Scramblin' thru... the U.S. Presidents
Career BEFORE Presidency:
lawyer, Governor of Massachusetts, Vice President under Harding
Career AFTER Presidency:
writer, President of the American Antiquarian Society
Election of 1924
A Presidential Life in Review
Calvin Coolidge, the 30th U.S. President from 1923 to 1929, led the nation through most of the "Roaring Twenties", a decade of dynamic social and cultural change, materialism, and excess. He took office following the sudden death of President Warren G. Harding. Nicknamed "Silent Cal" for his quiet and frugal nature, Coolidge, a former Governor of Massachusetts, cleaned up the corruption of the Harding Administration and provided stability and respectability for the American people in an era of fast-paced modernization. He was a pro-business conservative who favored tax cuts and limited spending by the Federal Government. However, many of these laissez-faire policies later contributed to the Great Depression (1929-1942). While he could have won re-election in 1928, Coolidge publicly announced his decision not to run in 1927... in a simple note delivered to reporters at a press conference. Coolidge died at his home in Massachusetts in 1933. Source: The History Channel
Click here for more information about the C-SPAN Survey
Calvin Coolidge Fun Facts
Coolidge liked to have his head rubbed with petroleum jelly while eating his breakfast in bed. (You know, some stuff you just CAN'T make up...)
Coolidge is the only President born on Independence Day. He was born on July 4, 1872.
Coolidge was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, elected as Mayor of Northampton, elected to the Massachusetts Senate, and the won re-election as U.S. President in 1924. (He became President in 1923 because he was Vice President when Warren G. Harding died in office. He chose not to run for a second term in 1928.) Interestingly enough, the only defeat of his entire political career was when he was defeated to win a seat... on the Northampton School Board.
Coolidge met his wife, Grace, after she caught sight of him shaving in front of a window in nothing but long underwear and a hat. The hat, apparently, was worn to keep the hair out of his face while he shaved. Suuuuuure it was, Cal, suuuuuure it was...
In 1925, Coolidge became the first President to be sworn in by a former President, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Howard Taft. His father, a justice of the peace and a notary, assisted in the swearing in... which took place at 2:47am. Afterwards, Coolidge went back to sleep.
It was during his time as Vice President that Coolidge earned the nickname "Silent Cal". Though he was known for being an eloquent public speaker, in private he was withdrawn and quiet, typically deferring to his wife, Grace, who was equally known for her outgoing personality. His tendency to withdraw from social situations intensified after the death of his son in 1924. Also contributing to Coolidge's reluctance to speak was his fear of screwing up. In his autobiography, Coolidge noted, "The words of a President have an enormous weight and ought not to be used indiscriminately." He often said, "If you don't say anything, you won't be called upon to repeat it."
As though he wasn't quiet enough, whenever Coolidge was having a private conversation with his family... they would all "speak" in sign language.
Coolidge was an animal lover and had many pets in the White House. Aside from numerous cats and dogs, he also had a donkey named Ebenezer, a goose that had once starred in a Broadway play, and a raccoon named Rebecca, who often sat on his shoulder as he walked around the White House. His dog's drinking bowl was kept in the White House's State Dining Room.
Every day, Coolidge rode an electronic horse that he installed in the White House.
While Governor of Massachusetts, Coolidge was once punched in the eye by the Mayor of Boston.
While President, Coolidge would not use a telephone... because he refused.
Coolidge opted not to run for re-election in 1928, noting that it would mean he would be President for 10 years, and 10 years was "simply too much". (Remember, he had finished out the remaining two years of Warren G. Harding's term.) Coolidge announced his decision not to seek re-election in a statement that was true to his style. In it, he simply said: "I do not choose to run for President in 1928." He delivered the statement on handwritten strips of paper to reporters traveling with him on his summer vacation in 1927. The announcement took many people by surprise. On the day of the decision, reporters, asked his wife, Grace, what she thought of the announcement. "What announcement?" she replied. Classic Cal...
Coolidge's wife, Grace, once recounted that a young woman sitting next to Coolidge at a dinner party confided to him that she had bet she could get at least three words of conversation out of him. Without looking at her, Coolidge quietly said, "You lose."
Due to chronic stomach pains, Coolidge averaged 10-11 hours of sleep a night... and took afternoon naps that lasted from two to four hours. He insisted that his sleep habits were a positive for the U.S. - if he was asleep, he couldn't mess anything up - and often woke up and asked an aide, "Is the country still here?" One evening, Coolidge attended the theater to see the Marx Brothers perform Animal Crackers. Upon noticing Coolidge in the audience, Groucho Marx yelled to him, "Isn't it past your bedtime, Calvin?"
During the 1924 campaign in which Coolidge won a Presidential term of his own, he answered questions for reporters who had been pleading for a question-and-answer session. One reporter asked, "Have you any statement on the campaign?" Coolidge said, "No." Another reporter asked, "Can you tell us something about the world situation?" Coolidge said, "No." Another reporter then shouted, "Any information about Prohibition?" Coolidge said, "No." Knowing that they weren't going to get anything new from Coolidge, the reporters began to disperse. As they walked away, Coolidge retorted, "Now, remember... don't quote me."
On January 5, 1933, Coolidge quietly worked on a jigsaw puzzle of George Washington in an upstairs bedroom of their house in Northampton, Massachusetts. His wife, Grace, went into town to do some shopping at about noon, but when she came home about an hour later, she found Coolidge sprawled on the floor, dead of a heart attack. Fittingly, Coolidge's last words went unrecorded... and his Last Will and Testament was a total of just 23 words in length. Still, perhaps the most appropriate tribute to Coolidge may have come from The New Yorker's reporter Dorothy Parker. When told that Coolidge was dead, Parker said, "How can they tell?"