions that he could show that he could swing, so about the best Committee he could hope to get on was the “Ways and Means Committee to find out what to do with excess empty bottles found in cloak room.” Or perhaps be put on the funeral Committee that would be called on to visit the home with the body of a Brother member. You see he knows all these things and so that’s why he said he would not be interested.

Now get this what he says, “Yet I do not mean to underestimate the Senate. IN ITS CONCEPTION, IT’S A GREAT LEGISLATIVE BODY.” Get that, in its Conception! He don’t say in its execution, it’s great. He only says the idea of it is great. You know that fellow has always got his tongue in his cheek, he was kidding those Birds and bet they swallowed this just as it sounded. He is wise to those Babies, and he is too wise to get mixed up with ’em, he knows that they are laying for him if he ever pokes his nose in there, and he is not going to give them the chance.

Then in just the next paragraph he punches right in the jaw with this, “I passed to a higher rank twelve years ago when I was elected Governor of Massachusetts. To take a back track now would be to give up a position that I believe is important to the Country.”

You see he kinder wants to keep his Social standing. He has got this home now in Northampton, and he wants to kinder put on some dinners, and he don’t want it said in the morning paper, “Another Senator gives a dinner.” He wants the name mentioned. Ex Presidents are awful scarce, but you can’t hardly shake a bush without an Ex Senator running out, afraid that you are looking for him for an investigation.

He just won’t let the Senate rest even in peace. Down on the same page he has this paragraph, “While I do not altogeather share the prevailing lack of esteem in which the Senate is held now.” You see he practically tells them that they are “Jamaica Ginger“ to the rest of the Country, and that he don’t ALTOGEATHER hold this opinion. In other words he says, You birds are terrible, but personally I don’t believe that you are as bad as they say you are, in fact I don’t think you could be that bad and live, so he don’t Altogeather share the Country’s unanimous opinion.

So you see if he ever went in there they would just resurrect this one article, and when he wanted something in the way of a new Post Office building why these other Boys would drag out this Article and say, “Oh you did knock us did you? Well try and get something out of our old Pork Barrell and see where you get.”

So he is mighty wise in not going in there. He watched ’em work for 8 years, two as Vice President where he had nothing to do but watch ’em, and six where he had to run the Country in spite of them, so asking a man to enter a Den of Lions after he has scars on his body from them, well it just ain’t in the cards. What a wise little fellow he is!

1William Howard Taft (see WA 330:N 7) died on March 8, 1930.
2For Joseph R. Grundy see WA 332:N 3.

May 4, 1930


Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers or what I see as I prowl from hither to thither. Got to tell you about going back home week before last.

You know at Ponca City, Okla., they were unveiling a wonderful big Bronze Statue of “The Pioneer Woman.” The Sculptor Baker made it and did a mighty fine job.1

It was picked from 12 models by 12 of the World’s leading Artists. They sent the models all over the Country and exhibited them and let the folks vote on it and this one got by far the most. It’s a beautiful figure standing 30 or 40 feet high, of a fairly young Mother leading her young son by the hand, and she has determination and grit written in her every feature. She has an old Sun Bonnet and long skirts, she is truly a Pioneer. I think she is a Democrat for she has a kind of dumb Democratic faith in what she is going to do.

The poor thing just don’t know that the Republicans have taken over everything and we can only peep through the fence and see what they are doing.

This Oil man, George Marland, paid the whole cost of the thing, which must have run into lots of money, and he put on and entertained every body on the day of the unveiling.2

Well, it was the old home state and I knew there would be a lot of old timers there, so I rushed around and got a couple of days off from my Picture that I am making and grabbed a Plane out of here early in the morning, and was there for dinner that night, stayed all night and the next day, and left early the following day and was back here in Beverly Hills that evening at 4:30.

You know it’s just uncanny where you can get to in one of those things, distance just don’t mean a thing. You just get up in the morning and anywhere you think of you want to be, why you are there that same day. Ponca City is a beautiful Prairie City. It’s fortunate in having some oil men there that have made lots of money, but spent it there, they dident have social Long Island ambitions.

Well, the old Timers sure did gather in there. They had a fine parade at 10 o’clock in the morning, old Prairie Schooners and outfits that looked like they had made the “run” in there in the early days. Cutest float was a bunch of little kids 3 or 4 years old, dancing and it was labelled, “Pioneer Dancers.”

Saw old man Colonel Zach Mulhall that I hadent seen in some time.3 I hit New York with a show in 1905 and showed in Madison Square Garden. He was a great old fellow and a good Showman, also there was another old time friend, Pawnee Bill, you all remember seeing his shows for years.4 He is a prosperous Banker and Ranchman and don’t ever get a day older.

Jimmy Rider, an old hand that ranched right side of me in those days, and forgot more about roping than I will ever know, well Jimmy brought his “Remuda” over, had a Ford full of the finest Kids you ever saw, one wild one named Bill Rogers.5

Zach Miller, the sole surviving one of the three Miller brothers, that own the famous 101 Ranch and show, Zach left the show in Wichita and come down, and after the ceremonies were over we went down to the big Ranch and what a place it is.6

My oldest boy, Bill, was out there spending his little Spring vacation away from Beverly Hills High School.7 He was over around Chelsea and Oo-la-gah, and Claremore. Well he and my only Sister, Mrs. Tom McSpadden from Chelsea, they drove over and Bill and I flew home together.8 He had flown, or flew (which is it anyway?) out a week ahead of me.

Mr. Hoover was mighty nice and opened the ceremonies from Washington over a National hook up, then come our own Oklahoman Secretary of war, Pat Hurley, he was sick and couldent come out, or he sure would have been there.9 Pat’s doing a mighty nice job of waring back there and if anything shows up during his administration he is liable to make a name for himself. Pat will act as secretary and soldier too, if we can match anything.

We got a Governor out there that I had never met before and I got to meet him before he was impeached, that’s an accomplishment.10 Well sir, this one is sticking and it looks like we are going to finally have something permanent. All these others we have had couldent send their laundry out and be sure they would be there when it come back.

