Calvin Coolidge

Amherst grad Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, was born in Vermont in1872.  At Amherst he was in the frat Phi Gamma Delta.  He must have really loved Western Mass, because after he graduated he moved to Northampton to practice law.  Rather than having to pay for law school, Coolidge opted for an apprenticeship to the local firm Hammond & Field.  He was admitted to the bar in 1897, and used savings and an inheritance from his grandfather to open his own practice in Northampton a year later.

 

 

Grace Anna Goodhue, a teacher at the Clarke School for the Deaf, caught sight of Coolidge one day as she was watering flowers outside the school.  He was inside the boardinghouse, shaving while wearing nothing but long underwear and a hat.  Apparently he was wearing the hat to keep his messy red hair out of his eyes.  After a more formal introduction, the two were instantly into each other.  They married in 1905 in her parents’ house in Burlington, VT.  They were great compliments to each other.  She was fun and talkative while he was serious and quiet.

 

 

Coolidge served as president from 1923 to 1929.  He had been vice president to Harding, and succeeded him when Harding died suddenly while on a speaking tour out West.  Coolidge’s government was pretty laissez-faire.  He reduced the size of government, and was thought to embody the spirit of the middle class.  He signed the Immigration Act to restrict the immigration of Eastern and Southern Europeans.   He was pro civil rights, and attempted to get congress to pass an anti-lynching act but was thwarted by Southern Democrats.  He signed the Indian Citizenship Act, which declared Indians American citizens while allowing them to retain tribal and cultural rights.  He also signed the Revenue Act of 1924, which lowered personal income tax but increased estate tax.  He left office with considerable popularity, which makes sense considering he was in office during the Roaring Twenties. 

 

 

Coolidge died suddenly in Northampton of a coronary thrombosis at age 60.