(John) Calvin Coolidge
Served 1923-1925 (became President upon the death of Harding), 1925-1929
John Calvin Coolidge was born July 4, 1872, in the family home in Plymouth Notch, Vermont.
He was known as Calvin to distinguish him from his father of the same name. Working on his father’s farm and in his father’s store, Coolidge learned early the merits of thriftiness. He graduated from Amherst College cum laude in l895 and married Grace Anna Goodhue October 4, l905. They had two sons.
In 1920, Warren Harding asked him to be his running mate on the Republican ticket. Elected that fall, he served as Vice President from 1921 until Harding’s death in 1923. Coolidge’s father, a justice of the peace, swore him into office in the family farmhouse.
The first national Christmas Tree was lighted in the year 1923 on the White House lawn by President Calvin Coolidge.
In 1924, Coolidge was re-elected President, and Charles G. Dawes was his Vice President.
Coolidge was a man of few words. He set the tone for his administration when he said, “The business of America is business.”
Coolidge’s wife Grace was a popular First Lady. The family introduced many pets to the White House, including a beautiful white collies named Rob Roy and Prudence Prim. Grace thought so much of Rob Roy that she included him in the official portrait on view at the White House today. The Coolidges also had a raccoon named Rebecca whom they often walked around the White House on a leash, and it was said there was an electric bucking horse in the basement.
In 1927, however, Coolidge was devastated by the death of his 16-year-old son, Calvin Jr. , who died of blood poisoning from a blister that came from playing tennis on the White House lawn. Coolidge wrote, “When he went, the power and glory of the Presidency went with him… I don’t know why such a price was exacted for occupying the White House.”
Coolidge was attributed to encouraging investors in the stock market, helping to create the boom that eventually led to the great depression. Coolidge surprised everyone when, in l927, he decided he had enough of politics and declared “I do not choose to run for President in 1928.” Some historians suggested that he took himself out of the nomination process because he foresaw the stock market crash of 1929. He was not drafted for nomination and Herbert Hoover received the nomination on the first ballot.
Coolidge and his wife retired to Northampton, Massachusetts, where he had previously had a law practice, but he did not resume his practice. Instead, he lived in seclusion in a large mansion known as The Beeches and wrote a syndicated newspaper column of political observations. He died suddenly in Northampton January 5, l933, and was buried in the graveyard of his birthplace in Vermont.