Sunday, December 28, 2008

Who Is Shannon Berry, and How Does She Know So Much About Franklin Pierce

I have had way too much time on my hands today, as this record-setting fourth post in one day proves. While looking for new information on Franklin Pierce, I found this History Channel video on YouTube. The speaker, Shannon Berry, is identified as a Franklin Pierce biographer. She knows her subject, but I can find no evidence that she has authored a biography of our obscure 14th President.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Franklin's Fir a First--Fact or Fallacy?

With a great deal of trepidation, I bring up an aspect of the Presidency of Franklin Pierce heretofore not explored on this blog. Lugubrious Drollery (where this post originally appeared) is dedicated to stamping out misinformation wherever it rears its ugly head. With this in mind, the author has tirelessly posted righteously indignant comments at as many as three or four other blogs guilty of repeating the story of President Franklin Pierce running over an old woman (see also LD's previous post "Franklin Pierce Runs Over Woman--Not!").

I know I am risking my reputation as a champion of truth, justice, and the American Way by posting an unsubstantiated bit of Presidential trivia here. In this Christmas season, I feel I must point out that they say (ah, the omniscient, omnipresent they!) that Franklin Pierce was the first President to decorate the White House with a Christmas tree. There! I've said it! Let the Devil take the hindmost and Bob's your uncle!

I have searched high and low for contemporaneous documentation of this momentous event in holiday decorating, but so far this effort has come a cropper. Sometimes they say the tree was erected in 1853, but others say the date was 1856. Some accounts throw in a visit from a Sunday school class from a Washington Presbyterian Church for good measure.

Well, until someone can show me a shred of evidence, I remain skeptical that Handsome Frank decked the halls of the White House.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Merry Christmas, Mr. President

I just got a new macro lens and was playing around with it today. Here are a couple pictures of the official White House Christmas ornament for 1997, commemorating Franklin Pierce.