There must have been fifty thousand people at this and what made it look colorful was the big amount of Indians, of all tribes, Poncas, Otoes, Osages and Cherokees. You see it was our tribe of Cherokee’s that sold the original old Cherokee Strip that all this mess is living on.

I think the Government, only give us about a dollar an acre for it. We had it for hunting grounds, but we never knew enough to hunt oil on it. I can remember as a kid the payment we had, when the Government paid out the money to the Cherokees for it. There was something over three million dollars as there was that many acres and we got about $320 apiece, I think it was.

The Cherokees are supposed to be the highest civilized Tribe there is and yet that’s all we ever got in all our lifetime and sold a fortune in oil and wonderful agricultural land to get that little 320 apiece. Yet there was the Osages lived right by us and they get that much before breakfast every morning, and they are supposed to be uncivilized.

So it really shows you it kinder pays not to know too much. I would trade my so called superior knowledge right now for an Osage headright. If you had their payments you wouldent need to know anything only where the payment was going to be held. But as a matter of fact the Osages got some mighty smart men among them.

But it was a great gathering and a beautiful thought in the erecting of that Statue. Why even Eve, one of our original ancestors never had a Statue built to her, till Robert Quillian of Greenville, South Carolina, did it in his front yard, out side of there in the little Town he lives in.11 He took me out to see it.

You all know him, he is the fellow that writes these wonderful little short sayings that make up in thought what long ones lack in sense. He is a wonder and it took a Humorist to see that Eve wasent getting anywhere and if you ever go down there, go and see her.

1Bryant Baker, English-born sculptor who arrived in the United States in 1916 and became noted for his many busts and heroic statues of famous Americans.
2Ernest Whitworth Marland, Oklahoma oilman and Democratic politician; served as United States congressman and governor of Oklahoma in the 1930s.
3Zachary “Zack” Mulhall, pioneer Oklahoma rancher and early-day wild west showman.
4Gordon William “Pawnee Bill” Lillie, Oklahoma rancher, wild west showman, oilman, and banker.
5James “Jimmy” Rider, rancher-farmer from Talala, Oklahoma.
6For Zack T. Miller see WA 370:N 3.
7William Vann Rogers, eldest son of Will and Betty Rogers; known as Will Rogers, Jr.
8For Sallie Rogers McSpadden see WA 354:N 3.
9Patrick Jay “Pat” Hurley, United States secretary of war from 1929 to 1933; Tulsa lawyer and businessman.
10William Judson Holloway, Democratic governor of Oklahoma from 1929 to 1931. Holloway, who was elected lieutenant governor in 1926, became governor on the impeachment and removal from office of Henry S. Johnston.
11Robert Quillen, American editorial writer and columnist for many newspapers and magazines in the United States and Canada; resident of Fountain Inn, South Carolina.

May 11, 1930


Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers. Our Deligates getting back home on one of our boats a couple of weeks ago was big news, for when they went over it was thought they would sink so much that they would have to borrow a boat to come home on.

Well they come dragging in, they dident bring much back in the way of a Treaty, but enough to save their skin. They layed it on to France and Italy that Japan dident get any further. In other words they used France and Italy as an alabi for them not agreeing better.

But take it all in all I guess the Boys did as good as could be expected. I know when I was over there listening to them for two and a half weeks I dident think they would ever get back home with their Pajamas.

Now comes the big fight in the Senate over what they brought back. Anything that has to pass by that Senate is just like a Rat having to pass a Cat Convention, it’s sure to be pounced on, and the more meritorious the scheme is the less chance it has of passing. But there should be no serious opposition to any fair scheme they brought back.

They won’t sink much, and it won’t hurt us much. This dissarmament is very dear to Mr. Hoover’s heart, and the Senate ought to at least let him have his way once. They have objected to everything else. I look for ’em to pass a resolution denouncing his brand of Fishing tackle.

Course the Eclipse come and went away and the Scientists had a Picnic. They got more pleasure out of some fool thing the sun or moon does than you or I would get out of a new wedding. They got pictures of it.

Why an Iowa Tourist that caught Mary and Doug out in the yard and got a snapshot of it wasent any prouder than those Boys when they found they had shot the Sun while it was hiding behind maby Venus or Neptune.1 It wasent as dark as it was at the Eclipse five or six years ago. That was dandy. We are not putting on as good Eclipses as we did under the Coolidge administration. Hoover is falling down on our Eclipses. What we want is bigger and darker eclipses.

Say, and you talk about these learned scientists that know all about when these are going to happen, will, let me tell you one, did you know that the Hopi Indians out in Arizona that put on that snake dance every year, know about as much about the Moon and Stars and what’s going to happen as these College Birds do? Those Indians don’t let it be known just when the dance will be held till they have figured out various happenings of the elements.

You see, this dance is in the nature of a prayer for rain, and what I mean they get it. They are doing some praying that is backed up by some previous knowledge. They don’t just grab a snake in their mouth and jump around and ask the Lord to drown them out just because they are asking it. These old Indians study the heavens for weeks ahead, and they know about the time that rain is maybe leaving Honolulu and headed this way, well, then they say we will dance on the 6th of next month.

Well, I was up there year before last, and before they could unwrap these rattlesnakes from around their necks and ears and tongues, why, the old rain had started in. Those old Indians don’t just take snap judgment on having their prayers answered. They know that’s going to happen, and then lay their prayers accordingly. Then we call ’em uncivilized.

The trouble with our praying is, we just do it as a means of last resort. We just pray for anything, whether we got any dope on it or not. But these Indians. Say, the Rain come down so thick and the roads was so bad and slippery that the Indians had no more than stopped praying for the rain to come than the Whites started praying for it to stop, so their Fords wouldent slip over into the Grand Canyon.

Well, it’s just as I told you, we had no previous data on what could be expected of the duration of this particular rain, so we lost our prayer entirely. Now, how do those Indians, with no instruments, no cameras, no observatories, no Fraternity Pins, not even a College Pennant, now, how do they go about getting their advance information? But they know so many things we don’t, that it’s got so it’s no novelty to try and find out why they know it.

