Coolidge, Grace G.


The First Lady for 11 days, in mourning for President Harding, thanks a friend and college classmate of the new President for his good wishes!


Type: Letter
Description: (1879-1957) First Lady 1923-29. 1902 graduate of the University of Vermont, she taught at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, Mass. where she met Calvin Coolidge; they wed in 1905.

In 1921, as wife of the Vice President, she was the most popular woman in the capital. After Harding’s death, she planned the new administration’s social life as her husband wanted it: unpretentious but dignified. Younger son Calvin died suddenly on July 7, 1924 at 16, but she never let grief interfere with her duties as First Lady. Tact and gaiety made her one of the most popular White House hostesses and she left Washington in 1929 with the country’s respect and love. She received a gold medal from the National Institute of Social Sciences, and in 1931 was voted one of America’s 12 greatest living women.

TLS as First Lady for 11 days, on 9 ¼ x 5 ½ black-bordered “The White House/Washington” letterhead,August 14 1923, to Howard D. French, Minister of the Church of the Pilgrims, Brooklyn, New York. Mrs. Coolidge thanks French for his kind note, values his good wishes very highly which mean “…much to us both, coming from an old friend and classmate.” With black-bordered stamped White House envelope.

On August 2, 1923, President Harding died while on a western speaking tour. Vice President Coolidge was in Vermont at his family home, which had no electricity or a telephone, when he and Mrs. Coolidge received word by messenger of Harding’s death. He dressed, said a prayer, and greeted assembled reporters. His father, a notary and justice of the peace, administered the oath of office in the family parlor by the light of a kerosene lamp at 2:47am, August 3rd; Coolidge then returned to bed as president. He returned to Washington the next day, and was sworn in again by a judge of the District of Columbia Supreme Court to forestall any questions about the authority of a state official to administer a federal oath.

Howard Dean French (1872-?) Amherst Class of 1896, classmate of President Coolidge, ordained minister in the Congregational Church 1901, at Church of the Pilgrims in Brooklyn 1922-?

Condition: Very good, 2 mail folds

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