On this day in 1885, twelve-year old Calvin Coolidge lost his mother. Her worth and the power of her loving impression on the boy who would become our thirtieth President cannot be measured. Though her passing was clearly a devastation for the Coolidge family, it did not crush Calvin’s spirit. It could have. Through the grief, Calvin tenaciously persevered. At any point in life Coolidge could have given way to despair. Essential to his resolute optimism, however, was the influence of good women. This was a fact he fully credited to those ladies in his Autobiography. Among those women were his mother’s sister, Aunt Sarah Pollard.
“…She was wonderfully kind to me and did all she could to take the place of my own mother in affection for me and good influence over me while I was at the Academy and ever after. The sweetness of her nature was a benediction to all who came in contact with her. What men owe to the love and help of good women can never be told.”
Superlative among those “good women,” however, was Mrs. Grace Coolidge. Her parents, the Goodhues, aptly named her for her graciousness. It was evident to all she met. Her kind regard for all people, however great or small, as well as her joyful manner and readiness to serve smoothed many a ruffled feather and diffused more than one potentially explosive situation through the years. Ever thankful for Grace, Coolidge would express that love and appreciation with this tribute to her in the Autobiography: “For almost a quarter of a century she has borne with my infirmities, and I have rejoiced in her graces.”
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The Coolidges are sitting on the front porch of their home on 21 Massasoit Street, Northampton. The matriarchal Boston terrier, Beans, is sitting on Grace’s lap.