You know I believe the Lord split knowledge up among his subjects about equal after all. The so-called ignorant is happy. You think he is happy because he don’t know any better. Maybe he is happy because he knows enough to be happy. Well, the smart one knows he knows a lot, and that makes him unhappy because he can’t impart it to all his friends. Discontent comes in proportion to knowledge.

The more you know the more you realize you don’t know, so you see after all the Lord evened it up, dident he? He evens up everything in the long run. Rockefeller has got a Billion Dollars and can’t eat cornbeef and cabbage.2 Hoover has surveyed the entire Universe and fed the World, yet he can’t catch a Sail Fish. Andy Mellon takes up our collection, and cares for our donations, yet he can’t control the votes in Philadelphia.3

Henry Ford can jolt the Gizzards out of humanity but he spends his time trying to master the old-fashioned quadrille. Coolidge was President of these great United States but he spends his time writing fiction for the Magazines.

Aimee McPherson has the whole of Los Angeles worshipping at her shrine, but over in Jarusalem they won’t let her ask the blessing without she joins the Moslems.4 And the rest of us we have our little blessings in one way of the other. Here I am scratching around trying to tell enough jokes to pay my taxes and interest on what I owe every Bank out here. But I can dance a quadrille better than Henry, can eat anything, have no ambition to catch a fish, and just crazy enough to be happy. So when we all figure up, the breaks are about even.

1For Mary Pickford see WA 376:N 6. Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., swashbuckling American actor and hero of many silent screen spectaculars; husband of Mary Pickford.
2For John D. Rockefeller, Sr., see WA 351 N 5.
3For Andrew W. Mellon see WA 334:N 4.
4For Aimee Semple McPherson see WA 344:N 6.

May 18, 1930


Well all I know is just what I read in the papers.

“What did you read in the papers, Andy?”1

“Well Amos I jes been setting here thinkifying, I jest wanted to come out and help you run the Fresh Air Taxicab, but there has been so much regoations going on here in the office that I jes couldent get away.”

“What kind a distortions been going on here in the office, Andy, outside of Madam Queens perpesual telephoneing?”

“Well, the’s been a lot of news in the papers, Amos. It wouldent do much good to know what was in there, for you wouldent know anyhow.”

“Well dident I brought you the papers that the people left in the taxicab, if it hadent been for me and my regenerosity you wouldent a knowed what was in the papers.”

“Yes, Amos, you did brought in the papers, and the next time I want you to bring in some that was on the seat and not on the floor, and, too, I wants you to carry customers who leave some of the good papers there, and quit hauling these folks that jes reads the Tableaux Papers.”

“What you mean those little papers thats got all the pictures of all the murders in ’em? Why, Andy, I thought that’s the kind you wanted; you don’t have to do no reading to puruse one of ’em.”

“Yes, dats jes it, Amos, it makes me look like I can’t read, when somebody comes into the office here on reportant business and dey sees me wif one of dem little old police gazetts turned white, why it drops me in dem folks respiration. What I wants you to bring in is some of de big papers with less snap shots and more reditorials. I am a man, Amos, whats got to keep reformed on whats going on, now take you, you don’t have to know nothing, dats you has lived this long without it proves dat you don’t, but with me running de business like I is, why I got to be able to reverse with anyone who comes in, and on any subject that they might want to reconsider.”

“Yes, but Andy, you don’t have to talk on nothing but, ‘No I can’t pay it today, but if you will come around tomorrow Amos will maybe have made something and den I can make you a small reposit on de undebtness.’ Dats all you ever called on to say, Andy, to any of ’em that ever comes in, even de Sheriff you jes told him the same, so whats de good of all de reading?”

“Now, listen here, Amos, is you my friend, or is you ain’t? You got me all wrong. We’s got a business here and I is de President, and you is de personelly?”

“What’s you mean I is de personelly?”

“I means you is de crew. I is de Captain and whatever de Captain ain’t you is.”

“What what’s dat got to do with you setting here reading de papers all de day, with you big flat feet on de desk, and me out taking a chance with my life dodging these other reposition lines, where de drivers are for using me fur a green light and running right through me.”

“Yes, but Amos ain’t you riding all de time? Why jes think de folks whats in de cab are paying to get jes what you are getting for nothing.”

“Yes, but dey ain’t getting what I is getting when I is out on de street standing in de rain and sno’, waiting for somebody to come ride wif me.”

“Yes, but ain’t it de ‘Fresh Air Taxi Cab,’ don’t we advertise it as sich and ain’t you there partaking in the fresh air all de time while de Customers they only partake in the air during de time they are part and passels of you Cab. So again you is getting something for nothing, while I is here in dis old stuffy office readin and skeemin how to let you have these blessings.”

“Well why don’t you distake of some of some of these blessings some time? You ain’t been in dat cab in so long you couldent find de clutch, I wants you to know its hard setting and waiting for something to show up.”

“Yes but dident I see by de papers dat Mr. Hoover is bringing us posterity and we all goin’ to be doin’ better before we knows it?”

“Well, mayby we’s doing better now and don’t know it, what’s he keeping it from us fur?”

“Well de paper say dat Mr. Hoover has jes talked with Mr. Mellon and Mr. Ford and Mr. Rockefeller and Mr. Capone and dat means dat de good times is right round de corner.”2

“Well why don’t dey tell us what corner, so we can go round there. If we can get some of dis resiprocity by jes going round de corner, I is a man dats going to start turning right now.”

“Well dey say dat business is on de upgrade.”

“Maby its stalled on de grade. Looks like cording to our business, we is on de grade and our brakes won’t even hold and we slipping backwards, what dey say about us of’em dats on de upgrade but going de wrong way?”

“Well he says he has appointed a Remission to disgust dat.”

“Well if de members of de Remission don’t ride in our Taxicab what good’s dat going to do us?”

“Don’t you understand, Amos, this is a time and degeneration of Big Business. De little fellow don’t count. We is in a period of Mass destruction and you got to be immerged with somebody.”

“Who is we going to get immersed with? Ain’t de Republicans for de poor man?”

