Coolidge Resources

Calvin's Biography

Calvin Coolidge was born on the most American of holidays, July 4, 1872 in Plymouth Notch, Vermont. Baby Calvin was born in a small red house that was connected to the rear of his father's store. Calvin Coolidge was a wiry little boy with red hair, white skin with freckles and ears that stuck out. When he was four years old, his only other sibling, his sister Abigail was born, and the family moved across the road to what is now known as the Coolidge Homestead. This homestead remained in the Coolidge family until 1956 when it was given to the State of Vermont so the public could visit it. When Calvin's grandfather died in 1878, Calvin's father John gave up running the store, and took over the family farm. Calvin's mother Victoria had been in a horse and buggy accident from which she never recovered. She died when Calvin was 12 years old, and he missed her very much.

Calvin Coolidge began his school years at the Plymouth Notch one room school just up the road from his home. He went to school with about 25 other students until the age of 13. At age 13 Calvin went off to school at Black River Academy in Ludlow, Vermont. Because this school was a small distance from his house, Calvin lived at school during the school week. Calvin called it " One of the greatest events of my life". During his senior year at Black River Academy, Calvin's sister Abbie died after being sick for a week. It is now thought that she had Appendicitis.

After graduating from Black River Academy, Calvin went to Amherst College in western Massachusetts to take the entrance examination. On the train on the way to Amherst, Calvin caught a cold, and became rather sick. The examinations did not go well, and his cold got worse, forcing him to return to Vermont. After recovering from his cold, Calvin spent a spring term at St. Johnsbury Academy. After a semester there he was given a certificate and entered Amherst College.

At Amherst he did not make friends quickly, but by the time of his senior year, he was invited to join the fraternity of his choice, and was also chosen to deliver a humorous address at graduation. Calvin graduated from Amherst in 1895 with honors. Several of the friends that Calvin made while at school in Amherst were appointed to important positions while he was President.

After graduating, Calvin spent the summer helping on the farm, and expected to enroll in Law School in the fall. However; there was an opportunity to work in the law office of Hammond and Field in Northampton , Massachusetts, and so Calvin went to work. After a time of intense studying and apprenticing at the firm, he passed the examinations and was admitted to practice before the courts of Massachusetts. Shortly after Calvin was elected City Solicitor for Northampton.

During all of this, Calvin met a young teacher that worked at the Clark School for the deaf in Northampton named Grace Goodhue. They fell in love, and shortly thereafter were married. The Coolidge's had two boys, John and Calvin Jr. Shortly after the birth of John, Calvin was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Following that he became Mayor of Northampton. After two terms as Mayor of Northampton, Calvin became a State Senator, and eventually his peers in the Senate elected him President of the Senate. He was then selected as Lieutenant Governor for three terms. In 1918, the people of Massachusetts elected him Governor of the Commonwealth that he had been serving for so long.

Governor Coolidge proved to be a strong, dedicated Governor. In 1919 Governor Coolidge faced the Boston Police Strike, where his decisive actions propelled him to national attention. Governor Coolidge was asked to become Warren G. Harding's running mate for President, and on March 4, 1921, Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as Vice President of the United States.

In August of 1923, Calvin Coolidge who was vacationing at his father's home in Plymouth Notch was awoken in the middle of the night and was told that President Harding had died. At 2:47 on the morning of August 23, 1923, Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as the 30th President of the United States of America by his father, Col. John Coolidge, who was a notary public. During this time in the White House, President Coolidge suffered an enormous loss when his youngest son, Calvin Jr. died from an infection that resulted from a blister on his foot. Today, the deaths of President Coolidge's mother, sister, and son could have been prevented.

After completing President Harding's term, President Coolidge was elected in his own right, and served a full four year term, until March of 1929, when President Herbert Hoover was sworn in to office. President Coolidge, still upset at the loss of his son chose not to run for reelection in 1928, but rather to retire back in Northampton where his political life all began. President Coolidge retired to his original house, a duplex on a main road, but due to the large number of people that were going by to see the President, he bought another house, " The Beeches" so he and Mrs. Coolidge could have some privacy.

President Coolidge remained living at " The Beeches" until his death from a heart attack on January 5, 1933 only four years after he left the White House. He was buried at the Plymouth Notch Cemetery, in Plymouth Vermont in his family plot alongside his parents, his sister, his son Calvin, Jr. and his wife, Grace.

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