Coolidge Facts

Early History:

  • Born John Calvin Coolidge on July 4, 1872 in Plymouth Notch, Vermont to John Calvin Coolidge and Victoria Josephine Moor Coolidge.
  • One sister, Abigail Gratia Coolidge, born on April 15, 1875; died March 6, 1890.
  • Attended the district one-room school in Plymouth Notch.
  • Mother, Victoria Moor Coolidge, died March 14, 1885.
  • Attended Black River Academy in Ludlow, VT from 1887 to 1890, nine in graduating class.
  • Spring term at St. Johnsbury Academy.
  • Attended (1891-1895) and graduated from Amherst College in Amherst, MA.

Work History:

  • Read the law in the firm of John C. Hammond and Henry P. Field in Northampton, MA (1895-1898).
  • Admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in July 1897.
  • Opened own law office in Northampton in February 1898.
  • Political career began as Northampton City Councilman in 1898.
  • Northampton City Solicitor; City Republican Chairman; Clerk of the Courts, Hampshire County.
  • Elected to Massachusetts General Assembly 1906, re-elected 1907.
  • Elected Mayor of Northampton 1909, re-elected 1910.
  • Elected to State Senate, 1911, 1912, 1913, and 1914; Senate President last two terms.
  • Elected Lt. Governor in 1915, 1916, and 1917.
  • Elected Governor in 1918 and 1919; consolidated 118 different state departments into 18.
  • Became famous with the Boston Police Strike of September 1919. His telegram to American Federation of Labor (A.F. of L.) President Samuel Gompers (“There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time”) won him nationwide fame for his law and order stand.
  • Nominated in June of 1920 for Vice President to run with Warren G. Harding for President on the GOP ticket. They defeated James M. Cox and Franklin D. Roosevelt 404 electoral votes to 127 and took office on March, 4, 1921.
  • First vice-president to attend cabinet meetings.
  • Succeeded to the presidency on August 3, 1923 after Harding died in San Francisco.
  • Elected to the presidency in 1924; Charles G. Dawes his vice-president. Defeated Democrat John W. Davis and Charles W. Bryan 357 electoral votes to 136. Progressives Robert LaFollette and Burton K. Wheeler received 13 electoral votes.
  • Inaugural Address first to be broadcast on radio.
  • Announced “I do not choose to run for president in 1928” in August 1927 and left the presidency in March 1929.
  • In retirement wrote his Autobiography, magazine articles and a syndicated newspaper column.
  • Served as President of the American Antiquarian Society from 1929 to 1933.
  • Served as a director of the New York Life Insurance Company.

Personal History:

  • Ancestry: English, some Indian blood.
  • Religion: Joined Congregational Church in 1923.
  • Height: 5’10”.
  • Weight: 169lb.
  • Hair: Red.
  • Presidential Salary: $75,000.
  • Married Grace Anna Goodhue of Burlington, Vermont on October 4, 1905.
  • Rented half of a two-family house at 21 Massasoit Street, Northampton.
  • Grace had been a teacher at the Clark School for the Deaf in Northampton.
  • Their son John born on September 7, 1906; Calvin Junior born on April 13, 1908.
  • While Calvin commuted to Boston, Grace raised the boys in Northampton.
  • Family moved to Washington when Calvin became Vice President. Grace and Calvin lived at the Hotel Willard; John and Calvin Jr. attended Mercersberg Academy in Mercersberg, Pa, about one hour away.
  • In summer 1924, after the sons played tennis, Calvin Jr. developed blood poisoning from a blister on his foot. He died on July 7th, plunging the family into grief. They spent the summer at Plymouth.
  • Father, Col. John Coolidge, died in Plymouth Notch on March 18, 1926.
  • In September 1929, son John married Florence Trumbull, daughter of Connecticut Governor John Trumbull.
  • Calvin and Grace moved to The Beeches in May 1930, a more secluded home in Northampton.
  • Died at The Beeches on January 5, 1933 of heart failure (coronary thrombosis).
  • Buried in Plymouth Notch.
  • Grace died at Northampton on July 8, 1957.
  • John died at Plymouth Notch on May 31, 2000.

Presidential Accomplishments:

  • Calvin Coolidge once told portrait artist Ercole Cartotto, that the speeches in his study “were his works of art.” “Every word in them had to be considered much of strain to do over again.” Thus we should look to Coolidge’s speeches and messages, many at this web site for his opinions.

