From COMM 455 student Jake Fedechko:

Note: Both Price and Sorenson are wrong when they identify JW as working first and only for Coolidge!

Ray Price responds:
The first president to have an aide who was known as a speechwriter was, of all people, that classically taciturn former Massachusetts governor, Calvin Coolidge. The speechwriter’s name was Judson Welliver. The reason I know this is that my Nixon White House colleague Bill Safire, after we were all safely back in private life, started an organization called the Judson Welliver Society, made up solely of former (not current) presidential speechwriters, with about three or four (if still living; we don’t knowingly admit the formerly living) from each administration. We get together for dinner about once every two years; as it happens, we’re having a dinner this January 18.

Other presidents, of course, beginning with George Washington, have had help with their speeches. Most people who write books, or have their names on books, even if they don’t use ghost writers, also get help, sometimes quite extensive, from their editors.

Ted Sorensen responds:

George Washington utilized Alexander Hamilton. But Calvin Coolidge’s Judson Welliver was apparently the first person employed for that purpose in the White House. For the last several Presidencies, drafts have been prepared by full-time wordsmiths in the official Office of Speechwriting.

Source: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/inauguration/speech1.html

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