Inauguration Day

This blog -when it descends from the lofty heights of Coolidge scholarship into the dense fog of contemporary politics- is often critical of the current incumbent, but as the world looks towards Washington, D.C. today Jan. 21, 2013, for Barack Obama’s second inauguration, we wish him good luck and Godspeed in conducting the administration of the government these coming four years to the benefit of all.

By way of contrast to today’s pomp and circumstances, here’s a link to a segment filmed by CBS News right in Plymouth Notch, VT, to remind viewers of the memorable and unique midnight swearing-in of Calvin Coolidge. It features the spectre of Calvin Coolidge himself (impeccably impersonated by Jim Cooke, Coolidge scholar, as well as frequent and valued commenter on this blog):

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.

More than Two Words: New Coolidge exhibit

What an exciting time to be a Calvin Coolidge fan! Not only is the publication date of Amity Shlaes’ all new biography approaching, but the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth Notch VT will proudly inaugurate the likewise all-new interactive exhibit, More than Two Words: The Life and Legacy of Calvin Coolidge this coming Saturday, June 9.
Period newsreels, artifacts and audio recordings will bring to life the 30th president, the development of his personal and political philosophies and his compelling accomplishments.

A very modern and interactive-looking exhibit centering on Calvin Coolidge

Those lucky enough to live within, say, a 500-mile flight of Boston can join Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, Coolidge family members and many people involved with the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation for a fun filled day with activities for children, chicken barbeque, wagon rides, music, crafts people and more, this coming Saturday, June 9, 2012, from 10:00 – 5:00

Check out for more info and updates.

Random Coolidge pic



Calvin Coolidge at the reins

I’m a few days late, but this picture appears to have been taken almost exactly 80 years ago (it is dated July 14th, 1931) , as former president Calvin Coolidge was visiting his hometown of Plymouth Notch, VT. At that time, he was probably glad not to be at the reins of the federal government anymore.

Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

A grand day in Plymouth Notch

Today, August 7 2010, will see the Dedication and Grand Opening of the President Calvin Coolidge Museum and Education Center in Plymouth Notch, VT, yet another crucial building block in the ongoing endeavor to encourage and support scholarly as well as popular interest in the 30th president. Wish I could be there, and I hope a splendid day will be enjoyed by all (the dedication is in conjunction with Plymouth Old Home Day)!

Support or join the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation

These are momentous times for the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation. The foundation is hard at work to ensure that President Coolidge finally gets a worthy Education Center in Plymouth Notch, VT. The dedication of the handsome and state-of-the-art new Museum and Education Center will be on Aug. 7th, 2010 and the foundation will celebrate its 50th anniversary a few weeks later on Oct. 7th at the JFK Library.

Why am I blogging this? The foundation has received a Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities which requires that $990,000 will have to be raised by 2013 in order to get the $330,000 grant. Every donation or membership fee raised by then will count toward that amount.

For as little as $35 a year you can enjoy the benefits of membership and, perhaps more importantly, you can help assure that the philosophy of Calvin Coolidge, pertinent as it still is in our day, will be kept before the public.

Visit today!

Coolidge Museum and Education Center

President Calvin Coolidge’s hometown and boyhood home of Plymouth Notch, Vermont, has been called the best- preserved presidential site in the nation. Unfortunately, the visitor center is not open year-round (the one and only time I was in the vicinity, the center had not yet opened for the Summer) and the facilities are not really commensurate with the importance of the 30th president. Today, we are accustomed to lavish Presidential Libraries, but the Presidential Library System was not enacted into law before 1955, and Coolidge’s successor, Herbert Hoover, was the earliest president whose life and career was represented by such a facility.

It is therefore with some excitement that I note the start of construction of The President Calvin Coolidge Museum and Education Center which will provide to visitors and scholars alike a state-of-the-art facility that will be accessible year-round (so, no more excuses on my next visit). Visit the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation website for more detail (and to see, albeit on a tiny screen, an excellent video about president Coolidge).