His tax and debt reduction are a point of pride:

  • National debt of $22.3 billion in 1923 lowered to $16.9 billion by 1929.
  • Federal expenditures (budget) of $5.1 billion in 1921 were reduced to $3.3 billion in 1929.
  • Cut taxes four out of his six years as president.
  • Cut effective tax rate on the wealthy was 50 percent (1922) to 20 percent. Revenue from that tax bracket then rose from $77 million to $230 million.
  • By 1927, 98% of the population paid no income tax
  • Tax burden on those making under $10,000 fell from $130 million in 1923 to under $20 million in 1929.

Industry: “American industry during the 1920’s not merely flourished but triumphed:”

  • Unemployment averaged 3.3% from 1922 to 1929.
  • Gross National Product increased annually by 7% from 1924 to 1929.
  • Per capita income grew 30 percent from 1922 to 1928.
  • Real earnings for employed wage earners increased 22% from 1922 to 1928.
  • Industrial Production increased 70% from 1922 to 1928.
  • The average workweek decreased 4% from 1922 to 1928.
  • Automobile on the road grew three fold in the decade.

Foreign policy under Coolidge:

  • Favored U.S. participation in the World Court.
  • Opposed U.S. participation in the League of Nations.
  • Avoided war with Mexico and restored good relations with that nation.
  • Withdrew U.S. troops from Nicaragua.
  • Non-recognition of the Soviet Union.
  • Attended the International Conference of American States in Havana.

Peace pacts were arranged such as the:

  • Five-Power Naval Treaty (1923).
  • Dawes Plan for Reparations (1924).
  • Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928).

Other highlights of the Coolidge presidency:

  • Vetoed the veterans Bonus Bill.
  • Presided over orderly prosecution of Harding Era scandals; restored trust in presidency.
  • Signed the Immigration Act of 1924.
  • Signed legislation making Indians U.S. citizens.
  • Proposed more funding for aviation.
  • Proposed construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
  • Appointed Harlan Fisk Stone to the Supreme Court in 1925.
  • Signed the Jones-White Act of 1928 for construction of merchant ships.
  • Signed the Federal Radio Act, creating Federal Radio Commission.
  • Proposed an anti-lynching law and a federal Department of Education and Relief.
  • Released the remaining Sedition Act violators convicted during the Wilson administration.
  • Designated $250 million to construct public buildings resulting in Washington D.C.’s Federal Triangle.
  • Dedicated Mount Rushmore.
  • Authorized construction of Hoover Dam.
  • Twice vetoed the McNary-Haugen Farm Bill.

Notable National Events During Term of Office:

  • Lindbergh Flies Solo Across the Atlantic.
  • National Prohibition—Rise of Al Capone.
  • Decline of Ku Klux Klan.
  • Scopes Evolution Trial.
  • Leopold & Loeb Murder Case.
  • Sacco & Vanzetti executed.
  • First radio network (NBC) forms.
  • “The Jazz Singer” debuts—talkies replace silent films.
  • Notable in Literature: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Louis. Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos.
  • Notable in Music: George Gershwin, Louis Armstrong, Paul Whiteman, Guy Lombardo, Al Jolson.
  • Notable in Business: Henry Ford, Walter Chrysler, Harvey Firestone, Samuel Insull.
  • Notable in Journalism: H. L. Mencken, George Jean Nathan, Harold Ross, Henry Luce.
  • Notable in Sports: Babe Ruth, Red Grange, Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, Helen Wills, Bill Tilden.
  • Notable on Film: Charlie Chaplin, Rudolf Valentino, Clara Bow, Lon Cheney, Douglas Fairbanks.
  • Notable on Broadway: Eugene O’Neill, Flo Ziegfeld, Fannie Brice, Will Rogers, the Marx Brothers.

Members of the Coolidge cabinet:

Secretary of State
Charles Evans Hughes (1923-25)
Frank B. Kellogg (1925-29)
Secretary of the Treasury
Andrew W. Mellon (1923-29)

Secretary of War
John W. Weeks (1923-25)
Dwight F. Davis (1925-29)

Attorney General
Harry M. Daugherty (1923-24)
Harlan F. Stone (1924-25)
John G. Sargent (1925-29)

Postmaster General
Harry S. New (1923-29)
Secretary of the Navy
Edwin Denby (1923-24)
Curtis D. Wilbur (1924-29)

Secretary of the Interior
Hubert Work (1923-28)
Roy O. West (1929)

Secretary of Agriculture
Henry C. Wallace (1923-24)
Howard M. Gore (1924-25)
William M. Jardine (1925-29)

Secretary of Commerce
Herbert C. Hoover (1923-28)
William F. Whiting (1928-29)

Secretary of Labor
James J. Davis (1923-29)