Calvin Coolidge Says, March 25, 1931

Date: March 25, 1931

Location: Northampton, MA

(Original document available here)

Another epic so characteristic of our country has just been published in the will of the late Ella Wendel. She has left a fortune estimated at well over seventy-five millions of dollars almost entirely to charity. It took three generations of thrift, industry and intelligence to accumulate this property. Now it is to be distributed with the sole purpose of attempting to benefit the public. It goes to the people.

Under the laws and customs of the United States there is little cause to fear the power of wealth. Occasionally there are those who abuse it, chiefly to their own harm. It is difficult to find a great fortune that has been preserved through three generations. Not having to support a titled class, our wealth becomes distributed by inheritance and bequest.

Accumulated wealth is one of the foundations of our progress. Distributed per capita, it would be ineffective; in accumulation, it supports our industries, raises the standard of living and endows educational, religious and charitable institutions. Almost all the time we find it genuinely employed in the service of the people. The Wendel will only discloses in an emphatic way what is constantly being done in our country.

Citation: Calvin Coolidge Says: Dispatches Written by Former-President Coolidge and Syndicated to Newspapers in 1930-1931 (Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation)

The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Robert Manchester who prepared this document for digital publication.

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