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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Writers, coffee and other things

Americans have long been big coffee drinkers and it’s especially true that writers guzzle the stuff in order to keep their senses sharp while working on their trade.  But, one famous writer who probably is “hands down” ahead of the rest of us in his imbibing of the stuff is also one of our most famous politicians – Theodore Roosevelt.

Yes, I said writer, because before he became famous in politics, Roosevelt penned several best-selling books, including some that are still referenced by scholars today (The Naval War of 1812 and The Life of Thomas Hart Benton, for example).  All told the prolific Roosevelt wrote 35 books in his lifetime.  (He also is said to have been a speedreader able to devour a book every single day).

In the early years of Roosevelt’s sickly childhood, he was not expected to survive … or if he did survive not to have the strength to do much in adulthood.  His parents believed in strong coffee and cigar smoke as “remedies,” particularly to help him overcome severe asthma, according to The Smithsonian.  Obviously -- for T.R. at least -- the remedies worked.

A famous coffee drinker from then on, he had a custom-made cup one of his sons called “More in the nature of a bathtub.”  After his death, from 1919-1928, his children honored their father’s coffee-drinking legacy by operating the nation’s first coffeehouse chain (in New York City), called “Brazilian,” and then “The Double R.”

  “Col. Theodore Roosevelt” coffee mug from 1898

T.R., by the way, is indirectly credited with coining the first coffee advertising slogan.  While touring President Andrew Jackson’s estate in 1907 he drank a cup of Maxwell House coffee and proclaimed it “Good to the Last Drop.”  The company immediately latched onto that and still uses the slogan today.

Time to hit the old keyboard – and get my morning cup of coffee.  Happy Writing!

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