“No, Amos, dats de Democrats what was going to help de poor.”

“Well why don’t dey help us den?”

“Well dey will help you, Amos, jes as soon as dey helps their selvs, dey ain’t doing much better than we is. Dey got to immerge with somebody else dey will be worse off den they is.”

“Well who could de Democrats immerse with?"

“Why nobody less ’en its the Republicans.”

1“Amos ’n Andy,” long-running radio serial first broadcast in 1928. It featured two white comedians, Freeman Fisher Gosden and Charles J. Correll, in every male role. The escapades of two black taxi drivers and their friends in Harlem attracted an enormous and faithful listening audience.
2For Andrew W. Mellon see WA 344:N 4; for John D. Rockefeller, Sr., see WA 351:N 5; for Scarface Al Capone see WA 336:N 9.

May 25, 1930


Well all I know is just what I read in the papers. The last week or so we did have some outside devilment to take our minds off the usual routine. The most diverting instance was the secret service discovering the fact years after it had happened that our great Football player, Red (Christian) Cagle had grabbed a wife under his arm and streaked through the whole Army regulations for a Justice of the Peace.1

This event took place years ago, in fact the year Dewey entered Manila, but the Army has been all this time finding it out.2 In fact they dident want to find it out till after the football season was over. Because with Red off their football team, they would have looked about like Harvard, or Yale or Princeton, or some of those other second division teams. Notre Dame would have sent in Saint Mary’s against ’em.

Seems that Red was down home on vacation one time, and he run onto a mighty pretty girl. He had his cape thrown back so the red lining showed, and to this Southern Bell it looked like General Lee. Red figured out there wasent much else to do on a vacation, so he thought he better marry her.

He dident want to go away and leave her at the perils of those other old Boys down in the cane breaks. He dident know that when you went to West Point you wasent supposed to be accompanied by a marriage certificate.

But the Army don’t want you to have any entangling alliances. They figure it gets your mind off football if you have a wife to worry about. They don’t care how much you worry about single Girls. You can keep your mind on some little Dame down the Hudson that makes the “Hops” every time the gates are left open, but they don’t want you to have your mind as far away as Louisiana.

Well this marriage seemed to just practically ruin him. Up to then he had been a Substitute on the Plebes team, and had never been between the goal post in his life. But after he come back from that vacation why he went plum loco. There just wasent any controlling him. He would no more than get his fists on a Football than he would light out, and run plum off with it.

Every time they would hand him the ball he would start for Louisiana to show it to his Wife. The Army hadent seen such foolishness as this. It was against all Army regulations. They do everything by orders. You breathe by manual, you sleep by tactics, and eat by regulations. Well they knew there was something the matter with this fellow because he was so different from other inmates. Instead of making just a gain, he would make a touchdown.

Then they commenced advertising him. They said here is a Guy that will get us some money at the gate. He was Red headed; that made him pick up where Red Grange left off.3 So the first thing we knew he was better known than the whole General staff. The Army had a War College, but nobody knew where it was.

But every ten year old child could tell you where Red Gagle was playing every Saturday. Why when the army played Notre Dame in New York as many people come to see Red as did to see Notre Dame play football.

The Army had a drawing card. Nobody knew who the Secretary of War was, but Immigrants could tell you what Red did against Harvard. You could have left it to a vote of the entire U.S., who they wanted to see carry the ball, Cagle or Coolidge, and Red would have won. The Navy quit playing the Army until Red was outlawed by the statue of limitations. They said “We will play the Army but we won’t play Cagle.” It looked like for awhile it would be Civil war between the two branches of our service.

They was going to quit playing football and go to fighting. It looked bad. Congressmen and Senators were losing their tickets they were cadging for the game. Even the President says, “Boys will you please play.” But the Navy says, “No, not while that fellow is going against all the formula’s of Military and Naval tactics.” You see they knew there was something the matter with him but they dident know what it was. They dident know that it was matrimony that was spurring him on to these great deeds. And the thousands and thousands of people that were paying and fighting to get to see him, neither did they know that they were being deceived.

They were paying their good hard earned money to see fine young unattached manhood battle it out on the field of educational finance with no undue advantages taken by any one. They looked on it as a fair fight, with no one having an advantage. Little did they know that this Hero that they were cheering at that very moment dident have his mind on the Army and its great and glorious tradition, but that he was sneakingly thinking of this little schoolmam away down south under the shade of the old Turpentine trees.

They dident know that he was deceiving not only the great Government but the poor Taxpayers who had used their influence with Washington to get tickets to get into the game. Had they known that this boy had a wife of many years standing they would have risen up in rightous wrath and maby tore the grandstand down.

And what of all the thousands of fair young things with rouge, and lip stick, what of them? Hadent they come with palpitating hearts to see this Hero grab a Harvard man and throw him not only for a loss, but out of the park? Here was rank deception being practiced before their young gin-clouded eyes.

Who would pay money to see an old married man do something? It was taking the romance out of the great game. How could you make an Idol out of a Husband? Wasent College based on Football? And wasent football based on finance and romance? What does a hundred thousand people care what happens to a married man? And besides hadent he cheated the government? Hadent he got an education all the time making them think he was a fine worthy upstanding single man, when at heart he knew that he was married and unworthy of Government support?

Did he think the Government was going to go round trying to educate married men? Their marriage was their education. So it just looked like the case of Benedict Arnold. I don’t know what they will do with him. I suppose they will lynch him. He has just simply spoiled Football for a lot of us. We will never see a man make a touchdown now, that we won’t wonder if his wife is watching.

1For Red Cagle see WA 364:N 3.
2George Dewey, American admiral whose naval forces defeated a Spanish fleet at the Battle of Manila in 1898.
3Harold Edward “Red” Grange, star football halfback and All-American at the University of Illinois from 1922 to 1925. Grange left college in 1925 to play professional football with the Chicago Bears.

June 1, 1930


All I know is just what I read in the papers. I just been reading the weekly paper “Times.” You know that’s just about the best thing out on the happenings of the week. They give their own slant on what has happened and they must have a bright up-to-date bunch of young fellows on there that give you real low-down. I was just sitting here tonight reading it.

