President Coolidge is pictured in Charlottesville, Virginia, in November 1928.
It was after the White House that he most acutely missed the privacy enjoyed before national notoriety. He did not relish the notion of being a celebrity in anyone’s eyes. Regretting the lack of anonymity during his recently completed trip to Florida and out West, he observed to Bruce Barton, “People seem to think the presidential machinery should keep running even after the power has been turned off” (Gloria M. Stoddard, “Grace & Cal: A Vermont Love Story,” p.137). He did not believe in idleness but he also refused any effort to insulate former Presidents with official duties, pension or security. He wanted to travel without the incessantly conspicuous ordeal of often well-meaning but burdensome crowds following his every move. He chuckled at the thought of wearing a disguise of whiskers and thick-rimmed glasses like this one, such as Harold Lloyd wore and reminiscent of the “Groucho glasses” of the 1940s and later.