Trivia clue: This New York governor showed up too late to play in a November 12th golf game promoted as a friendly match between “is” and “to be.”
Correct response: Gov. Nathan Miller, the Republican incumbent who just weeks before had lost re-election to Democrat Al Smith, who Miller had un-seated two years earlier.
“Governor-elect Al Smith, of New York, spent a quiet day at the (Atlantic City) shore, but did not have the chance to meet Governor Miller in their scheduled golf match at the Seaview Club, where he is registered in the ‘presidential suite,’ always occupied by President Harding during his visits,” the Associated Press reported on November 13th, 1922.
The following are more anecdotes of the lighter side of politics collected from historic northern New York newspapers:
On March 1st, 1887, The Morning Star of Glens Falls reported that the J.S. White Drum Corps was set to serenade the winners in that day’s South Glens Falls village elections.
On March 10th, 1887, The Morning Star reported that Grover Cleveland would celebrate his 50 th birthday on March 18, becoming the third U.S. president, up to that point, that turned 50 while in office. The other two were James K. Polk and Franklin Pierce.
On May 9th, 1887, The Morning Star reported that First Lady Frances Cleveland had favorable rapport with the press. “It is said that Mrs. Cleveland’s first lover was a newspaper man; that she loved him intensely, and would have married him had she had her way, and that she has a sympathy for all in the profession on that account, and because she writes for the press sometimes herself. Mr. Cleveland’s feelings toward the profession of the press have not mellowed by the fact that Mrs. Cleveland once admired a quill driver.”
In the political wit category:
“Mark Twain says of the talk of making him a senator, that, ‘If such an offer as that was made to me, it would be the most gigantic compliment I ever received.’ Mark Twain has overcome his early tendencies, and sometimes talks seriously, nowadays.” – The Argus of Albany, March 14th, 1906.
It is said that there is more wind than wisdom in the composition of many would-be statesmen.” – The Morning Star, February 26th, 1889
“Senator Taft has given up dieting and intends to keep down his flesh by moderate exercise. But what does he consider moderate exercise – running for President or sprinting for the Supreme Court bench?” – The Argus, May 24th, 1906.
“Washington correspondents have continued to marvel at the President. One of them thinks that Mr. Roosevelt would have made a good city editor, and in support of his idea says: ‘As soon as one of his stories fails to pan out, he always has another ready to pop to divert the attention of the public.’” – The Argus, June 1st, 1906.
Photo: a New York Times pressman checking a newspaper for defects in 1942.