On Their Anniversary

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Today marks the anniversary of Calvin and Grace Coolidge, having shared twenty-seven years, three months and one day married happily. Two fine boys, John and Calvin Jr., were bestowed to them and while Calvin never lived to see their first grandchild, Cynthia, he took great joy in the life that began for him and Grace in October of 1905.

To those who knew the couple best, like Mary Randolph (Grace’s social secretary) and Mrs. Hills, one of Grace’s dearest friends, it was understood how deeply and profoundly they loved each other. Mrs. Hills was a very keen observer of the Coolidges and she could see past the outward reticence of Mr. Coolidge, knowing without a shred of doubt that he adored his wife. For Calvin, she said, “a pat on his wife’s shoulder was the equivalent of a bear hug from a more demonstrative man” (according to Ross, Grace Coolidge and Her Era 188). Mary Randolph also saw the real affection and value Calvin held for his wife, saying, “[S]he was the sunshine and the joy in his life–his rest when tired–his solace in time of trouble. Deep indeed, went the roots of Calvin Coolidge, and they were close bound about that wife of his, and the children.”

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Ishbel Ross recounts a few of the occasions Miss Randolph observed Coolidge’s love for Grace during her years beside the Presidential couple: “As soon as he stepped from the elevator on the second floor and approached their private apartments he would call for Grace. If she happened to be out he would go straight to Miss Randolph’s alcove and ask where she was. Then he would watch for her from the window. Light would break across his grave face as he turned back toward the elevator to meet her on her return” (188; Randolph, Presidents and First Ladies 40).

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When rumors circulated in Washington that these two were to divorce after the White House, it troubled and appalled them that something so far from the truth could gain credence. They never harbored such inclinations. Their commitment to be faithful to each other was for life, nothing less. Coolidge himself recounts their courtship and marriage in his Autobiography, “From our being together we seemed naturally to come to care for each other. We became engaged in the early summer of 1905 and were married at her home in Burlington, Vermont, on October fourth of that year. I have seen so much fiction written on this subject that I may be pardoned for relating the plain facts. We thought we were made for each other. For almost a quarter of a century she has borne with my infirmities, and I have rejoiced in her graces” (94). Lest there be any confusion about how much Calvin cherished his excellent wife, he once told his good friend Bruce Barton: “A man who has the companionship of a lovely and gracious woman enjoys the supreme blessing that life can give. And no citizen of the United States knows the truth of this statement more than I.”

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