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Calvin Coolidge

— 30th President of the United States —

View full portraits at:
National Portrait Gallery or the White House Presidential Portrait Gallery

 

SUCCEEDED / ELECTED FROM: Massachusetts
POLITICAL PARTY:
Republican
TERM:
August 3, 1923 to March 3, 1929

BORN: July 4, 1872
BIRTHPLACE:
Plymouth, Vermont
DIED:
January 5, 1933, Northampton, Massachusetts
Buried in Plymouth, Vermont
OCCUPATION:
Lawyer
MARRIED:
Grace Goodhue, 1905
CHILDREN:
John, Calvin Jr.

Calvin Coolidge often got nervous when meeting new people. "I remember I would go into a panic as a youngster if I heard strange voices in the kitchen," he said. "The hardest thing in the world would be to go through that kitchen door and give them a greeting. Every time I meet a stranger, I have to go through that kitchen door, and it's not easy."

A typical conversation involved the hostess who told the president she had bet she could get more than two words out of him. "You lose," Coolidge said.

Coolidge grew up in Plymouth, Vermont. His early dreams involved being a storekeeper, like his father. He helped out with the plowing, planting, and wood cutting. His favorite job was tapping the maple trees and processing sugar and syrup. Young Coolidge did not participate in team sports but liked horseback riding.

His situation at Amherst College improved dramatically after the first two years. He studied ancient and modern languages and became proficient in Greek, calculus, and literature.

Coolidge chose not to join a fraternity until his senior year. That was the same year he won first prize, a $150 gold medal, for his essay, "The Principles Fought For in the American Revolution."

His first elected office was as a member of the Massachusetts General Court. He also served as mayor of Northampton, Massachusetts state senator, lieutenant governor, and governor of Massachusetts before becoming vice president.

Coolidge defeated Democrat John W. Davis, 54 percent to 29 percent, for the presidency.

Coolidge's first job as president was to deal with the problems that had marked the Harding presidency. He also was instrumental in passing the Revenue Acts of 1924 and 1926 that freed up money for investment. However, they contributed to wild investment and helped lead to the stock market "crash" of 1929.

In 1927, Coolidge surprised the nation with the simple statement, "I do not choose to run" for president in 1928.He didn't say why, but some people say it was out of concern for his health and the health of his wife.

Coolidge died at his office in Northampton, Massachusetts on January 5, 1933.


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