It tells you what the President has been doing that week, and what the Senate, and the House. Course most of these are short, but that’s been in ever since Mr. Hoover was inaugurated and called them in special session.

Mr. Ford issues a statement last week that this new tariff bill if passed will be the worse thing in the world for all of us. You see a lot of manufacturing establishments try to cover up their own business ability by having the Government protect them against somebody that handles their business better than they do.

They can always holler “Cheap labor!” But the cost of transportation to this country more than makes up for that. So every little Industry that can’t make a big profit hollers for protection.

We won’t see the real effects of this till we have all these other Countries passing restrictive tariffs against us. You can’t stop the other fellow from shipping his goods to us without him doing something to get even.

Some of the smartest and most conscientious men in our National life have been divided on the tariff question. It’s not all Politics, a lot of it is a matter of real opinion, based on a long study. All Democrats don’t agree on it and no two Republicans have exactly the same opinion on it. So let’s give the old boys back there the benefit of the breaks. They are just up against something that is above them.

Arguing tarriff is sorter like argueing religion. There just ain’t any answer. If a business thrives under a protective tarriff, that don’t mean that it has been a good thing. It may have thrived because it made the people of America pay more for the object than they should have, so a few have got rich at the cost of the many. There is never any way of estimating the damage done by a tarriff, that is how much other countries retaliate in different ways. Mr. Grundy might be making Pennsylvania rich, but at the cost of the friendship of all our foreign friends.1

You got to sorter give and take in this old world. We can get mighty rich, but if we haven’t got any friends, we will find we are poorer than anybody.

Nations are just like individuals. They get mad and fight just like individuals. Their feelings are hurt even quicker than Individuals. They do everything just like one person. So that’s the way it is with wealth and position.

We might be the wealthiest Nation that ever existed, we might dominate the world in lots of things, but as Nations are individuals, why we are just an Individual, and because we are richer than all our Neighbors or than anybody else, that don’t necessarily mean that we are happier or really better off.

We don’t all envy our Town or State’s most wealthy man. We see lots of reasons why we wouldent trade places with him. We not only look at this wealth but we look at all the other sides to him. We may know how he is all wet in lots of ways. So we may say, “Yes, he has got money, but what else?”

Well, now that is the way we are liable to become. We are known as the wealthiest Nation of all time. Well, in the first place we are not. The difference between our rich and poor grows greater every year. Our distribution of wealth is getting more uneven all the time. We are always reading, “How many men payed over a million dollar income tax.” But we never read about “How many there is that are not eating regular.” A man can make a million over night and he is on every page in the morning.

But it never tells who give up the million that he got. You can’t get money without taking it from somebody. They don’t just issue out new money. What you got tonight that you dident have last night must have come from somebody.

We have dozens of Magazines that print success articles, but you go broke and see what you can do to get your life story published. Yet the going broke might have made a real man out of you. You may be just starting in to live. We do love to talk in big figures. We love to read in big figures. The old boy that dident get the breaks and couldent make the grade we don’t care much for.

So that’s the way we have become to look on nations. We are judging them all by the size of the Navy, or their Territory, but we don’t give a hoot about their character, or maby a hundred fine things about them. If they don’t amount to something in a big way they are a joke to us, “What do we care what a tariff bill does to them? Are we in the business for them or for ourselves?”

So we are liable to get a bad kick back from a lot of this highhanded stuff we are pulling. We are riding a high horse at this time. So it takes a pretty smart man to tinker with this tariff.

We are liable to go do something here we won’t live down very soon. It’s all right to help out the folks back home, and bring every voter some kind of relief, but you want to be mighty careful at whose expense you bring it. It does look like we ought to be able to manage our affairs so that we could get along and still sorter be friends with folks, too. But this tariff thing has sure got two sides to it, and they are not political sides either. It’s a smart man’s business, it’s not just for mere Politicians to mess with.

1For Joseph R. Grundy see WA 332:N 3.

June 8, 1930


Well all I know is just what I read in the papers. I just been reading in the news about the presentation of some of our Americans at the Court of St James. I remember Ambassador Dawes telling me about what a time he was having picking out the ones that were to be presented.1 He wanted to turn it over to the Senate to decide which ones to present. Well they had it and as usual wealth won out.

You have often seen the add “Campbells Soup.” Well that add has netted dividends, for offspring Charllote bent the knee to the King and Queen.2 It just shows you what advertising will do for you. The thermos bottle people have got into the Social heat by producing an client to courtesy to their Majestys. Everybody that has ever taken a bottle on a picnic contributed to her social success. The Radio people entered a Daughter, Elizabeth.3 While the World has been listening in they have themselves had their ear to the Society ground, and when the time come they tuned in with Lizzie.

But while all these National advertised ingredients were “going Social” don’t think the Cigarette was idle. No Sir, Old Gold had a test and sent their fair daughter. Doris Duke “walked a mile” through Buckingham Palace to get a peek at George and Mary.4 Campbells soup had nothing on Campbells Cigarettes. Old Chesterfield was there in all its debutante finery. The Stotesburys entered a fair maid for the test in the person of Miss Francis Hutchison.5

Atlanta come through and it wasent Coca Cola either. It was some of the Hoke Smith troop.6 So it looks like the whole thing run pretty near to form. I kinder thought Dawes would pick out a bunch of Girls in our land who had accomplished something. You know last year America got a lot of favorable publicity by Helen Wills crashing into what up to then had been “Who’s Who in Debutantville.”7 Helen made it on backline drive. She could stand in Buckingham Palace and place one in Windsor Castle. So it was thought well maby they will start to introduce Girls who have swum a Channel, speeled all the words right, stuck to the phone during a fire, or done some noteworthy thing. But, no it was the same old racket. The bank book got you in. Achievement couldent hurdle a flock of Credit slips.

The whole thing is the prize “Hooey” thing of all time. They don’t get to say a word. The Queen don’t say a word to them. They just come by, do a little bum courtesy and then they are through for the day.

