1923 - 1929
Calvin Coolidge was one of two Presidents born in Vermont. He is the only President born on the fourth of July. (Several Presidents have died on the fourth of July.
During the Garfield-Hancock campaign of 1880, he asked his father for a penny to buy candy. John Coolidge refused, explaining that if the Democrats should be elected, hard times could be expected. After Garfield won, Calvin reminded his father that the Republicans had stayed in power. He got the penny.
On August 2, 1923, Coolidge was vacationing at his father's home in Plymouth, Vermont. It took several hours for the news of President Harding's death in California to reach the small town. Traditionally, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court swears in the president, but he was 500 miles away. So at 2:30 a.m., Coolidge's father, a notary republic, administered the oath of office to his son by the light of a kerosene lamp.
During the rest of that term President Coolidge did not have a Vice President (1923-1925). During Coolidge's second term his Vice President was Charles Dawes (1925-1929).
Called "Silent Cal," Coolidge was once challenged by a reporter, saying, "I bet someone that I could get more than two words out of you." Coolidge responded, "You lose."
President Coolidge was the first president to have his inauguration heard on the radio and the first president to make a radio broadcast. The first presidential political speech on the radio originated from New York City and was broadcast on 5 radio stations. An audience estimated to be about 5 million people listened in to hear Coolidge speak.
Calvin Coolidge loved having his head rubbed with Vaseline while he ate breakfast in bed.
Calvin Coolidge was Vice President under Warren Harding and became President when Harding died.
The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice William Howard Taft. This was the first time that a former President gave the oath of office to a President.
Calvin Coolidge, 1923.
Library of Congress
President Coolidge's was the first inaugural ceremony to be broadcast. His 41 minute speech was broadcast by twenty-five radio stations and heard by over 22 million people.
Calvin Coolidge was a Republican.
Calvin Coolidge was President for some time without a Vice President. He had been Warren Harding's VP, and the position was not filled until Coolidge was elected for his own term in 1924.
Calvin Coolidge slept 10 hours a day. He refused to use the telephone while in office.
The Calvin family had two pet raccoons. They were named Rebecca and Rueben. They stayed in an outdoor shed at night. Sometimes they would roam the White House during the day.
They also had several dogs:
- - Bird Dog named Palo Alto
- Bull Dog named King Cole
- Chows named Blackberry, Rough and Ruby
- Collies named Boston Beans, Rob Roy, Prudence, Prim and Bessie.
Sheep Dogs named Calamity Jane and Eaglehurst Gilette.
- Terrier named Peter Pan.
During the Coolidge administration, new forms of communication spread as radios became a part of American homes. Motion pictures were projected with sound, and telephones connected America and Europe. The first two commercial air routes were established, from coast-to-coast and from Chicago to Dallas.
He was the first president to see talking movies in the White House.
Cal eased the burdens of his office by confining himself to 4 hours of work a day and by taking a nap every afternoon.
He lit the first national Christmas tree on the White House lawn in 1923.
Calvin Coolidge was expected to attend a fair. A reporter asked if he would say anything at the fair. He replied, "No. I am just going as an exhibit."
Coolidge was the last Ex-President to become a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. John Quincy Adams was the first Ex-President to serve in he U.S. House of Representatives.
Calvin Coolidge died in Northampton, Mass. on January 5, 1935. He was 60 years and 185 days old.
When Coolidge died, columnist Dorothy Parker asked, "How can they tell?"
Quotes from Calvin Cooledge:
"Borrowed money, even when owing to a nation by another nation, should be repaid. They hired the money didn't they? Let them repay it. 1925, Public Years. p.108
"People who've had a hanging in the family don't like to talk about a rope." 1932, Public Years.
"Satisfaction does not come from indulgence or satiety; it comes from achievement."
University of Vermont, June 28, 1920
"The meaning of America is not to be found in a life without toil. Freedom is not only bought with a great price; it is maintained by unremitting effort."
Feb. 22, 1922
"No nation ever had an army large enough to guarantee it against attack in a time of peace, or insure it victory in time of war." (1925)