John Calvin Coolidge, Jr.
Burial Location Visited Vice President Grave #
Plymouth Notch, Vermont August 9, 2007 13th Visited

Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth U.S.
president, is interred in a hamlet
called Plymouth Notch in South
Central Vermont. Much of "The
Notch" is preserved as a historic
site, including Coolidge's birthplace
and the homestead where he took
the presidential oath of office.

The early settlers in Plymouth Notch were
practical people who would have viewed
using a flat field for burials as a waste,
since it could be used for planting crops.
Thus they established the Plymouth Notch
Cemetery on a steep hillside. Numerous
generations of the Coolidge family have
been laid to rest there, including the
president and First Lady Grace Coolidge.

Fast Facts *

- Second Lady: Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge
- Spouse: Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge (m. 1905-1933)

- Political Party: Republican Party

- Term: 1921-1923
- President: Warren Gamaliel Harding

- Born: July 4, 1872

- Died: January 5, 1933

- Age:

- Cause of Death: Heart Attack

 Cemetery: Plymouth Notch Cemetery, Plymouth Notch, Vermont
- GPS Coordinates: 43°31'54.1"N 72°43'26.5"W

* * * Background on Calvin Coolidge * * *

* Born in Vermont on Independence Day 1872, John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. left his native state at age eighteen to attend Amherst College in Massachusetts. He graduated cum laude in 1894 and remained in the Bay State, where he studied law with the Northampton firm of Hammond & Field. In July 1897, after approximately twenty months of studying, Coolidge was admitted to the bar. The following February he established his own practice in Northampton, which he maintained over the ensuing decades as he climbed the political ladder. In December 1898 he was elected to the city council, and shortly thereafter was voted city solicitor. Coolidge served in numerous posts in local and state politics, coupled with his legal work, until 1918, when he shuttered his law firm upon his election as governor.

* A Republican, Coolidge supported some progressive causes -- such as women's suffrage -- but was primarily a conservative who focused on fiscal limitations and the reduction of government intervention into Americans' lives. Yet Coolidge's most noted act as governor was to intercede during the 1919 Boston Police Strike. For years, officers on the force put up with deplorable labor conditions: infestation, overcrowding, overwork, and salaries -- which were lower than unskilled workers' -- were their main grievances. Commissioner Edwin U. Curtis refused to negotiate with the force's social organization, the Boston Social Club, and in August 1919 officers applied for a charter with the American Federation of Labor. It was the commissioner's opinion that “a police officer cannot consistently belong to a union and perform his sworn duty,” and thus two days after the charter application was submitted, he amended department rules to prohibit the formation of an organization within the department that had ties to an outside group, with the exception of veteran-related institutions. Nineteen leading advocates for unionization within the department were tried and suspended for violating the new rule, and on September 9th, seventy-two percent of the force -- 1,117 officers -- refused to report to their shifts.

Some Bostonians took advantage of their absence and openly gambled, and there were reports of looting and a dislodged trolley. When Mayor Andrew J. Peters called upon a portion of the State Guard to protect the city, Governor Coolidge supplemented his order by calling out the entire contingent. He also restored Commissioner Curtis to power after he had been effectively superseded by a Guard officer. As it became clear the striking officers would not be permitted to return to their posts, AFL president Samuel Gompers requested that the governor remove the commissioner and reinstate the strikers. Coolidge replied, "There is no right to strike against the public safety by any body, any time, any where." He sympathized with the officers in regard to the conditions that had prompted their unionization attempt, and he worked surreptitiously to help some of the displaced lawmen find new employment, but he could not abide by their methodology. "It was beginning to be clear," Coolidge wrote in his autobiography a decade later, "that if voluntary associations were to be permitted to substitute their will for the authority of public officials the end of our government was at hand. The issue was nothing less than whether the law which the people had made through their duly authorized agencies should be supreme."

* Coolidge initially believed his actions during the Boston Police Strike would spell doom for his political career, but he was mistaken. The riot-centered sensational newspaper headlines stoked fear among Americans who were concerned that the Boston Police Department and other unionized strikers across the U.S. had been influenced -- or even infiltrated -- by communists. Cal swiftly won his gubernatorial re-election bid, and in 1920 he was the vice presidential nominee on the successful Republican ticket headlined by Senator Warren Harding. Coolidge's tenure as VP lasted just twenty-nine months. Early on the morning of August 3, 1923, he and Second Lady Grace Coolidge were awakened with the news that President Harding was dead. They were vacationing in Vermont, at the home of Calvin's father, John, a notary public. By the light of a kerosene lamp in the homestead parlor, John Coolidge swore his son in as the thirtieth president.

The newly-minted chief executive was soon faced with revelations of wrongdoings from his predecessor's administration, and he responded by appointing two special counsels -- one a Republican, one a Democrat -- to investigate the leading offense: the Teapot Dome Scandal. He also forced the resignation of Attorney General Harry Daugherty, who was unwilling to cooperate with a Senate inquiry. Coolidge's integrity and honesty earned him much respect with voters, a majority of whom elected him president in his own right in 1924. In terms of policy, Coolidge vetoed bills intended to enhance the role of government, such as legislation to provide World War I veterans with bonuses. That bill was passed over the president's veto, but he managed to reduce the Federal Government's size and debt by rejecting aid for farmers and signing multiple bills that cut tax revenue. On other issues, such as the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, the president generally remained quiet. This was an extension of his tendency to say no more words than he felt was necessary, which often amused or frustrated people he encountered in meetings and social gatherings. This restrained demeanor earned the president the moniker "Silent Cal," and his announcement that he would not seek re-election in 1928 was reflective of his nickname. In August 1927, he individually handed a gaggle of reporters slips of paper, on which his intentions were spelled out in one solitary sentence.

Sources Consulted                                                                                                                                                     

Coolidge, Calvin. The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, 1929. Reprinted. Chatsworth, CA: National Notary Association, 2006.

Dean, John W. Warren G. Harding. New York: Times Books, 2004.

Deion, Kurt. "To Strike or Not to Strike: Examining the Justifications of the 1919 Boston Police Department -- A Proposal for the Massachusetts Archives and Commonwealth Museum
." HIST620, University of Massachusetts Boston, 2017.

Farber, David. "Calvin Coolidge." In The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency, edited by Alan Brinkley and Davis Dyer, 344-53. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000.

Lamb, Brian, and the C-SPAN Staff. Who's Buried in Grant's Tomb?: A Tour of Presidential Gravesites. New York: PublicAffairs, 2000. Reprinted. New York: PublicAffairs, 2003.

"Life Portrait of Calvin Coolidge." C-SPAN video, 2:36:19. September 27, 1999. 151626-1/life-portrait-calvin-coolidge.

Russell, Francis. A City in Terror: Calvin Coolidge and the 1919 Boston Police Strike. Boston: Beacon Press, 1975.

Shrag, Zachary Moses. “Nineteen Nineteen: The Boston Police Strike in the Context of American Labor.” A.B. thesis, Harvard College, 1992. nineteennineteen.pdf.

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