Calvin Coolidge Biography

Served: August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929
Born: July 4, 1872
Birthplace: Plymouth Notch, Vermont
Died: January 5, 1933
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Republican
Spouse: Grace Goodhue

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A Popular President With Little to Say

Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the United States, became president on the death of Warring G. Harding in 1923. He was then elected the following election year.

He came into the White House at a time when many of the scandals in Harding’s administration had recently come to light. As such, the atmosphere surrounding the White House may have been hostile. However, by the end of his first term, Coolidge had managed to restore public confidence, and he became one of the more popular presidents.

Earning a Good Reputation as a County Lawyer

After receiving an education at Amherst College, Coolidge apprenticed at a local law firm and studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1897 and became a county lawyer. He opened up his own law practice and quickly gained a positive reputation with many of his business and banking clients.

Coolidge married Grace Anna Goodhue in 1905. Grace was a school teacher for the deaf. Although they were in many ways opposites, the couple had a relatively happy marriage and together raised two sons.

Calvin Coolidge’s Pets

  • Peter Pan, terrier
  • Paul Pry, an Airedale terrier that was originally named Laddie Buck
  • Rob Roy, white collie, originally named Oshkosh
  • Prudence Prim, another white collie
  • Also popular was Calamity Jane, a Shetland sheepdog
  • Tiny Tim, chow
  • Blackberry, also a chow
  • Ruby Rouch, brown collie
  • Bessie, collie
  • Calvin Coolidge's cat TigerBoston Beans, bulldog
  • King Kole, German shepherd
  • Bessie, collie
  • Palo Alto, bird dog
  • Nip and Tuck, canaries
  • Snowflake, also a white canary
  • Old Bill, a thrush
  • Enoch, goose
  • Mockingbird belonging to Grace Coolidge
  • Tiger, cat
  • Blacky, another cat
  • Rebecca and Reuben, raccoons
  • Ebenezer, donkey
  • Smoky, bobcat
  • Finally, given to them by dignitaries from other countries, there were also lion cubs (humorously named Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau), a wallaby, a pygmy hippo named Billy, and a black bear!

MORE PETS! Check out our photo gallery of selected White House pets

A Quick and Decisive Leader

Coolidge began his political career in local city offices first as a member of the Northampton City Council, which offered no salary but gave him experience within the political world. From there Coolidge held various state positions, including state mayor and governor of Massachusetts.

Calvin Coolidge and a cat.

Calvin Coolidge and a cat.

During his time as governor, he dealt with a Boston police strike, which began to grow out of hand as violence and rioting started to take place with no police force to stop it from occurring.

Although Coolidge didn’t react to the strike right away, when he did, he took quick and decisive actions, including taking control of the police force and immediately recruiting for replacement officers. He became a hero when he made statements to the press regarding the situation, and the national public began to notice him.

In 1920, Coolidge was elected vice president and was then launched into the presidential seat when President Harding died.

Coolidge’s administration ran many of the similar themes that Harding had promoted, including immigration restriction and tax rate decreases. The president often felt government should be involved in American business as little as possible; however, he promoted farm subsidies as well as civil rights for African-Americans and Catholics.

Additionally, he did not approve of entering into foreign alliances, and though he wasn’t opposed to the League of Nations, he did not see any immediate advantages to joining.

Did You Know…?

  • Coolidge was known as a man who said very little. He was often nicknamed “Silent Cal,” and he believed that his words carried enormous weight and therefore sought to use them only when necessary. When his son died during his first term, he became even more somber.
  • For exercise, Coolidge rode a mechanical horse, which was given to him as a gift. He often wore a cowboy hat while riding this horse.
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