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John C. Calhoun: American Portrait
by Margaret L. Coit
616 pages
Houghton Mifflin
Published: 1950

Published 100 years after Calhoun’s death, Margaret Coit’s “John C. Calhoun: American Portrait” won the 1951 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. Coit was an author and historian also known for her biography of financier and presidential adviser Bernard Baruch. She died in 2003 at the age of 83.

The product of almost a decade of research (which immediately followed her graduation from college), Coit’s biography was sparked by her long-time fascination with Calhoun. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that this proves a decidedly sympathetic, though not uncritical, exploration of…

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