Plymouth Notch, Vermont
Place of Death
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
30th US President, 1923-29
Amherst College (1895)
Full Name at Birth
John Calvin Coolidge
Yellow Collie (Dog - Bessie), chow (Dog - Blackberry), Bulldog (Dog - Boston Beans), Shetland Sheepdog (Dog - Calamity Jane)
John Calvin Coolidge Jr. (; July 4, 1872 – January 5, 1933) was the 30th President of the United States (1923–1929). A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state. His response to the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight and gave him a reputation as a man of decisive action. Soon after, he was elected as the 29th Vice President in 1920 and succeeded to the Presidency upon the sudden death of Warren G. Harding in 1923. Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small government conservative, and also as a man who said very little, although having a fair sense of humor.
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John Calvin Coolidge Jr. (July 4, 1872 – January 5, 1933) was the 30th President of the United States (1923–29). A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state. His response to the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight and gave him a reputation as a man of decisive action. Soon after, he was elected as the 29th vice president in 1920 and succeeded to the presidency upon the sudden death of Warren G. Harding in 1923. Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small-government conservative, and also as a man who said very little, although having a rather dry sense of humor.
Coolidge restored public confidence in the White House after the scandals of his predecessor's administration, and left office with considerable popularity. As a Coolidge biographer wrote, "He embodied the spirit and hopes of the middle class, could interpret their longings and express their opinions. That he did represent the genius of the average is the most convincing proof of his strength." Coolidge's retirement was relatively short, as he died at the age of 60 in January 1933, less than two months before his direct successor, Herbert Hoover, left office.
Though his reputation underwent a renaissance during the Ronald Reagan administration, modern assessments of Coolidge's presidency are divided. He is adulated among advocates of smaller government and laissez-faire; supporters of an active central government generally view him less favorably, while both sides praise his stalwart support of racial equality.
John Calvin Coolidge Jr. was born in Plymouth Notch, Windsor County, Vermont, on July 4, 1872, the only U.S. president to be born on Independence Day. He was the elder of the two children of John Calvin Coolidge Sr. (1845–1926) and Victoria Josephine Moor (1846–85). Coolidge Senior engaged in many occupations, but developed a statewide reputation as a prosperous farmer, storekeeper and public servant. He held various local offices, including justice of the peace and tax collector and served in the Vermont House of Representatives as well as the Vermont Senate.[Coolidge's mother was the daughter of a Plymouth Notch farmer. She was chronically ill and died, perhaps from tuberculosis, when Coolidge was twelve years old. His younger sister, Abigail Grace Coolidge (1875–90), died at the age of fifteen, probably of appendicitis, when Coolidge was eighteen. Coolidge's father remarried in 1891, to a schoolteacher, and lived to the age of eighty.
Coolidge's family had deep roots in New England; his earliest American ancestor, John Coolidge, emigrated from Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, England, around 1630 and settled in Watertown, Massachusetts. Another ancestor, Edmund Rice, arrived at Watertown in 1638. Coolidge's great-great-grandfather, also named John Coolidge, was an American military officer in the Revolutionary War and one of the first selectmen of the town of Plymouth Notch. His grandfather, Calvin Galusha Coolidge, served in the Vermont House of Representatives. Many of Coolidge's ancestors were farmers, and numerous distant cousins were prominent in politics.
In 1905, Coolidge met Grace Anna Goodhue, a University of Vermont graduate and teacher at the Clarke School for the Deaf. They were in the same crowd, boating, picnicking, and dancing—the younger ones of the Congregational Church. That year they were engaged in early summer and married in October, after an attempt in vain by Grace's mother to postpone the vows: she was never enamored with him nor he with her. The newlyweds went on honeymoon to Montreal, originally planned for two weeks but cut short by a week at Coolidge's request. After 25 years he wrote of Grace, "for almost a quarter of a century she has borne with my infirmities and I have rejoiced in her graces".
Being consistently loyal, he was a devoted husband, but also could be self-centered, undemonstrative and reserved, and often grumpy; and there was the ubiquitous mistress of politics. But Grace knew all of this when she married him, in addition to recognizing in him a man of solid character. She was amiable, tolerant and possessed of an understanding heart. She could mimic her husband's peculiarities and did so to the amusement of family and friends, but without mocking him maliciously. She knew his great strengths and understood his minor weaknesses. Socially, she was as quick witted as he and of greater maturity; she supplemented his natural shyness with a graceful candor, and offset his occasional lapses into taciturnity with a gay loquacity that could keep a dinner table conversation going.
Coolidge was quite frugal when it came to securing a home. They rented. Coolidge did not like to be beholden to bankers or anyone else, for that matter. Independence was his way of protecting his freedom to do what was right. The same impulse caused him to hesitate before joining clubs. Henry Field had a pew in Edwards Church, and Grace was a member, but Coolidge only went along. His decision infuriated his colleagues in politics; after all, the more clubs one joined, the more friends one had at election time. But Coolidge found another way to connect with fellow citizens: he deposited savings with a variety of institutions. Each additional banker who held some of his money was an additional pair of eyes that would follow him, and likely be an additional vote.
The Coolidges had two sons: John (September 7, 1906 – May 31, 2000) and Calvin, Jr. (April 13, 1908 – July 7, 1924). Calvin's death at age 16 from blood poisoning brought on by an infected blister "hurt him terribly," according to son John. John became a railroad executive, helped to start the Coolidge Foundation, and was instrumental in creating the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site.
30th President of the United States
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