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Samuel Russell established Russell and Company for the purpose of acquiring opium in Turkey and smuggling it to China. Russell and Company merged with the Perkins (Boston) syndicate in and became the primary American opium smuggler. Many of the great American and European fortunes were built on the “China”(opium) trade. One of Russell and Company’s Chief of Operations in Canton was Warren Delano, Jr., grandfather of Franklin Roosevelt. Other Russell partners included John Cleve Green (who financed Princeton), Abiel Low (who financed construction of Columbia), Joseph Coolidge and the Perkins, Sturgis and Forbes families. (Coolidge’s son organized the United Fruit company, and his grandson, Archibald C. Coolidge, was a co-founder of the Council on Foreign Relations both of which will be itemized further on.)

Early in the year, Harding suffers from a severe attack of influenza, followed by other disorders. His wife is also in poor health. He decides to go on a speaking tour that could help his health and his popularity. He leaves with his wife and a party of 65 on a 1,500-mile, 2-month trip to Alaska with stops at cities along the way. Exhausted, he becomes ill in Seattle and dies of bronchopneumonia and a possible cerebral hemorrhage on August 2nd in San Francisco’s Palace Hotel. Mrs. Harding immediately returns to Washington and burns all of his papers. He leaves an administration torn by scandal, but was a popular president and is deeply mourned by the nation. Vice President Calvin Coolidge is vacationing at his father’s home in Plymouth, Vermont. It takes several hours for the news of President Harding’s death in California to reach the small town. Because the chief justice of the Supreme Court is 500 miles away, Coolidge’s father, a notary public, administers the oath of office to his son by the light of a kerosene lamp at 2:30 a.m.

Harry A. Franck, explorer, visits the Xianyang mounds previously seen by Robert Sterling Clark in 1908.

Beyond Sienyang the whole dust-hazy landscape was covered as far as the eye could see with graves, not the little conical spatters of earth to be seen in myriads all over China, but immense mounds by the score, some of them veritable mountains. (Wandering in North China)