It compares in importance about like voting the Democratic Ticket at a Presidential Election. You vote but it don’t mean anything. Dawes added the only Democratic touch to the whole thing by having on breeches of a decent length. The Ambassador from Russia, “Comrade” somebody or other, he wore knee breeches but be had a Sweater on. So that squared him with the Proletariot.

Old New Jersey is all excited over the coming election. Mr. Morrow was practically all set, as he should have been, to go in the United States Senate.8 He is not only the class of the race but of all their races for some time. It takes a Statician to name any of New Jersey’s Senators in the past years. So this little fellow would have given them a dignity and importance that they have been sadly lacking in. Plus an ability that is unusual in anyone running for the Senate. Because he announced himself on the Prohibition question, and give the best straight forward explanation of his stand, why up jumps a Dry. He has the same chance being elected as I have to supplant Charley Chaplin as the World’s greatest Comedian.9 But this old Boy just saw a chance to get back into print, so he announced that he would run, not by popular demand, but by personal inclination. So that splits the thing all up. Now he could be in the Senate ten years and nobody would ever know what State he was from, while Morrow would be a power in there. His ability would stand out like a Traffic light in that body.

Been interested in the scheme of my old friend Jack Garner of Texas.10 Jack wants to divide up the great State of Texas into five states. Why he wants to stop at five nobody knows. If he is going to split the old open range up, why why not make job of it.

The papers state that Texas would make 220 States the size of Rhode Island, and 54 the size of Connecticut, and six time bigger than the whole of New England. Jack wants more Senators to offset that mess from the east. Well let’s make some Rhode Islands out of it, and that will give us (220 times as big). That’s 440 Senators. Now that ought to satisfy anybody, even if you are fond of Senators, 440 ought to get us about what Pennsylvania has been getting with their two.

Our old friend Mussolini broke a silence last week. When all the rest of the World was talking on dissarmament he remarked as per such, “Though words are beautiful things, Ships and Aeroplanes, are much more beautiful.” That old Lad spoke a palate full. He knows the Nations that are great are the ones that have something in the way of side arms. He knows that without an Army and Navy they will never be able to find room for his growing population.

That fellow has kept Italy on the up-grade for all these years, and all the time everybody says, “Oh, he can’t last.” I have said ever since I met him in 26, that he was by far the greatest Guy I had ever met, and there has never been a day since then that I have changed. He has done more for his Country than any man ever did for one in a like time. You don’t see ’em shooting at him any more do you. He is a Whiz, that baby is. I have never yet seen him propose a fool thing.

1For Charles G. Dawes see WA 331:N 2.
2Charlotte Kelsey Dorrance, daughter of John Thomas Dorrance, president of the Campbell Soup Company and originator of canned soup.
3Elizabeth Brinton Kent, daughter of Arthur Atwater Kent, Philadelphia innovator and manufacturer of radios.
4Doris Duke, American tobacco heiress and socialite; daughter of James Buchanan Duke, one of the founders of the American Tobacco Company. For George V see WA 336:N 8; for Queen Mary see WA 339:N 3.
5Frances Hutchinson, granddaughter of Edward Townsend Stotesbury, Philadelphia financier and railroad magnate.
6Hoke Smith, former governor of Georgia and United States senator. His second wife, Mazie Crawford Hoke, was presented at Buckingham Palace on May 15, 1930.
7Helen Wills, famous California tennis player who won her first of seven United States Open titles in 1923 at the age of seventeen. She also won twelve Wimbledon championships.
8Dwight W. Morrow (see WA 325:N 8) was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1930 to fill a vacancy. He served from December 1930 until his death the following October.
8For Charlie Chaplin see WA 338:N 3.
10John Nance “Jack” Garner, Democratic United States representative from Texas from 1903 to 1933; speaker of the House from 1931 to 1933; vice president of the United States from 1933 to 1941.

June 15, 1930


Every once in awhile something shows up in the way of real humor, and it’s generally by somebody that most everybody else never heard of. In the case I am presenting to you it says in there that it was presented by a Mr. A. Berkowitz, but anyhow whoever it is, let’s get him some credit, and maby spoil his life by making a writer out of him. A Mr. F. W. Kuhn, of Troy Alabama sent it to me as a clipping from the Birmingham Age-Herald. The case is that “Miss Southern Democracy is sueing Senator Tom Heflin for Divorce.”1 It’s a bear and I want you to read it. Course they use Tom as the example but it’s really hitting at all the Hoovercrats.

I havent heard much from Tom’s race lately, but I bet they have a tough time cleaning him. Those town boys might be against him but when he pulls off his old alpaca, and gets to illustrating the weakness of his opponents with those Negro stories, (which he can tell like nobody else) why he will give ’em a tough battle. But let me repeat you this just as is. The Petition follows:

“Miss Southern Democracy complaintant, vs Thomas J. Heflin, alias ‘Cotton Tom’ Heflin, alias ‘Admiral Tom’ Heflin, respondent, in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama, tenth Judicial Circuit of Alabama, in equity. To the honorable William M Walker Judge of said Court, Humbly complaining your complaint, Miss Southern Democracy shows unto your honor the following facts as a basis of complaint.

“First, that your Complaintant is over the age of 21, and has been a boni fide resident of the Sovereign State of Alabama since the year 1865. Your Complaintant retains her maiden name in this bill, for reasons well known to this court and the world at large.

“Second—That the respondent, Thomas J. Heflin, is over the age of 21, and though absent from the State a boni fide resident of the State.

“Three—That your complaintant and respondent were married to each other in the fall of the year 1894, at Lafayette, Alabama, where the respondent was a lowly Cotton grower, and where your complaintant, through her aid and influence, first aided the respondent to the rank of Public officer of this great State. Your complaintant will in all fairness aver that until the time of the acts herein complained of the respondent was a model husband. That his courtship at Lafayette was swift and ardent, that down through the years respondent was loyal and true, and appreciative of helping hand of complaintant, which in love bestowed upon him many high offices, finally the Toga of United States Senator, in November of the year 1920.

