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Figure ROLF LIUM President Coolidge's Black Hills Pastor REDPATH Rolf Lium Giving the Benediction at Dedication of Rushmore Monument President and Mrs. Coolidge Leaving Community Congregational Church, Hermosa Just Before Lium Preached His First Sermon at Hermosa Top of Steps—President and Mrs. Coolidge, Rolf Lium ROLF LIUM, President Coolidge's Black Hills Pastor IN THE spring of 1927 Rolf Lium was a twenty-year-old junior in arts at Carleton College, Northfield, Minn. Rolf needed money for his senior year in college. He had been offered a vacation job as driver of a milk truck in Yellowstone Park, at $150 a month and board. He had decided to take it. But a friend told him of the village of Hermosa in the Black Hills of South Dakota where a little Congregational church wanted a student pastor for the summer; and the salary was $50 a month and board. My father was a clergyman, Rolf says, and although I am planning to be a physician, I am thoroughly interested in church work. I needed the larger salary, but I took the church position at Hermosa. Lium Makes a Choice About the middle of June young Lium was in Hermosa preparing his first sermon. He had written the sermon and had learned it by heart. And then came word that President and Mrs. Coolidge, who were spending the summer at the State Game Lodge twelve miles away, would attend services at Hermosa the coming Sunday. Everyone had thought the Presidential party would go to Rapid City, but Hermosa was nearer, and the President chose to attend there. The Reverend George Williams, head of the Congregational Missions for South Dakota, took pity on young Lium and offered to preach for him. No, said Lium, I will preach. If my sermon is good enough for the congregation, I am sure the President will like it. He cut his sermon to fifteen minutes in length and was ready for Sunday. President Coolidge Hears Him Preach A twenty-year-old Norwegian college boy, tall, straight, with the blond hair and square jaw of his Norwegian ancestors, Rolf Lium, preached his first sermon in the presence of the Chief Executive of the nation and Mrs. Coolidge and received a handshake and congratulations at the conclusion by the President, said the New York Times of the next day in the course of a column and a half write-up. While the congregation waited for the President and Mrs. Coolidge to depart, says the Times article, the President went to the pulpit, the young man descended, and the President shook hands with him and introduced him to Mrs. Coolidge. It was a student of your college, Dr. Marion Leroy Burton, who nominated me for the Presidency at Cleveland, he told the modest young preacher, and he invited him to call at the State Lodge and said he was coming to church again. And the President did come again—every Sunday during the summer except once, when he was in Yellowstone Park. Mrs. Coolidge came every Sunday, and young Lium was entertained at the Summer White House. Both the President and Mrs. Coolidge became frankly very fond of this fine young American. A Born Speaker Lium's name and pictures were printed in newspapers all over the land. He had become a notable. All luck, said Lium. But it wasn't all luck. There's wonderful stuff there—modesty, personality, poise, brains and, almost best of all, not a scintilla of priggishness. In his manner and in his appearance, says one writer, he reminds one of Colonel Lindbergh. He is tall, six feet three inches, but not quite so slim as Lindbergh. He looks as if he would make a good football player, and he admitted he was sport editor of the college paper at Carleton and a member of the swimming team. His father, a Lutheran minister, has been dead about fifteen years. It was Annie Dickie Olesen, one of Redpath's headline lecturers, who called the attention of the Bureau management to young Lium. When he stands on the platform, tall, fair-haired, honest, rugged, happy, twentieth-century youth, your heart gives a great leap and you sit back, if you are forty, and say, 'It will all come right,' she writes. If you are young, you must feel a breeze blowing and see in imagination the banners of your ambition which you will place in the distant ramparts of your life. Not All Luck Acting upon Mrs. Olesen's suggestion, Harry P. Harrison, general manager of the Redpath Bureau, Chicago, arranged to hear Lium lecture. Lium had hardly talked five minutes when Mr. Harrison exclaimed, He's all right. He's a find. That young man has just the right stuff. He's a born speaker. At the conclusion of the lecture Mr. Harrison offered Lium a year's contract as a Redpath lecturer. The contract begins after his graduation from Carleton this spring, and Lium is planning on using the proceeds to pay his way through medical college. Twenty Years Old, Rolf Lium Is a Fine, Unspoiled American Youth HIS LECTURE, which is entitled The Spirit of Youth, opens with interesting personal experiences concerning the President and Mrs. Coolidge, and then turns to a discussion of problems facing the youth of today. It's just such a lecture as every community should hear. Parents and young people alike will throng to hear Lium. Rolf Lium, says the Rockford, Ill., Star, is a shining example of the youth of today. He is young, enthusiastic, ambitious, sincere, honest and extremely alive. Once he begins to address his audience, one is immediately intensely interested in what this young man has to say. The charm of his personality is felt at once. A Test of Real Courage Says one writer: Without the slightest disposition to pluck a single leaf from the laurels that have been placed upon the brow of Colonel Lindbergh, I would ask permission to wreathe the brow of another young man whose recent feat was far from spectacular, yet required courage of the highest order to carry it through. Rolf Lium, a lad of twenty years, preached a sermon—his first, by the way—in a little church out in the Black Hills. In his congregation were the President of the United States and the President's wife. I venture to say that it took as much courage and of as high an order for that lad of twenty to stand before the President and expound his beliefs as it did for Lindbergh to 'hop off' for his flight across the ocean. A couple of months ago I was instrumental in getting Mr. Lium, the Carleton College lad who was the minister for President Coolidge in the Black Hills, to speak to the Optimist Club at Duluth at our regular week-day luncheon. I was out of town the week he spoke and did not hear him, but today at the Optimist Club I received a prize for obtaining the best program for that quarter of the year. George G. Bowen, Duluth, Minn. The Redpath Bureau Announces ROLF LIUM as One of the Outstanding Lecture Attractions of the Season of 1928–29 The President Goes to Church Pictures on this and the two preceding pages reproduced by permission of Rise Studio, Rapid City, S. D.
|Title||Rolf Lium: President Coolidge's Black Hills Pastor|
|Topical Subject (LCSH)||Public speaking|
|Personal Name Subject||Lium, Rolf|
|Digital Collection||Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century|
|Contributing Institution||University of Iowa. Libraries. Special Collections Dept.|
|Archival Collection||Redpath Chautauqua Collection|
|Rights Management||Educational use only, no other permissions given. U.S. and international copyright laws may protect this digital image. Commercial use or distribution of the image is not permitted without prior permission of the copyright holder.|
|Contact Information||Contact the Special Collections Dept. at The University of Iowa Libraries: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/contact/index/|
|Number of Pages||3|
|Digitization Specifications||Scanned at 600 dpi, 32-bit color. Master image available in tiff format.|