Night of the kerosene lamp

The night from August 2 to August 3 marks the anniversary of Calvin Coolidge’s ascendance to the Presidency, which took place in the still of that night in 1923. Far away on the West Coast, in a San Francisco hotel, Warren G. Harding had succumbed to the somewhat mysterious illness that had bedeviled him. Coolidge, who was visiting with his father Colonel John Coolidge in Plymouth Notch, was awakened in the middle of the night, then took the Oath of Office as administered by his father, a notary public – famously by the light of a kerosene lamp. A humble man, Coolidge nevertheless was confident he could “swing it,” as indeed he did.

The king is dead; long live the King – Aug. 3, 1923

Calvin Coolidge being sworn in by his father

August 3 is an important date for Coolidge fans. On this day, in the wee early hours of the morning, Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as the nation’s 30th president following the passing of his predecessor Warren G. Harding. The scene of Calvin Coolidge being sworn in as president by his father is a unique and cherished one in American history.

TIME Magazine of Monday Aug. 13, 1923 reported the event as follows interspersed with reminiscences by Coolidge himself:

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