“Four—Your Complaintant avers that she and the respondent lived together in holy blissful union until the first Tuesday after the first monday of November of the year 1928, at which time they seperated and have not lived togeather since. Your Complaintant charges that in the spring of that year she first noticed changes in her erstwhile model Spouse. He began to stay out late at nights, with disreputable Characters known as Republicans, That he would come home in a bad mood and mutter “Raskobite,” That he no longer fed and cared for the pet Donkey, that had been their comfort during their married life.2 But brought into their happy home an ungainly Elephant. Your complaintant further charges that he was cruel to her, and threatened to break her up and destroy her forever, that he shamed her in the presence of her Enemies, by speeches so threatening in tone that your complaintant was made to blush and hang her head in shame. That he failed to support her, and furnish her with those necessities of life, and that on said November day he utterly abandoned her, leaving her broken and destitute, and beset by many foes, and he charges that at the time he abandoned her, she was wrong, unchaste, and defiled.

“Your complainant avers that she was ever faithful and true and brought to respondent blessings never before reaped by any man. That she gave to him the best years of her life, and now she has grown frail and weak and cannot support herself, and that but for friends would have long ago been forced to spend her years in want and poverty. Furthermore complaintant avers that respondent is in good health, strong, and well able to work, and Complaintant being without relief except in a Court of Equity, and prays that your Honor will cause him to plead answer, to this bill, within the time and manner required, and shall pay to Complaintant such a sum as will be necessary for her support and maintanence, in accordance with her station in life, and suitable permanent alimony for her future support.

“Complainant further prays that upon final hearing of this case, your honor will render a decree forever dissolving the bonds of matrimony existing between these two. And that your complainant again be permitted to plunge her adventurous prow once more into the bevexed waters of the seas of connubiality and cast her fortunes with any man who gains her affections in the contest, for her favor provided for by the law of her Fathers home.”

Signed A Bekowitz. Solicitor for the complainant. Footnote,— The respondent is required to answer each and every paragraph of the foregoing bill of complaint. But NOT under oath, answer under oath hereby being expressly waived. A. Bekowitz

1For Tom Heflin see WA 330:N 3.
2John Jakob Raskob, American industrialist who resigned his executive position with General Motors Corporation in 1928 to serve as Democratic national chairman for Al Smith’s presidential campaign. Heflin opposed Smith and Raskob in 1928.

June 22, 1930


Well all I know is just what I read in the papers, and in the letters that I get after spouting on the “Raddy-ho,” (and say by the way, you know we used to kid Al Smith about the way he pronounced that word,) well we just now come to find out that he was right all the time and the rest of ’em all was wrong. Yes Sir Al was absolutely right. Then these people would write me and say, “Why don’t you name some of the words that Mr Hoover miss-pronounces?” and then they would name ’em.

Say, what would I know about them? If that’s all the people in this country had to worry about, why we would be sitting pretty fine. If there was nothing wrong with us but our pronunciation we would be well off. But talking about getting letters from Folks, I have had more letters about my broadcasting a week or so ago on Prohibition than I have on any one of the other subjects, and 98 percent of them agreed not with the subject so much as the fact that what I had to say about it was that “We were tired of listening to both sides of the argument and dident care what happened to it.” Well you would be surprised the amount that are really tired of it and wish the whole word and subject would pass out of our every day usage. They have asked me so may of them to try and give them something in print of what I did say, and especially they wanted the real dope on whether the stuff about Noah was on the level or not.

Now it sure was. You know I wrote a little book all on Prohibition away back in about 1918[sic]. It was called “Will Rogers on Prohibition” and published by Harper and Bro, along with another one called, “Will Rogers on the Peace Conference” and when I was writing this one on Prohibition I remembered that the Bible had a lot to say about drinking and wine, so I borrowed me a Bible, and I started in to read it just to see what I could get that applied to Wine.

Well I really had the surprise of my life. I hadent read over a few pages till I run onto this early story of the wild life of our original Ancestor, Noah. The way the book started off it looked like I would get what I wanted right off the reel and that if I used all that was said in regard to wine that I would have to issue it in two volumes.

You see that’s one wonderful thing about the Bible—there was no censorship in those days. Of course now some of our Churches hold Conferences and cut out certain parts that they think don’t belong in there. Or change them according to what they think should be said instead of what was said. In other words we are always having somebody improving on the words of the Lord. That’s even worse than a Scenario Writer brightening up Shakespeare.

Then here just the other day I went to that wonderful play in New York called “Green Pastures” and, say, by the way don’t miss it, it’s the greatest thing I ever saw.1 It’s the play as you probably know that really enacts all the scenes of the Bible in the every day homely way that the real old down home Negroes think that it is. There is one Character of the Lord, just an ordinary fellow, walking among them and talking to ’em about like any old Preacher. He offers some of his subjects, “Here Brother Noah, is a good ten cent Cigar.” Another time when he is having a tough time with his subject he says, “This job of being the Lord is no cinch.”

Going around with him all the time up in Heaven is old Gabriel, and he keeps saying to Gabriel, “Look out Gabriel don’t toot that horn yet.” Gab is always shining up the old Alto Horn. It’s the most simple, and the most impressive, and the most reverent thing you ever saw done on a stage. And it’s exactly like those old Camp meetings that I have gone to down home in Oklahoma, and it comes about as near being right as some of these other more sofisticated religions that we have. These Negroes take what the Lord said literally and not what they thought he ought to have said, so don’t miss that show if you have to go clear to New York to see it.

But what I started in to tell you was about old Noah. Well in this show they got him building the Ark right there on the stage. The Lord is telling him what to put in it, and Noah asks about the snakes, and the Lord says, “Sure we got to have snakes.” “Well,” says Noah, “don’t you think Lord that we better take a jug of spirits along with us in case one of the snakes goes haywire and bites somebody during the rain?” So the Lord told Noah to take the Jug, and the Noah says, don’t you think Lord I better take two Jugs. “No,” says the Lord, “Only one Jug.” “But,” says Noah, “two jugs would balance the boat, put one on each side.” “No,” says the Lord, “Put the one jug in the middle of the Boat.” So you see everybody seems to be pretty well wise to old Noah. He wasent hardly what you would call the backbone of the Anti Saloon League.

You see it was in the early Chapters of Genesis that it reads, “And he became a Husbandman and planted a Garden.” You see the minute he got married he started right in raising the ingredients that go with married life. So you see you don’t want to prevent wine raising. You want to prevent marriage.

Then it says, “he drank of the wine and was drunk.” Not just a little tight or about half loaded, but drunk. And I expect in those days and times among those old Timers, when they admitted anyone was Drunk, I expect he filled the bill. Now the Lord dident seem to mind it, in fact it was on account of his drinking that he picked Noah to gather all these Animals into the Ark, he was the only one that had seen all of ’em. So Noah just went out and every time he needed another pair of Animals he would just take another drink, in fact two drinks for he always had to have a he and a she, all but a Democrat and its mate. He run out of wine just as he was looking for the mate to the Democratic He, and that’s today why there is so few drinkers in the Democratic party. They are the Party of law and decency, all due to Noah running out of wine.

1The Green Pastures, a Pulitzer prize winning play by Marcus Cook Connelly, was first produced in 1930. It is based on Roark Bradford’s Ol’ Man Adam an’ His Chillun (1928).

June 29, 1930


Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers, and what I run into as I prowl hither and thither. You know I have often said in answer to inquiries as to how I got away with kidding some of our public men, that it was because I liked all of them personally, and that if there was no malice in your heart there could be none in your “Gags,” and I have always said I never met a man I dident like.

Even out in Chicago last week, why there is just an awful lot of fine things about the old town besides bullet holes. It’s one of the most progressive Cities in the World. Shooting is only a side line. It’s a great place. You only have to meet it to know it good. Well that’s the way it is with humans, you read a lot of other people and kinder form a certain opinion. Now there has been a whole lot in the papers here lately about the much discussed Prize fight between Jack Sharkey and this young fellow Schmelling, and the Sport writers have had a Carnival for a year or so writing about the “Gabby Gob,” and million and one titles that denoted that he was nothing but a big breeze.1 Well I was up in Boston a week or so ago and it was just a day or so after that famous fight, and through a mutual friend I happened to meet this fellow Sharkey. Had a long chat with him and he drove me out to his home and met his wife and three great kids. I had always kinder admired him in spite of what was said, for he had always had the reputation of being a very clean living family man and well liked by his neighbors. Now when your Neighbors don’t get wise to you you must be pretty straight laced.

Well he told me a lot about the fight, and he told it in a very straight-forward way. He dident have any crying to do, or any Alabi’s. He says he knows that he hit the fellow right on the belt, but he don’t think it was below it. He says he ducked down very low to avoid a punch from Schmelling and he started this punch from his position and that the other fellow come in at him fast and that it landed lower than he had expected but not a foul. He said he never seemed like he was having an easier fight, that between every round he couldent hardly believe it, that here he was fighting for the very World’s Championship and having the easiest time of his career. He said he had trained hard and expected much more opposition out of the fellow, and when this thing come and was standing over in the corner with his hands on the ropes just waiting for them to declare him the winner, why when they held up the other fellow’s hand here is his words, “Well my chin dropped and it hit me on the chest, (low down on the chest) and it almost knocked me out. My heart went down and down out of one leg then hopped across into the other and come up a ways and stopped dead.

“Here I was with the Championship in my lap and blowed it again. My first thoughts were, what will my wife think of me? Here I am noted for pulling something right at a time when I had the most at stake and here I was doing it again.”

Well it was really pathetic to hear the fellow explain it. He says “I just look like I can’t keep from doing something when the very most is at stake. But it all comes in the game, maby I have had a few lucky breaks too only they don’t show up so plain. I am proud of one thing, I did keep my head and dident go plum cuckoo like I used to do when things went wrong. I at least won over myself if I dident win over the German.”

Not even his worst enemy accused him of any deliberate foul, so it was pretty tough to be sitting there not the Champion of the World after you had had it in your lap and then thrown it away. To show his good faith in the affair he offers to fight any time and for nothing only his training expenses. He said the German was a fine young fellow and dident claim the foul because he knew he wasent. But that naturally he thought he was as the blow right in the pit of the stomach on the belt line would naturally make anyone think they were hit low. He also said he dident blame the Boy from trying to make all he could out of the championship. (Now at that time they hadent awarded him the real Championship.) But Sharkey said that they should, that he won the fight and he should be given all that goes with it.

He has a lovely home out in the fashionable section of Boston. It’s built and furnished all in good taste. (That is as far as I am able to judge.) At least it had none of the ingredients of us Movie folks homes out in Beverly.

His wife’s Grandfather and Grandmother live with them, and they have three awfully cute kids, a little Girl five, another four, and a little boy two. He told of the terrible hissing he got when he come into the ring with the American Flag around him. Not only he told me but others that knew, that was not Sharkey’s idea at all, it was thrown on him as he left the dressing room and he tried to protest, but they told him, “No it’s great, wear it.” He would try to push it off as he was walking up the isle, and they told him, “You cant shove the flag aside now its got to stay on there. What will people say if they see you throw the flag down in the isle?” He says, “My I was with the Navy, I know what the flag means. I know where it’s to be used and where not. But it was just another example of seeming to do the wrong thing at the very right time.”

Now he has got to sit around. He can’t fight anybody till the Commission tells him. If Schmelling won’t fight till next year neither can he. “Here I have to lay idle all this time. I like to fight, it keeps me in better condition. But what can you do? You are in their hands. It’s big Business now, and if it’s better for them that I lay idle all this time, why that’s what I am to do. When I was coming up I could fight every night and no one objected, but now that I am a big shot, they tell me when to fight, what to eat, where to train, how long to train, who to fight. It’s politics now and not a Sport.”

1Jack Sharkey, American prizefighter who held the world heavyweight title from 1932 to 1933. Schmeling (see WA 346:N 1) won the heavyweight champion on a foul by Sharkey in the fourth round of a scheduled fifteen-round bout in New York City on June 12, 1930.